First launched in 1999, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival's annual celebration of Scotland's national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind anywhere in the world. With a programme of around 500 whisky-inspired events over 5 days, the Festival is a mecca for the curious beginner and the whisky connoisseur alike.
Festival events take place throughout Speyside, the biggest whisky producing region in Scotland, located in the Moray area in the North-East of the county between Aberdeen and Inverness.
Event venues are as varied as the experiences on offer - distilleries old and new, charming village halls, local whisky bars, historic castles, old steadings and the great outdoors – each guaranteeing an authentic experience. With activities taking place from Elgin in the North, Kingussie in the South to Keith in the East and Forres in the West, following the length of the River Spey to the sea (one of National Geographic's 'greatest coastlines'), the Festival brings this renowned whisky region to life as visitors from 54 countries are welcomed, greeted by locals as old friends.
Over the years, the Festival has developed close links with many Speyside businesses and communities who help to fund the festival. It is a true team effort to deliver an ever-improving range of events and services to make the five days of the Festival a truly unforgettable experience.
Around the table were people from Egypt, the Philippines, the US, Canada (‘and French Canada!’), Sweden, Belgium... and one lone Scot. It typified what the festival is about. Across Speyside people were sitting down, or standing beside, strangers. The only link between them was a love of whisky. They start to swap stories and experiences and, before you know it, everyone’s laughing or dancing and making a new, firm, friendship. Dave Broom, writing for scotchwhisky.com, 2017
The [Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival] is not only about whisky. It is also an open stage for music and a rich table. Whisky, dance, music, food... the best ingredients for fun. Marine Nouet, writing for www.scotchwhisky.com, 2016
...though the whisky may be the spirit of the festival, the people are definitely its heart. Sean Murphy, writing for www.scotchwhisky.com, 2016
"The breadth and varied nature of the tastings was excellent, the programme allowed something for everyone! For a genuine whisky enthusiast and someone new to the whisky trade it was a feast of information and a wonderful education! Activities such as the smugglers trail in the Argocat or (the) walk to Ben Rinnes are brilliant for visitors to Speyside as it gives a real sense of place and why Speyside is so special! I haven’t even mentioned the sublime dram’s themselves yet…. incredible and hugely memorable to have the opportunity to taste aged, rare, and super premium quality whiskies!! All of this enjoyed with a great bunch of people, so welcoming and open and lovely to see such warm pride and sense of collaboration within an industry." Guest, 2016