The Speyside Distillery

The Speyside Distillery

To be clear we’re talking about the Speyside Distillery, not to be confused with the Speyside region, home to more than 50 scotch whisky distilleries. The Speyside Distillery is an understated yet spectacularly beautiful distillery. Turning off the A86 in the village of Kingussie, there are no signs for the distillery, a stark contrast to most of Speyside where distillery signage is abundant. As you exit the village, the rural landscape is suddenly obstructed by the striking ruins of the Ruthven Barracks but still no signs of the distillery. And then at last, surrounded by farmland lies a tiny and picturesque distillery.

A former barley mill, the Speyside Distillery is tiny, so small that the stills had to be cut down to fit in the existing building. Privately owned, the mill was lovingly transformed into the distillery by hand over 25 years by a traditional stone mason! The landscape is stunning, a small spring runs immediately next to the distillery buidings, essential for both the former mill operations and current distillery operations.  The 200 year old waterwheel is not only an unexpected photo opp but a functional part of the operations. The water is clean, fresh, crisp – on tours folks are invited to dip a cup into the spring and try it themselves. Winding around the site, is the babbling River Tromie, a tributary of the famed River Spey.

Whisky lovers aren’t the only ones to fall in with this distillery though. The distillery was featured in the popular BBC series Monarch of the Glen as the ‘Laggonmore Distillery’.

The artisan whiskies of the Speyside Distillery are known for their light and delicate flavors. A live yeast strain is used in fermentation, highly unusual. The extraordinarily short stills contribute to the intensely flavored spirit. An easy drinking, very smooth scotch whisky for sure. This release from Dràm Mòr, finished in a Pedro Ximenz sherry cask offers a smooth dram with a sweet finish.

But alas, all good things cannot last forever. As lovely as the site is, it’s located in a floodplain and the distillery’s closure has been unofficially announced. Plans to relocate are rumored to be within the boundaries of Cairngorms National Park. Be sure to try the OG vintages from the original Speyside Distillery before it’s lost to history and the floodwaters of the River Tromie.

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