A mixture of unique flavours and amazing sights
Speyside is a region beautifully located in the north-eastern part of Scotland. The region is well known to whisky connoisseurs as more than half of the Scotch distilleries are located here, which is remarkable due to the modest size of the region.
One of the experts in the field of Speyside whisky is Olof Noreus. He is currently the Whisky Brand Ambassador of Pernod Ricard Sweden, and he has had the pleasure of working with Speyside whiskies over the last decade. Olof explains that the wide range of distilleries is one of the things that makes the region unique.
- The historical reason behind the high number of distilleries in Speyside, is the availability of grains and fresh water. But the region was also far away from the authorities back in the earlier centuries, which paved the way for production of illicit spirits. The history of moonshining and smuggling is a key factor to the tradition of whis- ky making in Speyside, which is quite fun when you think of the prominent position this whisky has today, says Olof.
Whisky travels have grown in popularity over the last years, and it is not hard to imagine why. Planning the trip can however be a challenge due to the distances and amplitude of choices. To help you navigate this whisky dense region,
Olof has put together a recommendation of two distilleries that gracefully represents the region and offers a nice itinerary for your visit.
"The wide range of distilleries makes the region unique"
The Glenlivet – A history of breaking new ground
The Glenlivet parish was one of the places where production if illicit spirits was a common pursuit. It was not until 1824, after the authorities changed certain legislations, that The Glenlivet Distillery opened up its production as the first legal distillery in the parish, after having operat- ed as an illegal distillery for many years.
Since then, The Glenlivet has established their position as a traditional yet dynamic single malt producer.
This impressive distillery is located in a magnificent setting and offers a great range of guided tours. The Glenlivet takes pride in opening up the whisky category by inviting all consumers to the brand while also preserving their rich heritage.
Their long-standing traditions have earned them a global reputation and allows The Glenlivet to contribute to the category by breaking new ground and altering the future norms of the tra- ditional whisky drinker.
After enjoying a nice tour, and a dram or two, do remember to allocate time to the gift shop, where you can pick up a distillery exclusive bottle.
Come here to fall in love with their acclaimed single malt whisky and breath-taking views.
Aberlour – A hidden gem
Half a century after the opening of The Glenlivet Distillery, Aberlour Distillery was established. The distillery is not com- monly known but very popular among single malt enthusiasts. Aberlour’s profile as a small-scale craft distillery with big person- ality whiskies has been a red thread through their history since the opening in 1879.
Aberlour is, to this day, still honouring the founding Fleming family’s motto, “Let the deed show”, which translates as “actions speak louder than words”.
A visit to this distillery, which can be recognized by its iconic red entrance door, offers you an unparalleled experience and close encounter to the art of whisky making.
"Small-scale craft distillery with big personality whiskies"
– The Aberlour distillery is beautifully located next to the stream that has given the name to the town and the distillery. Aberlour means “The mouth of the chattering burn” and this burn runs past the distillery and into the River Spey a few hundred meters down the way. As it is a small distillery, make sure to book your tour or tasting before visiting, says Olof.
Come here for a unique experience off the beaten track and to discover your new favorite.
Are you up for a walk?
Even if you could spend all your time at the amazing distilleries, Speyside has more to offer than single malt whisky and distillery tours. The region is optimal for full days under the open sky, whether you prefer fly fishing in the River Spey or hiking for miles along the many trails in the area or in the Caringorms National Park just south of the region. Olof tells us about one of his personal favorites, which is the walk along the stream heading up past the Aberlour Destillery. If you continue hiking from there, you will eventually find yourself at the beautiful Linn Falls.
– I always try to make it up the Linn Falls when I’m visiting. It’s not distillery, make sure to book your whiskies” far from the Aberlour Distillery, through the beautiful woodlands, tour or tasting before visiting, along the stream, says Olof.
Another personal recommendation from Olof is to visit the arch bridge crossing the River Livet. The bridge, named Packhorse Bridge, is the oldest surviving structure to cross the river. It is a perfect stop to combine with a visit to The Glenlivet, since it is located close to the distillery.
North of The Glenlivet there are tons of beautiful hiking trails easily accessible from the main roads. If the weather is good, be sure to check out the old “smugglers’ trail” that was frequently used by local moonshiners previous to the legislations in the 1820’s.
If you are instead drawn to the ocean, be sure to visit the north-western coastline of Speyside. Findhorn Bay is located un- der an hour’s drive from Inverness. Once you have reached the bay, be sure to order the fish & chips at the local pub while enjoying the view of the bay flowing out into the North Sea. And why not end the day with a glass of amber coloured Speyside whisky?
Published: April 1, 2020