Today, I have been working on two new Speyside whisky tours scheduled for March. This has prompted me to focus my blog this evening on Speyside which is probably the single largest whisky production area in Scotland containing some 45 distilleries. The area is named after the River Spey which rises in the Monadhliath mountains south of Loch Ness and flows for about 100 miles before entering the Moray Firth (estuary or bay). Apart from supplying the whisky industry, the clean waters of the Spey are best known for salmon fishing.

Each year I visit Speyside maybe 5 or 6 times, usually on whisky themed tours. About half of the distilleries provide distillery tours which can range from the ‘standard’ 45 min group tour to specialised ‘Connoisseur’ Tours lasting up to 3 hours. Distilleries providing tours include: Strathisla, Glen Grant, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Macallan, Cardhu, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet. Whilst the underlying whisky making process is common to all distilleries, each as its own idiosyncrasies which generates the distinctive flavours of the malts.

Here is a stunning Speyside landscape.

Speyside Landscape

Speyside Landscape, Scotland

This is Balvenie Castle, located very close to Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries.

Balvenie Castle, Speyside

Balvenie Castle, Speyside, Scotland

The vegetation in proximity to distilleries is notable for a black fungus which is caused by the alcohol fumes. The fungus is harmless.

Alcohol Fumes at Aberlour Distillery

Alcohol Fumes at Aberlour Distillery, Scotland

A selection of malts at Balvenie

Balvenie Malts, Speyside

Balvenie Malts, Speyside, Scotland

Glenfiddich Still Room

Stills at Glenfiddich Distillery

Stills at Glenfiddich Distillery, Scotland

Stills at Aberlour

Stills at Aberlour Distillery

Stills at Aberlour Distillery, Scotland

A guest bottling whisky at Aberlour

Bottling Whisky at Aberlour

Bottling Whisky at Aberlour Distillery

In addition to the two new whisky tours I have also been working on a 5 day tour of Scotland for two ladies scheduled for summer 2011.

Weather here in Glasgow has been sub-zero all day with more frost forecast.

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