THE SPIRIT OF SPEYSIDE is over after another fantastic celebration of the region’s most famous product was enjoyed by thousands.
Accolades have been ringing in the ears of individual event organisers and every distillery that took part – but top honours this year have gone to Dufftown’s Glenfiddich Distillery.
In the annual event awards they picked up first place in all three categories with their malt brands selected by the whisky-loving public following a series of ‘blind taste’ tests.
The Glenfiddich 12-year-old triumphed over Glen Grant’s 10-year-old in the 12 year or younger category, and also took the title for the 13 to 20 year category with its 18 year old, winning over Glen Moray’s 16 year old.
More than that – the Glenfiddich 21-year-old won the category for single malts aged over 21, beating the Cragganmore 25-year-old 2014 Special Release into second place.
Roving judging sessions were held across Speyside during the Festival which officially ended yesterday. One was also held in specialist Scottish shop Scotia Spirit in Cologne – the first time a judging session was held outside the local area.
The finalists in all three categories were whittled down into a shortlist of entries earlier in the year by a panel including industry experts, retailers and whisky writers.
Festival chairman James Campbell said: “Huge congratulations to Glenfiddich for such a tremendous success at this year’s awards – we have never had one single distillery win all three titles before.
“Our awards are considered as one of the industry’s highest accolades, as the winners are determined by the people who matter the most –the whisky-drinking general public.
“Having a panel of industry experts judging the drams would not represent the views of the majority of drinkers, which is why we allow Festival visitors to have the final say. The people who vote in the awards are judging the drams based on their personal preference of the nose and taste of each entry.
“As it is a blind taste test, consumer or brand loyalty does not affect their decision. The judging sessions are enjoyed by a wide variety of people – from whisky aficionados to novices still learning about our national dram – and are an extremely popular element of the Festival.”
The awards are sponsored by coppersmiths Forsyths of Rothes, the company responsible for building many of the pot stills in which the shortlisted single malts were distilled.