Speyside Distillery Co, Scotland
The Speyside distillery is one of Scotland’s newest and smallest. Their first whisky was released in 2001 and the annual production capacity is approximately 600,000 litres. The distillery is located on one of the River Spey’s main tributaries, the River Tromie, close to the village of Drumguish. Speyside release three whiskies in their core range – the Speyside 12 years old and Drumguish which has no age attached to it (but is roughly five years old), as single malts and a vatted malt called Glentromie. Their whisky is also used in Cu Dhub (prononced coo doo), which is currently the only black whisky on the market. The biggest markets for Speyside and Drumguish are America and the Far East, where 160,000 bottles are sold each year. The UK accounts for only 15% of their sales. The Speyside distilling company also blends and bottles the ‘Kings Crest’ range of blended whisky and release a range of independent bottlings of rare malts from around Scotland in the ‘Scott’s Selection’ series.
The idea for the Speyside distillery began in 1956 when George Christie, a former submarine captain in The Royal Navy, bought some land near to the small village of Drumguish. This land contained some derelict mill buildings and was opposite the site of the original village distillery, that had been named Drumguish. The mill had been built in the early 1700s and had operated until 1949 and the former distillery had only produced whisky between 1895 and 1911. The mill was renovated and now houses the offices for the Speyside distilling company, while the distillery buildings were hand built by a local craftsman named Alexander Fairlie using only traditional methods. It took almost 30 years for Christie’s dream to become reality and the first spirit was produced in 1991. The company was sold in 2000 to a group of private investors which included George Christie’s son Ricky. Their first whisky to be released was a very young version of Drumguish in 1994, followed by the Speyside 10 years old in 2001.