Speyburn Distillery – Opening its Doors
Early in July, I was delighted to receive an invitation to a press trip to experience the Speyburn Distillery tour and see their new visitor centre. The centre consists of a shop and a large tasting room with a bar.
The distillery in Rothes, close to Aberlour will open its doors permanently from August the 1st for the first time in 126 years. This follows on from its first public tours during the Spirit of Speyside Festival. The distillery was also named the best Event of the 2023 festival.
Traveling up on the 25th of July to Elgin I was met by Rachael Tyrell and Lorna Burt from their PR company Burt Greener Communications. I was then taken to the Mansion House Hotel in Elgin, which is a delightful hotel and I would highly recommend it.
That evening the guests in attendance were:-
Christopher Coates – Whisky Mag
Colin Hampden White – The Three Drinkers
Rosalind Erskine – The Scotsman Food and Drink
Susan Schwartz – A Lush Life
Brian Stormont – P&J/The Courier/The Menu
And I – A Whisky Boy
We were then taken to the Orrin Restaurant together with the Burt Greener team and Lukasz Dynowiak the Brand Outreach Manager at International Beverages and Samantha Peter Digital, PR and Communication at International Beverages. We all enjoyed cocktails and some canapes prior to sitting down for a wonderful meal which culminated in a four-dram tasting of Speyburn Whisky.
The drams that we tasted were:-
The 15 and 18 year old were matured in American and Spanish oak casks. But, my favourite was the 10 year old. I enjoyed the long finish with a toffee sweetness.
After a fine evening at the Orrin Restaurant we returned to our hotel for a couple of nightcaps. (Speyburn of course)
In the morning after breakfast we were then met by Rachael and a minibus to take us to Speyburn Distillery. On arrival we were met by Lukasz, David Robertson the Asst Distillery Manager and Distillery Manager Euan Henderson. At around 10.30 am we commenced the tour, starting with the malting floor and the set of rotating malting drums, all the drums and the associated equipment are now mothballed. The distillery took the opportunity to keep the building watertight so that this was giving visitors a genuine look back at days gone by.
The tour continued with visits to the milling room, mash tun, wash backs (four original Douglas Fir and 15 stainless steel) and into the still room (one large wash and two spirit stills) We ended the tour by visiting the dunnage warehouse. When the warehouse doors opened I once again just loved the aroma emanating from the warehouse – to me, it is definitely “spiritual”.
We then went into the new visitor centre, I was impressed by the detail and the size of the shop and the tasting room. In the shop, all the malts we had tasted the night before were on view and up for sale plus a varied selection of merchandise.
When we finished our charcuterie lunch we were on again tasting some special drams drawn that morning from three sherry butts. We tasted:-
Speyburn distilled in 1990 52.3% Alc/vol
Speyburn distilled in 1989 54.0% Alc/vol
Speyburn distilled in 1978 61.6% Alc/vol
Lukasz who hosted the tasting asked for our thoughts and which dram was our favourite. This for me turned ought to be a very difficult task, it was like picking your favourite child, they were all excellent.