Speyside was not the first distillery of that name, nor was it quite the furthest south in the region at one time. The small and perfectly formed Highland town of
|Site of the first Speyside distillery in Kingussie, converted distillery offices on right|
The site of some of the bonded warehouses was later turned into a curling pond and is now a car park for the Duke of Gordon Hotel. The hotel was originally the Duke of Gordon Coaching Inn built in 1836 and it was replaced by a hotel of the same name in 1906, around the time that the distillery beside it fell silent. The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in 1996 and largely rebuilt in 1998, still named after the landowner who founded Kingussie village in 1799.
|Speyside distillery in Kingussie and Duke of Gordon hotel|
From Kingussie the road to Drumguish takes you round past Ruthven Barracks. These were built in a commanding position on a mound beside the Spey in the centre of the
|Tromie Mill at Speyside Distillery|
Speyside distillery was founded by George Christie who had long had a dream of owning his own distillery. He had previously owned the North of Scotland distillery at Cambus from 1957 and originally intended to produce malt whisky there. Changing economics led to a decision to produce grain whisky on patent stills instead, grain whisky being in short supply and with prices rising at that time, and his main business was then bottling blended whisky. The Speyside name was already then being used as one of his brands and he also experimented with different types of wood in the early 1960s, including
and rum casks and port pipes.
|Speyside distillery mash tun|
The two stills stand alongside the washbacks - a 13,000 litre wash still taking a 10,000 litre charge for a 5 1/2 hour distillation, and a spirit still taking a 7,500 litre charge for a 6 hour total run. There are internally placed shell and tube condensers with a slightly descending lyne arm from the wash still and a near horizontal one from the spirit.
|Speyside distillery stills|
|Lagganmore, Speyside's alter ego|
|Speyside distillery crest and motto|
Barley used in bread or broth is nothing less than the misappropriation of whisky!
My thanks to Andrew for welcoming me at the distillery, showing me around and introducing me to a whisky I didn’t know too well before. While there I sadly learned that George Christie had passed away in May 2011 having seen his long dreamt of venture working for 20 years. Enjoy your ‘share’, George, it was a pleasure to stop for a few moments in the idyllic setting where craft and patience made your dream come true.