The leading Scotch producer provides an exclusive opportunity to taste some of rarest and finest Aberlour A’bunadh collection, and celebrates the career of Alan Winchester
Chivas Brothers, the Scotch Whisky business of Pernod Ricard, unveils its line-up of in-person events at this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. The events will take place at its world-famous distilleries across the Scotch heartland of Speyside between 27th April – 2nd May 2022.
The Scotch producer is offering festival-goers the first-ever opportunity to taste a flight of the rarest and finest whiskies from the Aberlour A’bunadh (“Original”) collection. A cult classic among whisky fans, a full collection of all 71 Aberlour A’bunadh expressions released to date was recently brought home to Aberlour after being acquired through whisky broker Mark Littler LTD. The only known and available series (outside of the Chivas Brothers archive) will be selectively and exclusively accessible to whisky fans and Scotch enthusiasts at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival ‘Celebrating 25 Years of A’bunadh’ inaugural tasting session on Thursday 28th April. Inspired by the iconic A’bunadh’s aromatic richness, the evening will include a dining experience in the Fleming Hall, paired with five different expressions of this collectable Speyside single malt.
The full Aberlour A’bunadh collection will then be made available for special tastings at Aberlour distillery until the whisky is gone. This year’s festival also marks Alan Winchester’s swansong, as the Master Distiller of The Glenlivet prepares to embark on a new chapter in his illustrious 45-year career in the Scotch whisky industry. Fans will get a rare opportunity to delve into Alan’s career, listen to his personal highlights and celebrate his invaluable contribution to whisky-making at the ‘An audience with Alan Winchester’ event, held at The Glenlivet Distillery on Friday 29th April at 5:30pm. New whisky discoverers and discerning drinkers alike are invited to explore, taste, and learn about the renowned Speyside region in some of Chivas Brothers’ brand homes.
Through expertly guided tastings and historical experiences hosted by head distillers and ambassadors at The Glenlivet, Aberlour and Strathisla visitor centres, whisky lovers will be fully immersed in Scotland’s water of life and rich culture, while soaking up Speyside’s beautiful scenery. In addition to learning about the craftsmanship behind some of Chivas Brothers’ world-renowned whiskies, visitors will be able to purchase their favourite blends and single malts from the shops at each site, including select and unique batches of Aberlour A’bunadh and the Distillery Reserve Collection – a carefully curated selection of 48 new single cask expressions from Chivas Brothers’ 13 single malt distilleries.
Graeme Cruickshank, Aberlour Master Distiller, commented:“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome fans back to our distilleries for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2022 to celebrate Scotland’s national drink. This year’s festival is extra special for us, as we finally get to share the only known full Aberlour A’bunadh collection for Scotch fans to taste and we raise a toast to the man-of-the-hour, Alan Winchester, and his impressive career.
We look forward to sharing our rich Scotch heritage over the long weekend, and welcoming visitors to our brand homes to explore, taste and learn more about Speyside.”
For event tickets and more information around the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2022 please visit: https://www.spiritofspeyside.com/festivals/whisky
The Glenlivet: https://www.theglenlivet.com/en-UK/buy-now
The full event line-up includes:THURSDAY 28 APRIL 2022
- Celebrating 25 Years of A’bunadh
Time: 7pm – 10pm Location: Charlestown of Aberlour, The Fleming Hall Ticket: £250 Buy tickets hereA must for the A’bunadh fan. Join our Master Distiller, Graeme Cruickshank, in conversation with Chris Brousseau (Archivist), Caris Simpson (Brand Ambassador), and the Visitor Centre team in celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of our iconic Aberlour A’bunadh. The evening, hosted by Caris Simpson, explores A’bunadh from its beginnings. Graeme Cruickshank takes you into the heart of our spirit while Chris Brousseau adds the historical soul. Celebrating the original Sherry cask bottlings created by our founder, James Fleming, every batch of A’bunadh is unique. His ethos of placing exceptional quality above all else is still upheld by those who continue to craft Aberlour’s spirit. The celebration will be held in the Fleming Hall, built in his memory for use by the community he loved. The evening includes a flight of our rarest and finest batches. This first-ever sampling is combined with a dining experience inspired by our iconic A’bunadh’s aromatic richness. Each guest will also take away a bottle of the latest A’bunadh batch available in our Visitor Centre. FRIDAY 29 APRIL 2022
