Spirit of Speyside 2024 whisky award winners - including Glenfiddich and Aberlour

This year's winners of the Spirit of Speyside whisky awards were announced at the festival's opening dinner.

Published 3rd May 2024
Updated 7 th May 2024

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Speyside’s best malts were decided by vote from judges locally and worldwide, as part of the Spirit of Speyside festival.

Aberlour A’Bunadh took home the prize for overall favourite. Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23-year-old was awarded Gold in the 18-year and over category and Speyburn received a Gold award for its 15-year-old. Glenlivet also picked up gold for their 10-year-old.

Spirit of Speyside whisky awards
Non-age statement winners

Notable personal awards went to four significant advocates of the whisky industry, between them notching up nearly 150 years of dedication.

The Spirit of Speyside Ambassador Award went to William “Buzz” Hutcheson, a festival volunteer after retiring from Cardhu Distillery.

International Ambassador recipient was Callum Fraser from Glenfarclas. Unsung Hero award went to Russell Anderson, retiring from The Macallan after 37 years in the whisky industry.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Derek Johnston, who also retires from Forsyths, the global specialists of distillation equipment.

These awards come during the 25th Spirit of Speyside Festival, which is the biggest yet, with just over 700 events taking place over 1-6 May.

The big news this year has been the record-breaking sales and by a long way already, exceeding £425k for the first time with four days still to go, up more than £75k on last year.

More than 7,500 tickets have been bought for an array of events including distillery tours, whisky train rides, cask building and ceilidhs.

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The reach of the festival has been far and wide, attracting people from 39 different countries with major sales coming from Germany, the US, Netherlands and Canada, providing a huge boost to the local economy.

Chairman George McNeil said, “This has been a truly momentous year for the Festival in all manner of ways.  Not just celebrating the 25th anniversary but also the increase in visitors and ticket sales. 

"There is a real buzz of excitement this year, unlike anything we have experienced before.  Partners like Event Scotland, and some of the big distilleries have been with us since the start, and that helped us put the Festival on a global stage. 

"It’s always been about showcasing Speyside, but we’ve achieved that and much more in 2024 and we now look forward to all the hard work paying off for every business that’s taken part, with a brilliant week of events.”

As McNeil steps down as Chair later this year after a three-year tenure, Vice-Chair Sarah Burgess will be waiting in the wings to take over the mantel and will continue to build on what has been achieved in the last 25 years. 

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The full list of 2024 Spirit of Speyside whisky award winners (and where you can buy them)

12 YO and Under
Gold Award - The Glenlivet 10 YO (£70 from Glenlivet; buy it here.)
Silver Award - Benriach The Smoky 12 YO (£41.80 from Master of Malt. Buy it here.)

13 to 17 YO
Gold Award - Speyburn 15 YO (£68.50 from the Whisky Exchange. Buy it here.)
Silver Award - Balvenie 14 YO Caribbean Cask (£59.95 from Master of Malt. Buy it here)

18 YO and Over
Gold Award - Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 YO (£260 from The Whisky Exchange. Buy it here.)
Silver Award - Balvenie 21 YO (£225 from Master of Malt. Buy it here.)

Non-Aged Statement
Gold Award - Aberlour A'Bunadh (£79.99 from Master of Malt. Buy it here.)
Silver Award - Cragganmore The Distillers Edition (£72.95 from Royal Mile Whiskies. Buy it here)

Overall Favourite
Aberlour A'Bunadh

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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