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PICTURES: Celebrate the success of Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival


By Chris Saunderson

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THOUSANDS of whisky enthusiasts celebrated the return of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for the first time in three years.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Chairman George McNeil. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Chairman George McNeil. Picture: Becky Saunderson

It attracted visitors from more than 29 countries, from North America, Norway and Malaysia to name but a few.

Now in its 23rd year, an impressive array of 550 events ensured that there was something for everyone, with a mix of both brand-new experiences and firm favourites.

Festival goers enjoyed exclusive access to world famous distilleries usually off-limits to

the public, and were able to fully immerse themselves in the region and discover all

that Speyside has to offer.

Festival chairman George McNeil, said: “The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival brings together so many of our local companies and craftspeople, creating a second-to-none selection of events for people from near and far.

"This year, as we returned to an in-person event, I was encouraged to see so many overseas visitors joining local people to share their enthusiasm for all that Speyside offers.

Vistors get the chance to 'charge the washback' under the watchful eye of distillery staff member Sean Campbell at Balvenie Distillery. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Vistors get the chance to 'charge the washback' under the watchful eye of distillery staff member Sean Campbell at Balvenie Distillery. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

“Speyside’s draw to local, national, and international visitors with a taste for Scotland’s national drink is evident. I am proud the people of Speyside welcomed back so many people to an area I am lucky enough to call home, to enjoy the experiences, the produce and of course the spirit that make this region so special.

“With over 550 successful events, I would like to raise a dram to everyone who has worked

so hard to bring the festival back to life and showcase the very best of our iconic whisky

region once again and we all look forward to the next celebration.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “I was delighted that EventScotland was able to work with Spirit of Speyside, funding such a uniquely Scottish event through our International Programme. This support furthered their efforts to reach audiences both locally and abroad, encouraging visitors to Speyside to enjoy all the region has to offer from its stunning landscapes to, of course, its whisky.”

Iain Allan from Glen Moray who dressed as a Stormtrooper. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Iain Allan from Glen Moray who dressed as a Stormtrooper. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

From Star Wars themed events, with 25 per cent of all ticket sales going to Cancer Research

in memory of the ultimate Star Wars and whisky fan Brett Ferencz - whose Scotch Trooper alter ego always made people smile - to a clandestine Land Rover safari tour stopping off at several historical whisky smuggling sites, including a secret illicit still location in The Glenlivet hills, the 2022 programme was one of the most diverse to date.

Launched in 1999, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival's annual celebration of Scotland's national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind in the world.


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