- Under Lock and Key
Time: 10:30am – 1pm Location: The Glenlivet Distillery Ticket: £200 Buy tickets hereJoin our Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, on his swansong at The Glenlivet to discover the truth behind generations of struggles between patrolling excise officers and our distillery team in this wild, rugged landscape. Along the journey you’ll meet some of Alan’s esteemed colleagues, with over 120 years of whisky experience between them, as we see our infamous sma’ still at work and visit both our original Minmore Still House and 1824 distillery site. With “dramming” ceased on several occasions, experience first-hand the bold and inventive ways our whisky was smuggled, pilfered, and syphoned, not only in 1824, but up until the late 1970s. This incredible opportunity includes a tasting of once-in-a-lifetime whiskies and a signed bottle of The Glenlivet 12 Years Old Licensed Dram limited edition to celebrate Alan’s closing hurrah. (Not suitable for non-walkers)
- Sleeping Giants
Time: 2.30pm – 5pm Location: Strathisla Distillery, Visitor Centre Ticket: £250 Buy tickets hereGreat whiskies have hearts of oak. Character-building, flavour-creating wooden casks racked silently in the shadows and stillness of a bonded warehouse. Each one carefully nurturing new spirit for as long as it takes. You really must experience the atmosphere, so for the first hour of this event, Brand Ambassador, Caris Simpson, will accompany you out from Strathisla to Mulben, where Ross and Duncan, from our North Operations team, will reveal fascinating insights about cask selection and the long maturation process. On returning to our Visitor Centre Boardroom, you’ll explore the results of this highly skilled craft. Chivas Regal blending expert, Kevin Balmforth, will guide you through tastings of five aged editions from the Distillery Reserve Collection. Then, moving on to the Chivas Cellar in Warehouse No.3, we’ll offer you a farewell dram drawn straight from the cask, together with Strathisla 25 Years Old, a 50cl bottle, to take away with you.
- An Audience with Alan Winchester
Time: 5.30pm – 7pm Location: The Glenlivet Distillery Ticket: £25 Buy tickets hereAlan Winchester, Master Distiller of The Glenlivet, will soon be leaving us in person, though never in spirit. We’d love you to join us and raise a dram in celebration of his invaluable contribution to whisky-making: mashman, brewer, stillman, distillery manager and master distiller… As we open the big, red book on his 45-years in the industry, providing a unique, never to be repeated experience to delve into his knowledge and stories. So, this is a rare opportunity to hear Alan’s anecdotes, his views on the industry’s past – and future – and ask him those burning questions. Hosted by Director of Blending, Sandy Hyslop, and Alex Robertson, our Head of Heritage, Education and Archives.
- High Spirits
Time: 8pm – 10pm Location: Aberlour, The Fleming Hall Ticket: £50 Buy tickets hereOur exhilarating night ‘flight’ around Speyside is prepped for departure, with Ethan Miln heading the cocktail cockpit team. Day job? Brand Ambassador for Ballantine’s. Highly trained, global outlook, fun to fly with. Your route? The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Glenburgie, Strathisla. Discover each spirit’s true character through crafted bespoke drinks and in-flight insights from our deep-knowledge crew. Cocktail service, music and food – all complimentary. Check-in online – right now. SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2022
- Pioneering Spirit
Time: 1pm – 2pm Location: The Glenlivet Distillery Ticket: Free Get tickets hereWho doesn’t love a dram? Call it uisge beatha, the water of life, whisky…Scotland’s national drink is known worldwide as a very special part of our culture. But what does it have to do with archaeological digs and the National Trust for Scotland? Pioneering Spirit is a unique research project led by The National Trust for Scotland in partnership with The Glenlivet that aims to unearth the real history of whisky. Pairing archive research with archaeological digs at the original distillery site of The Glenlivet and National Trust for Scotland locations, the project is uncovering the illicit stills and forgotten bothies that were used to illegally produce and smuggle Scotch whisky across the Highlands in the early 1800s. Join The Glenlivet’s Brand Ambassador Caris Simpson as she talks with Master Distiller Alan Winchester and The National Trust for Scotland’s Archaeologist about Pioneering Spirit, the impact of illicit whisky distilling on Scottish history and how The Glenlivet’s founder, George Smith, risked life and liberty to produce illicit single malt whisky that came to represent Speyside’s signature style.