Speyside is the biggest whisky region in Scotland, with almost half of the country’s distilleries lying in the small area on the banks of the River Spey within the Highlands. It allows for a lot of variety and many Speyside distilleries have some very unique bottlings on offer. Normally unique means expensive, but for something different that isn’t going to break the bank, we have a few suggestions…
The Whisky Galore 7-year-old has been released by Duncan Taylor to coincide with the remake of the Whisky Galore movie, released earlier in 2016. The movie is a depiction of the sinking of the S.S. Politician off the West coast of Scotland in 1941, which presented locals with bountiful amounts of whisky for them to smuggle ashore. Whisky Galore from Duncan Taylor is a celebration of what a good young whisky can and should be.
In colour it is light and golden, a clear indication of bourbon cask maturation. On the nose it is fresh and fruity, with slight hints of citrus and a subtle chocolate note. On the palate it’s smooth with a creamy mouth feel. There are lots of fruits and the citrus notes do come through, especially in the finish. If you want to see what young whisky is all about, Whisky Galore is the choice for you.
Tomintoul is a relatively new distillery built in 1964, they have a large range and are best known for their ‘gentle-dram’. The Peaty Tang is made with peated malt barley, making it not just different from the usual Tomintoul but different from what one can usually expect from a Speyside in general.
Tomintoul Peaty Tang is very light in its colour. The nose is very full, almost a wood smoke note with a dark peat and a subtle sweetness coming from the barley. The palate is incredibly rich with toasted oak and hints of pepper and smoke, a note of ash builds in the finish. This light bodied, peated dram is perfect for those wanting a smoky whisky without going for a full blown Islay whisky.
Glen Moray has been located on the banks of the River Lossie off the River Spey, in the heart of Elgin, since 1897. The area around Elgin is known as the Laich (meaning low-lying land) of Moray, so Glen Moray has sourced its name from the historic capital of Speyside itself. The distillery is known for using ex bourbon barrels from North America to produce a light whisky with rich characteristics. However, the Glen Moray Port Cask Finish offers something a little different.
Its light golden colour gives way to notes of toasted vanilla and subtle oak, followed by rich blackberries and smooth dark chocolate. On the taste an initial spice hits the tongue followed by a wonderful citrus tang. A rich caramel sweetness appears with a hint of cinnamon. The finish is smooth with honey and dark chocolate notes lingering. If you’re after a light whisky with a whole load of flavour, pick yourself a bottle of the Port Cask Finish.
BenRiach is located in the ‘Heart of Speyside’ and has been drawing its water from the Burnside springs located beneath the distillery since 1898. They have an incredibly extensive range, with over 20 bottlings currently available. One of their speciality finished whiskies is the Sherry Wood Matured 12 Year Old, finished in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks.
The colour is deep gold, with almost a bronze hue. The nose is full of rich spices and sultanas with notes of mocha and dark chocolate escaping as well. The combination of sherry casks gives balance to flavours of dark chocolate, perfectly combined with dried fruits, figs, soft vanilla and plenty of rich spiciness. For those that like a full blown spice hit, this sherry finished whisky is definitely one to go for.