ABERLOUR Distillery scooped two of the three awards for the Spirit of Speyside 2010 Festival’s best malts.
It topped the “up to 12 years old” and “13-20 years” categories to receive the awards at the opening gala dinner on Thursday, April 29.
And Benromach Distillery, which hosted the dinner, claimed the third award – for the “over 20 years” section.
Votes were cast by guests attending the opening night, who took part in a blind nosing and tasting – making Spirit of Speyside the only major whisky awards determined by the public.
- Up to 12 years old – Aberlour 10 years old; runner-up, Balvenie Doublewood 12 years old.
- 13-20 years – Aberlour 16 years old; runner-up, Mannochmore 18 years old.
- Over 20 years – Benromach Vintage 1968; runner-up, Glenlivet 25 years old.
The six finalists were chosen from a qualifying competition at the Scottish Parliament in January, when more than 50 Speyside malts were tasted blind by a panel of judges from the industry and specialist retail outlets, whisky writers and the Moray MSP and cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead.
This was the 11th
year of the festival, rooted in an area which is at the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky tradition. Almost 250 events were held over five days across Speyside and Moray, including distillery tours, nosings and tastings, countryside walks, art and photographic exhibitions, crafts, train trips, book signings, barbecues and fun days.
According to festival co-ordinator Pamela Looper, Spirit of Speyside isn’t just about distilleries – it’s about communities that have been closely linked to the whisky industry for generations declaring their pride in the success of a globally-recognised product which continues to play a major part in the country’s earnings.
Visitors from all over Europe and other parts of the world gather with local people for a real festival fling which injects many thousands of pounds into the local economy.
Ms Looper said: “It is remarkable how the festival has grown and developed, with whisky companies coming together with other businesses and local communities to provide a unique showcase for this great product produced here, and to treat and entertain thousands of people over five days.”
- A double for Aberlour Distillery as manager Stuart Pirie steps up to receive the first of two awards in the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival’s best malts competitions from festival chairman Jim Royan (top picture). Aberlour won the awards for up to 12 years old and 13-20 years.
- Benromach Vintage 1968 was adjudged to be the best Speyside malt over 20 years old for 2010. Ewen Mackintosh, of the distillery owners Gordon and MacPhail, accepted the Spirit of Speyside category award from festival chairman Jim Royan. Pictures by Bob Bruce / The Northern Scot