About the School

Held over three full days, the Festival’s Whisky School offers a unique opportunity to explore all aspects of malt whisky making including malting, mashing, brewing, distilling and maturation. The Whisky School is aimed at whisky enthusiasts who wish to learn more about the technical aspects of the creation of malt whisky and is held prior to the Festival. All pupils will depart with a Diploma.

Expert speakers deliver a fascinating programme of in-depth lectures which are complimented by behind-the-scenes technical visits, so delegates gain a real understanding and first-hand experience of malt whisky making in Speyside. The lectures will be presented by speakers of international standard, all from within the whisky distilling industry and either Members or Fellows of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

The School is limited to a small and exclusive group and the programme is designed so that personal attention can be given. All the lecturers and site managers are happy to share their passion for malt whiskies with you and answer your questions.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is indebted to the Whisky School Committee; all volunteers, who develop and deliver the programme under the chairmanship of the Headmaster, Alan Winchester.

There are limited places available annually and the cost is £750 inc. VAT per person. For further information or to register your interest in this or future Schools please contact the Festival team here.


  • All course content (manuals/USB)
  • Institute of Brewing and Distilling level support and network of contacts
  • Classroom lectures each day
  • Technical site visits
  • Transport to and from all technical visits
  • All lunches
  • A graduation dinner (including transport)
  • A diploma
  • A photograph of the class


In 2022 the Whisky School was relaunched following the interruption of the pandemic. Delegates were asked for anonymous feedback and specifically if they would recommend the Whisky School to other people: they were unanimous in saying they would all do so.

In addition, they were asked for brief comments on all aspects of the course. Their general comments included: “the lectures were great, particularly on distillation/maturation”

In response to “What worked well and/or what was your favourite part?” delegates mentioned a long and varied list of the elements they had enjoyed. These included all the lectures and all the tours.

Specifically, delegates mentioned that Robert's sessions on the chemistry of whisky and Alan's history knowledge were both fascinating, the opportunities for learning about maturation, about esters and flavours, the visits to distilleries, and to Forsyth’s of Rothes were among other aspects which were also rated as excellent.

In answer to “What was your favourite topic or talk?” every lecture was singled out for mention by one or more delegates.

The responses to “What was your favourite activity?” were equally varied and comprehensive, including the visits to distilleries, the Speyside Cooperage and to Forsyth’s of Rothes as well as the blind nosing and tasting sessions.

Quotes from Previous Years

This is an excellent programme for anyone who is interested in learning more about the industry and how whisky is made. It is a good balance between classroom learning and technical visits to sites which are not generally accessible to the public. The industry guest speakers are leaders in their field and the information is delivered in a way that is easy to understand without being too complicated. You also get to taste lots of great whiskies, most of which you will never get to try unless you are on the programme. This school is great value for money, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone considering attending.

Graeme Dempster
2017 Graduate

The Whisky School and all connected activities were a fantastic experience. The organisers did a magnificent job in putting together a world class event and also making me feel welcome as a visitor to Scotland and a student.

Fred Archer
2012 Graduate

I found the presentations very informative and excellent. The guest speakers were very knowledgeable in their respective fields and very approachable during and after the presentations were given.

Kelly Forbes
2012 Graduate

This programme offers an excellent balance of classroom instruction and technical visits. The material presented is comprehensive without being overwhelming.

Trenton McLaren
2013 Graduate

This School was an amazing experience and gave a great amount of information. I loved my time meeting new people who share a common interest.

Jarred van de Mortel
2013 Graduate

Sign up to stay informed of our events

Join our mailing list for the latest news & updates from the Spirit of Speyside Festivals!