A visit to the Speyside Festival with Chivas

let’s begin

Glenlivet is one of the most renowned brands in the world and this event allowed us to get up close and personal with the distilling process that creates such a fine malt.

Hearing from Master Distiller Alan Winchester, we learnt exactly what it takes to make The Glenlivet as legendary as it is today. From the very water it is made from to the casks it is matured in.

This event was amazingly informative, as you might have guessed. Being able to hear just how to distilling process occurs, as well as the importance of the high quality ingredients really brought the brand to life.

Winchester has been in the business for over 40 years and he shared many anecdotes about his time in the industry. The part that I found most fascinating was the incredible amount of information he had about just how Whisky is made. The detail was astounding.

It was also a wonderful history lesson, with Winchester diving into the background of the brand and how it got to where it is today.

The event wrapped up with a tasting from Maturation Director Brian MacAulay, who selects the casks used for maturing The Glenlivet. Again, this was incredibly informative and allowed us to learn a lot about how the cask influences the spirit.

This was a great learning experience and got into the fine details of just how important getting the cask right is to the final outcome of the Whisky.

It was great to see the double act, the quasi-bromance, and there is something reassuring about all things to do with The Glenlivet when you see Alan almost purring like a lion as he speaks with an undying passion for his product.

Skerryvore Concert

Skerryvore put on an amazing performance that married the old and the new perfectly.

They bring together traditional celtic music with a  rock twist and are phenominal to watch live. The energy was electric.

This is exactly the kind of thing that the Spirit of Speyside festival captures perfectly, with traditional and the new, and Skerryvore are a great example of that.

It was brilliant to be able to watch one of Scotland’s best live bands playing traditional music in the surroundings of The Glenlivet Distillery. The Glenlivet Distillery was an amazing backdrop to the music and brought together two of Scotland’s best exports: music and malt.

They were accompanied by Drums ‘N’ Roses and backed up by Footerin’ Aboot, both of whom added to the brilliant atmosphere. Guessing these guys pick up a lot of wedding gigs… almost wish I had had them at mine…

All three bands are definitely worth going to see if you get the chance, and if you have a glass of The Glenlivet in hand, it can only make the experience better.

The Art of Blending in the Style of Chivas Regal

Any Whisky experience that allows you to blend your own malt is going to be interesting, but being able to do so in the style of Chivas Regal is that bit more exciting and challenging.

This was the chance to learn more about the Chivas and then put that knowledge into practice, with an introduction from brand ambassador Lauren, and blender Calum (a great guy by the way – good to meet him and get to know him at the concert the night before).

I really enjoyed getting to know that brand more, and the blending experience at the end was the perfect way to wrap up an already brilliant day.

The tour took us through the history of the blend and how it has come to be one of the biggest brands around today.

At the end we were given the opportunity to try and create our own blend in the style of Chivas. I went heavy on grain and Strathisla, with a hint of smoke; awesome stuff… I think.

I’m not quite sure if I captured Chivas exactly, but I definitely enjoyed my creation anyway!

Discover Speyside’s Diverse Single Malts

Speyside has the highest concentration of distilleries of any Scottish region, with over 50. This event was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the malts being created all over the region.

It was hosted byIan Buxton and Ian Wisniewski, two names that are renowned in the Whisky industry, and they did not disappoint.

The talk opened up the world of Speyside and uncovered a lot of the hidden differences between each distillery.

It was not only informative about the region, but about the Whisky making process in general, and about all the different things that contribute to flavour.

There was so much detail in what they were saying that it became obvious just how varied and unique every Whisky was. This helped broaden the region, and uncovered just how varied and different the drams could be.

It ended with a tasting of exclusive drams from a wide variety of distilleries incuding Miltonduff, Braeval, Glenburgie, Aberlour, Glentauchers and Strathisla, to name a few.

This gave us the chance to put all our newfound knowledge to the test, and to really get to know and understand what makes each dram different.

This was a really exciting experience, to be able to take the knowledge of experts and use it to learn more about the art of Whisky drinking there and then

It also meant that this knowledge could be applied to future tastings and has meant the experience has a lasting impression.

I will go into some of the learnings from this session in a lot more detail elsewhere on the site…

Tags: Chivas RegalSkerryvoreSpeysideThe GlenlivetThe Glenlivet Distillery


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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