This is the first in a series of blogs on the festival.
During this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s festival we again held a challenge for Independent Bottlers to find the best independent bottling of Speyside whisky and the best from the rest of whisky. The competition was hotly contended with entries from Adelphi, Berry Brothers & Rudd, CadenheadsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, Douglas Laing, Duncan Taylor, Gordon & MacPhail, The Scottish Liqueur Centre (Carn Mor) and Wemyss. Both Berry Brothers and the SLC were new to the competition this year.
In both categories we had whiskies from the same distillery but were very different highlighting the craft of the Independent Bottler in selecting unusual casks from that distillery. And again this year almost all of the whiskies had people voting for them as their favourite showing that there is a whisky for everyone and every whisky has someone Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the flavours in whisky are as broad as peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s palettes are different.
This year, luckily for once, we had very clear winners in each category!
We had 7 entries in the Speyside category:
Adelphi Glenrothes 1969 42 Years Old
Benromach 2001 Cask Strength entered by Gordon & MacPhail
BerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Glenlivet 1973 38 Years Old
Douglas Laing Old & Rare Glen Grant 1985 25 Years Old
Duncan Taylor Octave Linkwood 1991 20 Years Old
Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 25 Years Old
Wemyss Cragganmore 1989 Lemon Grove
The results are:
Third Ã¢â‚¬â€œ BerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Glenlivet 1973 38 Years Old
Second Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Douglas Laing Old & Rare Glen Grant 1985 25 Years Old
First Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Adelphi Glenrothes 1969 42 Years Old
Antonia Bruce of Adelphi
Rest of Whisky
We had a whopping 10 entries in the Rest of Whisky Category:
Adelphi Caol Ila 1983 28 Years Old
Amrut Fusion entered by Gordon & MacPhail
Berry's Bunnahabhain 1990 21 Years Old
Cadenhead's Royal Brackla 1992 19 Years Old
Carn Mor Bowmore 1996 16 Years Old entered by The SLC
Carn Mor Highland Park 1994 17 Years Old entered by The SLC
Douglas Laing Old & Rare Caol Ila 1980 30 Years Old
Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Cameronbridge 1979 32 Years Old
Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla 1995
Wemyss Bunnahabhain 1991 "Honey Spice"
The results are:
Third Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Douglas Laing Rare Old Caol Ila 1980 30 Years Old
Second Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Wemyss Bunnahabhain 1991 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Honey SpiceÃ¢â‚¬
First Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Cameronbridge 1979 32 Years Old
Mark Watt of Duncan Taylor
Congratulations to Adelphi and Duncan Taylor!!!
Best Under 18's
In previous years we have also given an award to the best whisky under 18 years old. We only had one entry in the Speyside category that met this criteria and unfortunately this was not an independent bottling so did not qualify but was very well received in the under 18Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s as was the Carn Mor Highland Park and Carn Mor Bowmore who share the prize for the under 18Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s in the Rest of Scotland category.
The Owner's Award
After analysing the voting and comparing that to price to obtain a measure of popularity for price The OwnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Award (thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s me) goes to the Octave Linkwood as the best buy in the competition with a Crichton coefficient of 0.57. And a very special mention for the BerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Glenlivet as I am torn between this and the Adelphi Glenrothes for my personal favourites.
Best Tasting Note
As usual an independent panel reviewed the tasting notes to find the best ones. I stress they were independent and I had nothing to do with it. The winning tasting notes were from Teun van Wel and we will be featuring his tasting note in a later post. Well done to Teun who won his favourite whisky which was the BerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Glenlivet. The runner up yet again was Ed Velthuizen. Ed has been either winner or runner up so many times we have decided to appoint him judge for the best tasting note going forward.
A big thank you to all the companies that entered and the hundreds of festival goers who took part. This remains one of the few competitions where all of the judging is done by members of the public!!
The Autumn Speyside Festival
For anyone coming to the Autumn Speyside Festival and wishing to attend our events at The WSD Autumn Festival 2012 then it is more than likely than tickets for our events will only be available from our website. There will be no change for the Spirit of Speyside Festival 2013.
