Having just returned from a week-long trip to Scotland, one in which I made sure no sight was unseen and no glass left unemptied, I have found myself reminiscing of the rolling hills of Speyside. You may already be familiar with Speyside, if you haven’t already visited it yourself. It is currently the largest whisky-producing region in Scotland, home to more than half of the distilleries operating today including some of the biggest Scotch whisky brands in the world.
Given the sheer size and scope of Speyside, the whisky produced within this region can often vary in style and flavour. Must one step foot onto Speyside soil to experience the ethos of this beautiful terrain and its variety of flavours? Fortunately, no! In many ways whisky can be a powerful tool for triggering sensory experiences, more so than observing a photograph or listening to an audio clip. Even if you have never been to Speyside, it is still possible to discover the beauty of this world straight from your glass.
Let us have a look at a few single cask whiskies that I find to evoke the true essence of Speyside. From the rolling, grassy hills to the warm sun piercing through the heavy clouds to the morning dew beneath your feet, these unique casks will take you on a journey of discovery through the heart of Scotland. Each of these exceptional single cask whiskies were selected from world-renowned whisky writer and Chairman of our Tasting Panel, Charlie MacLean:
Cask 54.66 ‘Party Fizz’ is the quintessential introduction to Speyside’s soft and fruity side of Speyside. Think ‘orchard fruit drizzled in honey’. It’s a warming dram that can be enjoyed by virtually everyone, one that has brought me back to those rare sunny afternoons spent treking through the forest.
36.145 ‘Nice day for cricket’ brings greater depth and maturity. At 20 years old, an age that many claim to be idyllic for Speyside whisky, it has evolved into a rich and thought-provoking dram, one that reminds me of those cold Scottish nights under the stars.
41.106 ‘Masterchef Final’ brings a bit of mystery to the picture. It’s the feeling one gets when gazing into the horizon; those green, rolling hills freshly soaked with rain and kissed with sunlight a moment later. Dried tobacco leaf, freshly baked bread and perfumed sweets are slowly unveiled in a soft but powerful delivery.
7.203 ‘Angel’s tears’ hails from thesub-region of Speyside known as Lossie. At 15 years old, the whisky delivers a complex wave of over ripened citrus fruits, warm Christmas spices and a crisp floral note that brings this rather sweet and decadent spirit to life.
While each of these three casks are entirely unique to one another, they share one thing in common: they are all easy to appreciate. To me that is the beauty of Speyside whisky. Whether you are a seasoned enthusiast or someone who simply enjoys whisky and interesting in elevating your tasting experience to the next level, Speyside is the perfect place to start. Slàinte mhath!