Speyside festival is turning Japanese – we really think so!

Taste of Japan at the Spirit of Speyside this year.

THE WORLD LEADING whisky festival that brings thousands each year to the spiritual home of the most famous distilleries will showcase how Speyside has influenced the world.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival features the key whisky producers of the region – and this year there will be a chance to taste how other nations are competing.

Japanese whiskies will be included in the Festival – but that is not in itself new to Speyside, as the tastings have been available for some time at Craigellachie’s Highlander Inn, which is owned by Tatsuya Minagawa!

Tatsuya has ensured that alongside the local product he has one of the world’s largest collections of Japanese whiskies outside South East Asia. So his Inn provides the perfect host for global brand ambassador Yumi Yashikawa to discuss ‘Everything about Chichibu Distillery’ – and a rare chance to try brand new bottlings and new cask samples of whiskies not yet available in the UK.

The Japanese tastings are just a small part of the massive array of whiskies and local food produce that will be available during the Festival, which this year runs from April 27 to May 1. It will include such as the Spey Larder in Aberlour will show is serving samples of whisky-flavoured haggis, smoked salmon, cheeses, pâté, ice cream, cake, tea and coffee, all specially created by Scottish producers.

Scotland is gathering a growing reputation for its gin production and the home of Caorunn Gin is opening its doors to festival goers. Speyside’s Balmenach Distillery will be offering an insight into Caorunn’s artisanal production process with a tour of the production area followed by tutored, deconstructed nosings and tastings, including neat tastings.

Chocolates will be served with very special drams when drinks writers Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley get together at Aberlour Distillery to go back to the birth of film and use the moving image to highlight the influence of maturation in sherry casks with a silent classic accompanied by live music.

Festival manager Pery Zakeri says that the festival is continuing to make new partnerships and extending its appeal and interest to whisky fans and other visitors seeking unique activities.

Pery said: “Events like our exclusive behind the scenes tours – and events where people get to meet the key players in the Speyside whisky industry such as master distillers and expert blenders – will always be the most popular.

“But every year we look to add interesting and unusual choices to the Festival listings so there is an incredibly varied programme to choose from.”

Festival chairman James Campbell also underlines the importance of the festival being an unforgettable experience for all visitors, whether they are whisky devotees or curious beginners.

“The Festival is very much the gold standard for whisky connoisseurs, but we ensure there is plenty to attract those who are less knowledgeable about Speyside malts or indeed who have never tasted whisky.”

More information about the event is available at www.spiritofspeyside.com and tickets are also available to buy on the website.