We are launching our programme events for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2011. Below is a list of all the tastings that we are putting on you can book them by clicking here, going to spiritofspeyside.com or booking the individual links below. We have a packed programme with some old friends and some new ones. It's going to be great!
For all our events over 18's only please. Please ensure you have read our terms and conditions . If you want to contact us about this event please email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on +44(0)1340 821 097.
The WSD Indepdent Bottlers challenge (Every day of the festival, 10 am to 5pm in the shop)
Come to The Whisky Shop Dufftown and try whiskies from Speyside and the Rest of Whisky entered by independent bottlers and vote for your favourite.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown has laid down its challenge again to Independent Bottlers - who has the best whisky? We have two categories: Speyside; and the Rest of Whisky. Come along to the shop any time we are open during the festival, try the whiskies in a category for £4 at your leisure and vote for your favourite. It shouldn't take more than an hour. There is also a prize for the best tasting note.
Cafe St James' Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1 Bacon Roll and 4 Nips (Evert day of the festival, 10 am to 12pm in St James' Hall)
Ever wondered what the best single malt is to go with a bacon roll? This is your chance to find out.
One of the highlights of last year's festivals was the bacon rolls, haggis and stovies provided by the crew at the St James' Hall. This festival they will again be serving breakfast rolls during the morning and a light meal from lunch time onwards. And from 10 am to midday each day you can have a bacon roll with 4 nips of different single malt whisky! The only down side is that you will be asked to vote for which whisky goes best with a bacon roll - one of the two unsolved mysteries of the world! Rules apply: unsmoked bacon, no egg, no sauce - this is a professional test!!!
Cafe St James' - Haggis, Neeps & Tatties + 4 nips (Evert day of the festival, 12pm to 2pm in St James' Hall)
Ever wondered what the best single malt is to go with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties? This is your chance to find out.
One of the highlights of last year's festivals was the bacon rolls, haggis and stovies provided by the crew at the St James' Hall. This festival they will again be serving breakfast rolls during the morning and a light meal from lunch time onwards. And from midday to 2pm each day you can have Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with 4 nips of different single malt whisky! The only down side is that you will be asked to vote for which whisky goes best with the Haggis - one of the two unsolved mysteries of the world! Rules apply: no sauce, no beetroot - this is a professional test!!!
This is a chance to taste a selection of whiskies from Tullibardine distillery in the capable hands of one of their brand ambassadors.
Tullibardine Distillery nestles at the foot of the Ochil Hills in Perthshire, where the Highlands of Scotland begin. Its whisky is considered to be "eminently quaffable" and what better way can there be explore their range than in a tasting hosted by one the exciting members of the distillery team.
This whisky tasting features a selection of whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail, independent bottler, with Mike Patterson.
Gordon & MacPhail is an independent family owned and managed firm which has been bottling Single Malt Whiskies for over 116 years. From its humble beginnings as a retailer, Gordon and MacPhail has grown to become a diverse and dynamic company with a number of different business interests. Today the company is a retailer, wholesaler, exporter, bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and distiller, owning Benromach Distillery in Forres.
Today Gordon & MacPhail is one of the most prolific independent bottlers with access to whisky from an incredible number of distilleries that are continually winning awards from across the whisky world. There will be 5 whiskies to taste from across the Gordon & MacPhail range. The tasting will be hosted by whisky expert Mike Patterson.
This whisky tasting will be of a selection of whiskies from independent bottler Adelphi hosted by Antonia Bruce.
Founded in 1826, the Adelphi Distillery is now Scotland's most acclaimed independent bottler of single casks of rare malt whisky. Remaining completely independent, Adelphi is able to offer bottlings from an extensive range of distilleries with Charles Maclean chairing their highly experienced nosing team in the pursuit of excellence.
Adelphi is one of the most highly regarded independent bottlers. Some say they perform some sort of alchemy and that they put the other whisky merchants to shame. All we know is that Antonia Bruce will take you through 5 fabulous whiskies at this always popular tasting.
Find the best independent bottling from the Speyside region in The WSD Challenge.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown has laid down its challenge again to Independent Bottlers - who has the best whisky? We have two categories: Speyside; and the Rest of Whisky.
In this tasting you will be able to try all of the entries from the independent bottlers in the Speyside category. Last year there was more than 8 entries. Some of the brand ambassadors from the companies entering will also be there to present their whiskies and answer your questions.
