The Spirit of Speyside: Distilled arrives in Elgin this weekend, here is everything you need to know.

What is it?

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is a brand new food and drink festival which is being delivered by the organisers of the highly successful Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, a multi-venue event held annually over the May bank holiday weekend which offers over 500 different events across the region.

Though Spirit of Speyside: Distilled will carry its usual focus on whisky it will also include local gin and craft beer, along with a wide range of food producers, showing off the huge extent of Speyside’s larder, all under one roof.

Where is it?

Distilled takes place in Elgin Town Hall – the largest town in the Moray-Speyside region.

When is it?

It will run from September 9th-11th with four different sessions over the weekend: starting on Friday, September 9th with an evening session from 7–11pm.

Followed by two sessions on the Saturday – from 1-5pm and again from 7-11pm – with the final session on the Sunday from 12-4pm.

Highlights 

What makes this festival different is that it is bringing together Speyside’s renowned whisky producers together under one roof for the first time in their home region.

While the region is synonymous with malt whisky and contains the world’s only malt whisky trailDistilled is also a platform for the region’s gin and beer producers.

A couple who hope to set up the region’s first rum distillery will also be in attendance with details of their crowdfunding bid.

Did we mention the food?

Speyside is home to big brands including Walkers Shortbread and Baxters – famed for its delicious range of soups – but there will also be artisan businesses like whisky ice cream vendors, a tablet maker, a coffee and tea merchant, a bakery and much more.

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Picture: Spirit of Speyside Distilled

For a bit of fun organisers also say that If you share a name with a Speyside Distillery – and can prove it – you will get free entry, so anyone called Glen Keith, Glen Murray, Tam Dhu or Ben Riach, will be given a VIP welcome.

What can I do at the sessions?

Visitors will be able to meet Speyside’s drinks industry stars, people passionate about their products, including experienced distillery staff and brewers who will talk through their ranges and offer samples.

Naturally there will be the chance to sample a range of whiskies, gins and beers and learn more about their styles and how to enjoy them best.

A festival shop operated by the Whisky Shop Dufftown will enable people to buy their favourite tipples from over the weekend.

What else?

A choice of limited-availability masterclasses are on offer (an additional charge applies) led by brand ambassadors, master distillers and other drinks experts; exploring some very special drinks and drink pairings, mini mixology sessions and more.

How can I get tickets?

Tickets are priced £20 and while there may be tickets for purchase at the door, subject to availability, to guarantee entry we recommend purchasing in advance online at distilled.scot.

Fancy going with a big group of friends?

There are discounts for group bookings of 10 or more with a reduced ticket price of £18 per person, you can check it out here.

What do you get for your money?

Each ticket which includes vouchers for five 10ml tasting samples of gin or whisky, a voucher for a tasting measure of a beer, a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass plus a lanyard to hold it, and a tasty snack featuring the best of local produce, prepared by event caterers Good Highland Food.

Getting there

Elgin has good rail and bus connections with the rest of Scotland and we’d suggest leaving the car behind is the best option.

Anything else?

As it is an alcohol themed festival, it’s restricted to those aged 18 and over.

Other Speyside regional highlights

There are over 50 whisky distilleries nearby, and many have their own visitor centres. If you want to explore the town of Elgin on foot, Elgin Cathedral and Johnstons Woollen Mill are both within easy walking distance of the town centre of Elgin, and the host venue. For nature lovers, the Moray Firth coastline is stunning and is home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins. For more information on what the region has to offer visit www.morayspeyside.com

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