ATTRACTIONS EXPECTED TO feature high in this year’s Spirit of Speyside whisky festival have been unveiled this week.
Hundreds of events throughout Moray and Speyside are being planned for the festival which this year runs from April 28 to May 2, with a full listing now available on the festival web site.
Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday – allowing both locals and visitors alike plenty of time to secure their places at preferred events. Over the last few festivals ticket sales have broken new records on their first day of sale – and with the growing popularity of the festival, that is expected to happen once again.
Festival manager Pery Zakeri says, “Distilleries and communities have pulled out all the stops to ensure that this year’s programme is one of the best yet, with some innovative new events at venues that have not previously participated.
“We know that visitors from around the world will be sitting by their computers on Tuesday just waiting for sales to open to make sure they get tickets for the events that they really want.”
For the first time this year the 15th Century Gordon Castle is taking part in the Festival and becomes the stunning setting for a four-course dinner with specially selected whisky and wine.
Drummuir Castle, the home of Diageo in Speyside, is also offering an exclusive two-night stay with full access to its renowned malt library.
The castle, built in 1847 is a splendid example of the Scottish Victorian architecture. Its romantic roof line with its battlements, turrets and chimney stacks is dominated by a stunning 60foot high central lantern tower, notable for its Gothic tracery.
Also new this year a maltings will join the programme to provide visitors with a window into this sector of the industry, in response to visitor feedback showing a real interest for all elements of production.
Speyside’s newest distillery, Dalmunach, will also open to the public for the first time with exclusive whisky festival tours, while Gordon and MacPhail is stepping out on its ‘The wood makes the whisky’ campaign with a guided walk and commentary through Elgin’s Quarrelwoods, which will include a sample of malts to savour at its retail shop.
Pery Zakeri added: “We’re pleased to be joined by new partners and to find such a willingness to get involved in the Festival and offer visitors a wide variety of different experiences.
“Boortmalt has joined us for the first time and will be offering four tours of their maltings in Buckie, providing an insight into drying, storing, steeping, germination and kilning.
“As this is new to the festival we expect there to be keen interest, as feedback from visitors has shown a lot of interest in whisky’s ‘side’ industries.
“We are also seeing more communities come on board, for example Forres Heritage Trust delivering tours in the whisky museum in the Tolbooth in Forres which will have hundreds of pieces on show for the duration of the Festival.”