By far the biggest whisky region in terms of production and concentration of distilleries, Speyside is the eponymous whisky region. Over half of all Scottish distilleries can be found here with Speyside single malts noted in general for their elegance and complexity, and often a refined smokiness. Beyond that, they have two extremes: the big, sherry-like type, as typified by The Macallan, Glenfarclas and Aberlour; and the lighter, more subtle style. Although it is not precisely defined, Speyside is commonly agreed to extend at least from the River Findhorn, just east of Inverness, to the River Deveron, northwest of Aberdeen.
Within this region are several other rivers, notably the Livet. Within Speyside, the River Livet is so famous that its name is borrowed by some whiskies from far beyond its glen, though only one may call itself The Glenlivet. Many of the region’s distilleries are on the Malt Whisky Trail, the only trail of its kind in the world. Along the trail you will also visit the only existing cooperage in the UK, Speyside Cooperage, where you can see the ancient art of creating whisky barrels and even try your hand at making a mini barrel yourself. Why not visit Speyside’s smallest distillery, Benromach, to learn more about the world’s first fully certified organic single malt whisky, or discover Cardhu Distillery, the only distillery pioneered by a woman?
Find out more about distilleries in Aberdeenshire and The Highlands.