AN EXHIBITION exploring the rich heritage of Scotland’s national drink has opened in Elgin.
"The Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass" runs from April 17 to May 5 in St Giles Church.
Part of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, the exhibition was originally created by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to mark the trade body’s Centenary in 2012 and was displayed at The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.
Entry to the exhibition is free and it brings together an array of images and artefacts from several Scotch Whisky producers and enthusiasts. Many items on display had been stored in archives and personal collections until their inclusion in this exhibition.
Moray and Speyside is home to half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries and thousands of visitors will flock to the area next month for the festival.
Scotch Whisky exports are worth around £4.3 billion a year and the industry directly employs more than 10,000 people across Scotland.
Visitors will learn everything from how Scotch Whisky is made to how it is marketed and exported. The exhibition explains, through images and words, how the "What is Whisky?" debate of the early 20th century led to a Royal Commission report which helped establish the modern day Scotch Whisky industry.
A full size white horse made of fibre glass is included in the exhibition. White Horse, now owned by Diageo, is a well-known brand of Blended Scotch Whisky popular in many markets around the world. The firm Mackie & Co became White Horse Distillers Ltd in 1924 following the death of Peter Mackie who created White Horse Blended Scotch Whisky.
Rosemary Gallagher of the Scotch Whisky Association said: "We are delighted that the Spirit of Speyside Festival decided to re-create the Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass exhibition in the lovely setting of St Giles Church in Elgin. It will give visitors to the festival and to the many distilleries in the region the chance to find out more about the rich history of Scotch Whisky and the people behind this iconic product."
Grenville Johnston, the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, officially opened the exhibition.
He said: "I have watched the progress of the festival over the past years and continue to be delighted at the new ideas that come forward each year.
"This exhibition is just that. The organisers found out about the Centenary Exhibition and requested it come here. I was pleased to learn about the great support that it has received from all the distillers involved in allowing these wonderful artefacts to be seen in Moray."
He paid tribute to others who have supported the project, including Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Glen Grant, Macpherson’s and Johnston’s of Elgin."
The exhibition will be particularly busy during the festival which runs from May 1-5.