Scotland: Whisky & Distilleries
its evocative name, this distillery is not considered by everybody to be geographically settled
in the Speyside area. But the river Spey flows behind the distillery. The Speyside distillery is the closest
to the burn of the Speyside river so it really deserves to be considered as a being part of the Speyside area.
George Christie founded the blending company "Speyside Distillery and Bonding" in 1955.
In reality, even if the distillery is not settled in the traditional Speyside area, the distillery is the closest distillery to the source of the River Spey ( the River Tromie), and it even has a view on the Spey.
One year later, he acquired
the ground called "Old Milton Estate" in Glen Tromie,
on which the village Drumguish and the old mill who made floor
for the village people up to 1949 were settled. This old mill was
build in 1710 and currently houses the office of the distillery's
To insure a constant quality to their blends, the Christie family decided to create their own malt distillery in a building settled on their property. This construction has been build by Alex Fairly alone, and it took him 25 years to achieve it. He used the dry-stone dyking method, which was labor-intensive, but resulted in a beautifully handcrafted building.
About 20% of the production is marketed as single malt under the name Drumguish, and the remaining part is sas kept for ageing or is used in the blends Speyside and the vatted malt Glentromie. But nowadays, there is no blend produced anymore by the distillery. The remaining 80% are used now for the Speyside Single Malt which was available as a 10 y.o. but now solely available as a 12 y.o.
The distillery owners also buy and bottle casks for Scott's Selection.
It is not that easy to find the Speyside distillery in the countryside near Kingussie. People never arrive here quite
by chance. Andrew Shand, director of the distillery told me: "The visitor who finds the distillery deserve a free
guided visit of the installations."
The distillery is quite discrete indeed. No pagoda roof on top, and low buildings, work of one single man...
But what a stroke of good luck, once the distillery is found, to discover this part of paradise on earth, at least by
fine weather (which was our case). The Speyside distillery is the closest to the spring of the River Spey which flows
just a few meters behind the distillery.
During the spring, the river is calm and flows peacefully, and it is hard to imagine that the same river is so stormy during the winter, sweeping the big stones of her bed along just if they were weightless, causing a kind of mini-earthquakes on the ground between the river and the distillery.
The winter 2005 was particulary severe, with lots of snow, which is really a godsend for the distillery. Usually distillation has to be stopped by end of April, because of a lack at sufficiently cold water, but it seems that the process can go on this year until begin of June. Nice for a young distillery...
But every rose has its thorn, and the joy of living in such a beautiful environment is compensed by the interdiction to make any new building near the existing distillery. Thus the distillery does not have any local warehouse, as it is situated in the heart of a Natural reserve. It's new make spirit is sent in bulk to the own warehouses of the company in Glasgow.
The first official releases of Speyside (the 10 years, and now the 12 years old) are promising. This distillery must be kept in eye by the malt lovers, as quality is really present.
And, if the distillery cat seems to be wel fed, it's owner does not like the comparison with Towser, the Glenturret cat who is in the Guinness Book of Records for having killed about 30.000 mice, as there is no mouse in the distillery....
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The tasting notes
The production areas
|WDTS: blind tasting sessions||List of all distilleries||How whisky is made||Central Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Northern Highlands,Western Highlands|
|Recent tastings||Distillery owners||Whisky history||Speyside|
|Visitors notes||The independent bottlers||All the bottles in collection||Lowlands|
|Post your own notes||The distilleries in their historical context||By order of preference||Islay|
|Interactive map of the distilleries||By order of value for money||Campbeltown|