About the School

Now extended to begin on Sunday evening and continuing for the following 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. All delegates will depart with a Diploma. The Whisky School is held immediately before the Festival to allow delegates to enjoy Festival events.

In 2022 the Whisky School was relaunched following the interruption of the pandemic under the leadership of Headmaster Alan Winchester.

Alan has assembled a group of expert speakers who deliver a fascinating programme of in-depth lectures, which are complimented by behind-the-scenes technical visits, in order that delegates can gain a real understanding and first-hand experience of malt whisky making in Speyside. The lectures will be presented in English 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.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is indebted to the Whisky School Committee; all volunteers they develop and deliver the programme with Headmaster, Alan Winchester and Committee Chair, Ann Miller.

Places available each year are limited. The cost has been held at £750 inc. VAT per person. For further information or to register your interest in this or future Schools please contact the Festival team here.


  • Institute of Brewing and Distilling level support and network of contacts
  • Classroom lectures each day
  • Two half days of technical site visits with transport to and from all technical visits
  • Tutored tastings
  • A USB with all the course content plus a Whisky School branded notebook and pen
  • A celebration dinner (including transport)
  • A networking dinner on Sunday evening and all lunches
  • A diploma
  • A photograph of the class


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

Here are some comments following the 2023 Whisky School:

  • It was like an adult summer camp for whisky enthusiasts.
  • Great experience with completely rounded up syllabus for potential whisky distillers with great speakers from the industry and magnificent on-site visits.
  • An event with industry experts that expands your knowledge of the whisky industry.
  • Excellent
  • A great overview of all the different parts of the process of whisky
  • Invaluable
  • Top course
  • Highly recommended to my peers and friends
  • Great courses, excellent and very knowledgeable presenters, nice way to meet other whisky enthusiasts.
  • An activity worth the experience. Thanks
  • Very professional and high-class speakers - great experience
  • Go ahead and treat yourself to a great experience.
  • An immersive experience that provides students with a variety of experiences, information, and connection with the great whisky industry of Speyside
  • A fantastic, fun deep dive in the world of whisky
  • Great experience for me, theory, practice, excursion and networking
  • A superb introduction to the world of Speyside whisky.
  • Very well gained information.
  • Amazing opportunity to get access to the industry experts.
  • Informative, engaging, generous and fun.
  • Definitely the best “school” I’ve ever attended.
  • Fantastic - an expectation beating experience.
  • The lectures were great, particularly on distillation/maturation.

In addition, delegates were asked for brief comments on each aspect of the course:

  • 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 as well as the blind nosing and tasting sessions.

“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 …. 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….. This school is great value for money, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone considering attending.”

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