The Spey Distillery

After a chance twitter exchange I found myself heading along to visit The Speyside Distillery.

  
Located close to Drumguish, just a short trip from Kingussie, this relatively small distillery which opened in 1990 produces about 600,000 litres of spirt every year, taking its water from the nearby river Tromie.
Its always fantastic to be invited to have a look around a distillery, even more so when its not officially open to the public.  

The distillery itself is contained within one building with the grain mill room (smallest in Scotland apparently) in a small outbuilding nearby. It is designed to make maximum use of the space and is very production line looking. It only requires one man per shift to operate the whole plant via a series of 70 valves, levers and dials. No computers here. 

  
The surrounding countryside is spectacular and the grounds of the distillery and offices are no exception. The old buildings are in well kept grounds with the River Tromie running right through the middle. 

  
In a previous life there used to be an old mill on the site. The channel which once powered the mills wheel still diverts water to the distillery to this day.

  
Sandy (the distilleries welcoming and knowledgable manager, and our tour guide for the day) then led the way to a very comfortable tasting room and introduced me to the full range of Spey Whiskies. 

 
I’m ashamed to say that Spey is a brand that has completely passed me by. I had never tried any of their range before so was very much looking forward to it.

They have 5 core expressions. 

Spey Tenné (a NAS port finish) 

Spey 12

Spey 18 (matured in sherry casks)

Spey Chairmans Choice 

Spey Royal Choice

I was lucky enough to sample all of the range. What follows are my thoughts and rough notes (from memory and not from my notebook however)

  

Spey Tennė

A very surprising find. Its a nice easy drinker, very fruity on the nose, a lovely rounded palate but still a pleasant little kick at 46% abv. The port finish does give it a very light pinkish tint and a smooth aftertaste. Hard to beat at this price.

Spey 12

Im going to fully review this another time but again it was a pleasant surprise. Its a well balanced dram with a slight whisp of smoke and a pleasing spice infused aftertaste. Maybe a little shy at 40% but nonetheless very enjoyable. Again, quite a lot of dram for the money. Classical stuff.

Spey 18
Very smooth sherried dram, not an intense ‘sherry bomb’ but a nice sherry influenced and well rounded whisky. Subtle and well crafted. In the mid range price wise for an 18 y.o expression.

Spey Chairmans Choice
A blend of casks personally selected by the chairman himself over Christmas dinner. Well balanced but maybe too balanced? (If that can be a bad thing) Definitely a straight down the middle kind of dram. Very well presented however. 

Spey Royal Choice

Again, a very well presented dram, this time in a royal blue bottle. Produced under licence for The Historical Royal Palaces.  This is a pleasant enough dram but probably the only one in the range that isn’t representative of value for money taste wise.

  

The packaging and presentation in particular is of a vey high standard and worthy of note.  The bottles are distinctive and remind me of a more continental style of bottle. Think perhaps Cognac or Schnapps bottles. The presentation boxes are quite something with wood and leather inlays. Some also double as cigar humidors, a use for empty whisky boxes at last.

Overall I’m very impressed with the range. They might not have the name or reputation of some of their illustrious speyside neighbours but there is something incredibly likeable about each and every one.

Somewhat bizarrely Spey have Michael Owen as their brand representative in the Far East. Safe to say Mr Owen seems to have a better taste in whisky than a certain other ex footballer…
Thanks to the staff at the distillery for their fantastic hospitality and especially to Sandy for his time. I truly hope to be visiting again soon, a genuine pleasure.

All of these whiskies are avaliable from online retailer Master of Malt by following this link.

For further information on The Speyside Distillery you can visit thier website here. 

6 comments

  1. “Somewhat bizarrely Spey have Michael Owen as their brand representative in the Far East. Safe to say Mr Owen seems to have a better taste in whisky than a certain other ex footballer…” Nice thinly veiled reference at Mr DB mate =D

    Brilliant review of a not so well known distillery and one that I hope to visit the next time I find myself in Scotland.

    Did they mention anything about the Beinn Dhub expression when you were there btw?

    Slainte!

    Brendan

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  2. AmateurDrammer · ·

    Yeah, it was mentioned. It’s very much a separate entity from the Spey brand. Hopefully have more on this later.
    As for the reference to a footballer…I don’t know what you mean 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Sandy is the manager at the Spey Distillery that I visited last month. You can re-read the article here. […]

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  4. […] enjoyed a very pleasant visit to The Speyside Distillery last month (see my thoughts here) and was lucky enough to get to taste several of their expressions in the company of distillery […]

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  5. […] previously visited the distillery (if you haven’t visited you really must) and tried several of their expressions, which I […]

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  6. […] reviewed a few releases from Spey Distillery before, in fact I was lucky enough to have a private tour of the distillery with manager (and whisky legend) Sandy Jamieson last year. You can also catch up with Sandys […]

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