Whisky Magazine Issue 53
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The Speyside region is getting its act together and making life easier for the visitor. Here Dominic Roskrow reports on its changing face. And on page 34 we provide the complete visitors' guide to the region
Speyside might boast the largest number of distilleries in one region anywhere in the world but boy, at times in the past it sure didn't feel like it.
There's always been something fragmented about the region. For a starter, it sprawls and the name is a misnomer; don't expect to find all its distilleries at the side of the Spey – many aren't even close.
It's a region of two halves, each served by different airports, those of Aberdeen and Inverness. It even has two festivals, both traditionally patchy affairs that have been supported by a proportion of the whisky companies but by no means all. It is possible to wander through the region at festival time and not know it's on.
But with whisky tourism on the increase and the tourist authorities wising up to the fact Scotch can drive business that's all set to change. Increased traffic from cheap flights hasn't hurt either.
Inverness Airport is expanding faster than any other airport in Europe, too, with Scandinavian flights in particular bringing the whisky enthusiast to the area.
The Spirit of Speyside festival, held in the Spring, is also enjoying a new lease of life, as an enthusiastic committee sets out to give the region the sort of profile it so richly deserves.
These are exciting times for the area.
And if there's a fresh surge of confidence overall, it's symbolised by independent bottler Duncan Taylor and the opening of the company's new shop in Huntly.
It's a thoroughly modern, stylish and spacious affair, with...