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Issue 45 - Speyside opens up

Whisky Magazine Issue 45
January 2005


This article is 13 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Speyside opens up

The Cluny Bank Hotel is working within the community of Forres to give whisky fans the perfect Scottish break. Dominic Roskrow stayed there

They say that Inverness is now the fastest expanding town in Europe. Whether that's true or not, there can be absolutely no doubt that the development of its airport has helped drive tourist trade in
the area.

And it's had a more fundamental psychological effect on the region, too. For the Speyside district has always been somewhat split, and a visitor's perception of the area is dependent on the direction you approach it from.

Fly in to Aberdeen and Dufftown and Grantown-on-Spey are the dominant reference points. But approach from the West or North and the distilleries scattered between Nairn and Lossiemouth are your focus. And Inverness draws you closer to the latter.

Forres sits somewhere between the two and it's as good a place as any to explore the furthest reaches of Speyside.

Now, with Inverness playing a key role in providing visitors, the area is making an effort to make its whisky links accessible. There are moves to cast aside the perceived divisions in the area and to provide a more structured approach to the district.

The two whisky festivals don't enjoy the same cohesion as the one held on Islay, for instance, and some take the view that the bigger distilleries have hijacked the events.

But that's at least partially due to the fact that distilleries in Speyside have tended to compete with each other rather than work together. Coordinated transport to take whisky-drinking visitors to different destinations has been sadly lacking.

That's set to change – a...

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