Whisky festivals in Scotland should be on every Whisky lover's bucket list. In case you need more convincing, we've rounded up some of the highlights from this year's Speyside festival.
Speyside Whisky Festival covers every part of the Whisky journey, from the cooperage to the distilleries and beyond. This was an incredible festival with lots going on and lots to see and do. With plenty of experts and the chance to get an up close glimpse at life inside some of Speyside’s biggest Whisky producers, who could say no such a trip?
#1: Start with a bangThe opening gala dinner was held in the spectacular Auchriosk Distillery, the best setting for the best opening. Everything was carried out to perfection, from the food and entertainment, right down to the drams.
Of course, a lot can be expected of the drams when you’re attending a Whisky festival in Scotland’s most densely populated distillery region and the organisers of the Spirit of Speyside did not disappoint.
The venue looked incredible, with lights strung across the room, to capture a natural night time look. The festival certainly started as it meant to go on.
#2: Have some Whisky ice creamWhat could be better than combining man’s greatest ever inventions? Ice Cream and Whisky.
Sure ice cream never solved any world problems, but giving the chance I think it definitely could, especially when brought together in wonderful harmony with Whisky.
The geniuses down at Balvenie Street Ice Cream have created some extraordinary flavour combinations and a visit to the shop was a must at the Festival.
There are four different combinations available, but to get the full experience you definitely have to try them all. The Whisky flavour is not overwhelming but adds a delightful twist on what is already a crowd pleaser.
#3: See the coopers in actionThere is so much to learn about the Whisky world ad the Spirit of Speyside lets you get up close and personal with every bit of it. The trip to the cooperage was one of the most interesting events of the Festival as it gave insight into an aspect of Whisky making that not many people think about.
The Speyside Cooperage gives fans the chance to see barrel making happening in real time.
This is a craft that has existed for centuries, and one that impacts the Whisky industry greatly. It is brilliant to see the hard work and effort as well as great skill that goes into barrel making.
#4: Mingle with the industry's biggest namesWhere better to learn more about the industry than from insiders themselves. Ann Miller is International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers and director of the Spirit of Speyside festival. This year she brought her expertise to the Quaich Bar in Crigallechie.
She talked about her time spent in the Whisky world and shared some great tales. If you ever get the chance to go see Ann speak again, this is a definite must.
#5: See the Pearl of the NorthThe festival also allows guests to see some of Speyside greatest sights, incluing the magnificent Ballindalloch Castle, also known as the Pearl of the North.
As well as being home to the Ballindalloch Distillery, the estate also has a coffee shop and golf course, as well as gardens for your enjoyment. The festival is the ideal time to visit the castle as it encapsulates the history of Speyside. It is surrounded by excellent scenery that really expresses the natural beauty of Scotland.
P.S. Craving for more? Neil Robertson, a Scottish travel blogger, attended the Speyside Whisky Festival in 2017 and captured the highlights, which you can see on his blog Travels with a Kilt.