Speyside whisky is some of the best examples of single malt whisky from Scotland. Speyside single malt whisky is produced in an area of Scotland that is home to the most famous Scotch whisky distilleries in the world.
Some of the most popular Speyside whiskies you may have heard of are single malts such as Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Aberlour, Macallan, and Tamdhu.
Speyside whisky is produced in the North East of Scotland around the river Spey. Speyside single malts are so popular because they are lightly peated and are of high quality. In fact, it is possible to buy many popular Speyside single malt whiskies for under £50.
Even though Speyside is located in the Scottish Highlands, the high concentration of whisky distilleries in Speyside has given it its own distinct region. In fact, there are around 60 distilleries producing whisky in Speyside. That is why Speyside whisky is classed as unique whisky-producing region of Scotland.
Most experts on single malt whisky agree that Speyside single malts are some of the best single malt whiskies you can buy.
History of Speyside Whisky Production
The history of Speyside single malt whisky production is similar to the history of the Highland region. The Glenlivet distillery in Speyside obtained the first legal license to distil whisky in Scotland in 1824. Probably because the abundant arable land which was easy to manage (as opposed to the mountains to the west). Now Speyside has some of the best and largest whisky distilleries in Scotland.
Speyside Single Malt Whiskies
Most whiskies distilled in Speyside use only minimally peated barley. What do Speyside single malt whiskies taste like? This is how most people describe them:
- Delicious malt whiskies with only a hint of smokiness
- Single malt whiskies with light overtones of honey
- Light and grassy single malts
- Rich, sherry-like whiskies
Speyside Whisky Distilleries
I will focus on three of the best distilleries that produce Speyside whisky – unfortunately, there are too many to go into detail.
Glenfiddich Speyside Whisky
Started in 1886 by William Grant the distillery has remained independent and family-owned. William Grans and his 9 and his nine children built the Glenfiddich distillery. They use the same warehouses to mature their fine single malt Speyside whiskies today. Glenfiddich is near the town of Dufftown – right in the heart of the Speyside whisky region.
Glenfiddich is really a giant in Speyside whisky production because they produce around 10,000,000 litres of alcohol annually. All the whisky is matured in its own onsite warehouses, and is bottled onsite also. They produce a number of Speyside malts with the youngest at 12 years old and going up to 21 years old. Glenfiddich is the main single malt whisky in the Grant’s blend.
You will notice that Grant’s whisky uses the same triangular shaped bottle as their classic 12 year old single malt whisky. The best single malt from them is the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Single Malt Solera.
Please see this article to find out why Glenfiddich uses bottles with a triangle shape.
The Macallan Speyside Whisky
Founded in 1824, many people view The Macallan as a classic single malt whisky. It has changed owners and names over the centuries (originally was called the Elchies distillery). It has only gained popularity as a single malt whisky in recent years.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1970 that it was sold as a single malt. It is now reportedly the world 3rd most popular single malt whisky. The malt Speyside whisky is only ever matured in ex-sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. This gives it a sweet distinctive taste.
The Glenlivet Whisky from Speyside
Situated near the town of Tomintoul The Glenlivet distillery is the first legal Scottish distillery. It is situated on what was once a farm distillery called Upper Drummin. Because the neighbouring distilleries were running without a license they became angry that the owner was running Glenlivet legally, and also becoming very successful. So George Smith, the owner, had to resort to carryng a pair pistols for protection. It is a very smooth and light Speyside malt. It is the second most popular malt whisky in the world and the top seller in the US.
Other notable Speyside Whiskies are Balvenie, Aberlour, Cardhu, Cragganmore and Macduff.
In Conclusion on Speyside Whisky
The Speyside whiskies are the jewel in Scotch single malt whisky production. The region produces high quality malts suitable for many palates. The only problem is to decide which is your favourite.
To buy single malt whisky from Speyside then please click here.