Getting in the Spirit of Speyside

by Keith Savage · 6 comments

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

This is just a quick note to share a couple bits of news. First, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is going on right now! The festival runs for five incredible days and includes more than 350 events themed around whisky (of course), food, history, and the natural beauty of the Speyside region. My time at the festival last year was one of my favorite experiences in all my trips to Scotland. I highly recommend you click over to their Web site, have a look around, and start planning your trip to the festival in May 2014. Start with this brochure.

Or, check out my lengthy series of posts from last year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. I culled some notes from my tasting diary as the festival ended, but I recommend you start with my overview of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Then check out my pieces on the festival’s opening dinner, a smashing Glenfiddich tour, Argocatting over the Glenlivet hills, and a masterclass with Glenlivet’s cunning alchemists. Of course there’s also my takes on Glenglassaugh, Benromach, and Mortlach, none of which should be missed, plus a concert review of the amazing traditional folk band Breabach and a duo of excellent whisky tastings. That should give you a pretty good idea of the greatness of this festival.

Finally, I was recently notified that at this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival opening dinner, I won the International Ambassador of the Year award! Though I couldn’t be there to receive the award, my contact at the festival, the delightful Mary Hemsworth, received the engraved quaich award in my stead to a round of rousing applause. I am truly honored by the award and I would like to publicly thank Mary and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for not only this generous gesture, but also for making my trip last year possible.

International Ambassador of the Year…that will look nice on the ol’ CV. In the meantime, I’m busy planning my visit to next year’s festival, just like you. Sláinte!

Jennifer KeeneNo Gravatar November 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM

My fiance and I will be going on our honeymoon to Scotland in late april/early may, which happens to coincide with the 2016 Spirit of Speyside festival. Historically we are oenophiles rather whiskey drinkers but this seems like too much of an opportunity to pass up. Are there any events/tours/tastings that would be particularly excellent for whiskey novice as opposed to an aficionado?


Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 28, 2015 at 7:19 AM

Hi Jennifer,

How very cool that you’ll be in Speyside during the festival. You should know it can get very busy during that time, so hopefully you’ve either got accommodation or are looking into it. Every year there’s a new slate of activities for the festival, and it usually comes out in January. However, I think Balvenie does the best tour in Scotland, whether you’re a novice or aficionado. It is long (~3 hours) and very in-depth, but they cover every aspect of the whisky-making process like no other distillery. Glenfiddich also has very good introductory tours. As for events, look for tastings put on by The Whisky Shop in Dufftown. Mike Lord is the guy. I’ve found being part of tastings with those who can guide you through it to be hugely enriching. I’m sure you can identify with experiences at vineyards.

Have a great honeymoon!


Amy SNo Gravatar May 5, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Congratulations Keith! So cool!


wandering educatorsNo Gravatar May 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM



KenNo Gravatar May 5, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Fantastic. Your love of Scotland and Speyside’s whiskies clearly showed. Congratulations!


RandyNo Gravatar May 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Hey congratulations Keith !
Hard to believe it was a year ago we sat together watching Breabach, that was a lot of fun.
Go Sens Go !


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