This is your chance to have a light haggis lunch with 5 whiskies in the company of Mike Lord as he takes a look at this Scottish national dish.
A Haggis is a very old Scottish dish, which combines meats, spices and oatmeal to create a very rich, unusual, but none the less delicious feast. The factual and historic description of Haggis is sometimes off-putting to people who have not tried it. Fortunately, modern techniques in the preparation and presentation of Haggis make it an acceptable delicacy to almost everyone's palate. In fact, it's simply delicious.
In this whisky tasting Mike Lord of The Whisky Shop Dufftown will take a whimsical look at the Haggis while you sample some with the traditional accompaniment of neeps and tatties and 5 whiskies from the current selection available from The WSD's own bottlings.
This whisky tasting is hosted by Steven McConnachie and features whiskies from several of Whyte & MacKay distilleries.
Founded on the docks of Glasgow in 1844, Whyte & Mackay has remained true to itself and its founders' pioneering spirit for over 160 years. In 1960 it bought Dalmore distillery and know also owns Fettercairn, Jura and Tamnavulin.
In this tasting Steven McConnachie of Whyte & MacKay will expertly steer you through a tasting of whisky from a selection of the distilleries from the Whyte & MacKay stable. It's still secret exactly what will be in the tasting as it will depend on the new whiskies that will be available at the time but those that have attended his tastings at previous festivals will know he is likely to bring something new, something rare and quite possibly something not yet released!
The Wemyss Family comes from Fife and have had a long standing passion for malt whisky and their connections with the industry date back to the turn of the 19th century when John Haig (founder of Haig's) built his first distillery on Wemyss land. Their range of hand crafted malts was conceived with the aim of making them more accessible and understandable using the taste and aromas of the individual whiskies to identify each bottling, rather than the distillery.
In this masterclass Susan Colville will take you through the latest whiskies Wemyss has bottled. Susan has worked for some of the most iconic independent whisky companies around. Her work has taken her around the world into many different markets. Her extensive experience and talent always come to the fore in her tastings. But she remains a Rothes' girl at heart.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown has laid down its challenge again to Independent Bottlers - who has the best whisky? We have two categories: Speyside; and the Rest of Whisky.
In this tasting you will be able to try all of the entries from the independent bottlers in the Rest of Whisky category. Last year there was more than 8 entries. Some of the brand ambassadors from the companies entering will also be there to present their whiskies and answer your questions.
In this tasting Martin Grant will take you through a selection of single malts from Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.
Every year during the Festival The Whisky Shop Dufftown showcases distilleries from outside of Speyside. In this tasting we cover two of the most iconic distilleries in the world of whisky, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, in one tasting!
With the tallest stills, the most advanced approach to extra-maturation and a commitment to only ever using their casks twice, you could say Glenmorangie is striving for one thing - perfection. And in the world of Ardbeg, peat is important. For it is this soggy, unassuming matter which gives Ardbeg its famous flavour. Ardbeg is the PEATIEST and SMOKIEST of all the Islay malts, yet has a fruity floral sweetness and complexity to the spirit. Two very contrasting styles and the best of both worlds.
In this masterclass Martin Grant from the Moet Hennessy Group will take you through a selection of whiskies from both distilleries, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. This is a tasting definitely not to be missed.
This whisky tasting is hosted by Mark Davidson of Cadenheads, independent bottler.
The firm of William Cadenhead Ltd, Wine and Spirit Merchants, was founded in 1842 and is Scotland's oldest independent bottler. The company was owned by the same family until taken over by J & A Mitchell & Co.Ltd in 1972, the proprietors of Springbank distillery. The name of Cadenhead is now a household name in the whisky world, and the present owners have expanded the Cadenhead business whilst still keeping the goals and traditional methods the firm began with in 1842.
This tasting will be hosted by the legendary Mark Davidson - the jolly toper himself. Expect fabulous whisky and all the information you can possibly need from Mark.
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. Their Scotch collection ranges from the precious legacy of distilleries and operating sites all over Scotland, to the global icon of Johnnie Walker - the world's number one selling Blended Scotch Whisky.
