Devotees of the dram and non-whisky drinkers alike will be able to discover even more about the delights of Scotland’s Malt Whisky country this month as the 12th annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival starts.
The five-day festival’s packed programme of over 200 events starts today and runs until the 2nd. May. There is something to suit all levels of interest, from the exclusive three day intensive instruction on offer at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School to a more light hearted look at the world of whisky with stand up comedian Vladimir McTavish.
Included in this year’s programme is the opportunity to become a Benromach warehouseman for the day, offering enthusiasts a unique opportunity to be initiated into the ultra exclusive whisky world with the chance to take part in the time honoured preparations of the iconic drink before hand-filling a bottle of Benromach as a souvenir of this unforgettable experience.
Whisky lovers can also take part in the Cask Strength Challenge Quiz at Strathisla Distillery, with the winning team taking away rare limited edition bottles of Deoch an Doras 36 Year Old whisky, produced by the now defunct Inverleven distillery.
For those who want to let their hair down while in Malt Whisky country there are a range of exciting daytime and evening entertainments showcasing the best of Speyside spirit including the Coleburn Distillery Fun Day and Ceilidh, an extravaganza added to this year’s programme offering whisky barrel buggy racing and some traditional craic at an evening ceilidh.
Other brand new musical highlights include a celebration of contemporary Scottish music at the Celtic Spirit evening at The Glenfiddich Distillery and the Whisky and Jazz event at the Craigellachie Hotel, where Dutch whisky author Hans Offringa will be on hand to sign copies of his book ‘The Road to Craigellachie – Revisited’ which will be officially re-launched as part of the festival programme offering enthusiasts the change to get their hands on a copy of this whisky themed travel book that quickly became a collector’s item after its first edition was released in 2004.
Over the course of the Festival visitors will have the opportunity take part in numerous long-standing favourite events such as guided tours of many of Speyside’s 50+ world renowned distilleries, including some not usually open to the public, as well uncovering the unique appeal of this amazing area of north east Scotland on a range of whisky themed walks and tours.
Outdoor events include the festival’s famed “Dramble” where walkers can sample the spirits on offer at the seven stills of Dufftown by foot, a selection of whisky and wildlife walks guided by local rangers, as well as exclusive motorised tours taking in the backcountry braes that used to conceal the smugglers stills by four wheel drive or even in an amphibious argocat.
Connoisseurs will have the chance to blend their own whisky at the Cardhu distillery as well as sampling some superb single malts and helping to select the winning whiskies at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards prior to the annual opening dinner at Knockando Distillery.
Tastings will also be offered at a range of other events including the foodie friendly Sweet and Savoury Whisky Pairing workshops at Gordon and MacPhail where guests will receive guidance on how to select the top tipples to complement their favourite foods. Whisky and food will also be the subject of some new additions to the festival programme with tasting tours taking place on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival.
For more information: Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2011