In this tasting Donald Colville, Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador for Diageo's Malt Whiskies and Global Ambassador for Friends of the Classic Malts, will take a personal look at some of the lesser known expressions of single malts from Diageo. We cannoy say exactly which ones but you will be bragging about what you got to try!
Donald is a long time friend of the festival and The Whisky Shop Dufftown. He is also now a film star. Check out his whisky journey and learn more about the classic malts and how to properly wear a Manbag.
The Whisky Bard Robin Laing is one of Scotland's premier folk singer-song writer and will entertain with whisky
Whisky fanatic, superb song writer, singer and very funny man Robin Laing entertains and there will be 5 whiskies to help the evening's enjoyment. And even better many of his fabulous songs are whisky inspired. A highlight of every festival.
This whisky tasting brings a Japanese whisky experience to Speyside and focuses on SuntoryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s whiskies and is hosted by Tatsuya Minagaw.
Suntory's founder Shinjiro Torii began Japan's first whisky distillery on the outskirts of Kyoto in 1923 in the district of Yamazaki. In 1973 a further distillery was built in Hakushu at the foot of Mt. Kaikomagatake in Japan's Southern Alps. Suntory refined its techniques at these two distilleries to develop a variety of first-rate unblended whiskies, products such as the single malt whiskies Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as Hibiki blended whisky.
From Yamazaki was born the surprising, delicate yet profound experience of a Japanese single malt. with its signature multi-layered taste is highly praised by whisky connoisseurs all over the world. Today, it is the "number-one" single malt whisky in Japan.
This tasting is hosted by Tatsuya Minagawa and will feature whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu & Hibiki. Tatsuya has worked on Speyside for many years and some may know him, his passion and knowledge of whisky from the Craigellachie Hotel and the Highlander Inn. Come and sample some of the best Japanese whisky right here on Speyside.
Whisky Tasting of the pick of the best from independent bottler Douglas Laing with Jan Becker.
Glasgow-based Douglas Laing & Co is an independent bottler and blender headed by brothers, Fred and Stewart Laing, who proved the value of nepotism when they succeeded their father, Fred Douglas who founded the company in 1948.
Those at Douglas Laing regard themselves very much as a company of sensitive souls - artisans, if you like - steadfastly creating a quality selection of the finest Scotch whisky. Their care and devotion has earned themselves an enviable reputation at home and abroad for style and taste.
Jan Beckers is the Malt Ambassador for Douglas Laing and has spent many years in the whisky industry refining his knowledge and skill. He is also an accomplished chef which emphasises his fine palate and wide sensory knowledge that are key to his job. In this tasting he will take you through a selection of Douglas Laing's latest bottlings.
A chance to sample 5 whiskies from Duncan Taylor's latest range with Andrew Shand
Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd is a family owned, luxury Scotch whisky specialist. With origins dating back to 1864 in Glasgow where the company was initially a merchant and broker of Scotch Whisky casks within the industry. The company selects and matures casks from distilleries across the length and breadth of Scotland and currently owns one of the world's largest private collections of vintage Scotch whisky. With a multi-award winning brand portfolio, Duncan Taylor harnesses generations of expertise to deliver the finest whisky without compromise
Devotion to the principle of providing only the finest casks to be filled at Scotland's leading distilleries has been a key feature of the company's history and this tradition of building an outstanding portfolio of the finest scotch whiskies is being maintained to this day by the current owners. In this tasting you will be able to sample from their latest bottlings with the expert guidance of the irrepressible Andrew Shand.
Come along and try some of the whiskies from The Whisky Shop Dufftown's tastings you may have missed and plenty of other whiskies too.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown staff and festival crew will be on hand to help you try a selection of the whiskies from the tastings hosted by The Whisky Shop Dufftown you may have missed or retry some plus other samples and left-over's from the past year. This will help you make a decision on any purchases you may want to make. There may also be a few surprises. This is a great way to finish the festival.
And you get to keep your Glencairn glass
A Final Note
In the past we have offered our events at a cheaper price that the festival website as we passed on the savings of a making a direct booking to you. Unfortunately the festival does not allow this and we are not able to do that anymore. Of course you don't pay a booking fee by booking direct with us.