Tune in to learn about the revival of Speyside’s famous whisky trail

The world’s only malt whisky trail is launching its own podcast as part of a recent redesign, discovers Sean Murphy

Published 14th Jun 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Widely considered to be Scotland’s most famous whisky producing region, Speyside is home to more than half of the country’s single malt distilleries.

Last year, Scotland’s whisky distilleries attracted a record total of 1.6m visits and the bulk of those occurred within the Speyside region, thanks to the popularity of festivals like the Spirit of Speyside and of course, attractions such as the now famous Malt Whisky Trail.

Founded in the 1950s the tourist route takes in some of Scotland’s most famous distilleries and is made up of nine prime whisky industry locations including the likes of Glenfiddich and Benromach and The Speyside Cooperage, and ranges from global brands to smaller boutique producers.

Picture: Signs lead the way for visitors to Scotland's "Malt Whisky Trail," on a road near Dufftown in the heart of Speyside. Malt whisky distilleries along the trail encourage visitors to see how malt whisky is made and offer tastings. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director, believes that the Trail is an important tourist attraction, which massively benefits the area, she said: “Whisky is one of Scotland’s biggest attractions, with one in five visitors making a trip to a distillery during their stay. It is therefore very important we continue to promote our world famous whisky heritage.

“Set amongst the world’s largest concentration of malt whisky distilleries, the Malt Whisky Trail is a one-of-a-kind attraction and I’m sure this will encourage even more visitors to experience ‘Malt Whisky Country’ and the many other attractions on offer in the Moray Speyside region this summer.”

Last year, the Trail was given a digital upgrade in a bid to make it more appealing to modern tourists, with an aim to provide visitors with “an immersive experience of whisky-making in Scotland”.

As part of the redesign, the tourist route is launching its very own podcast series, which debuts on Friday 16 June, with a first episode dedicated to Father’s Day.

The designers say the new podcast will invite “listeners to uncover the secrets of malt whisky country and get a taste of the very best of Scotland in beautiful Moray Speyside”.

whisky trail

Picture: Malt Whisky Trail Wall at The Glenlivet Distillery, contributed

The audio series aims to introduce listeners to the guardians of centuries of know-how and the craftspeople who make some of the world’s most famous whiskies, as well as some surprise guests along the way including some well-known whisky enthusiasts from across the world.

The first episode includes father and son William and Matthew Patterson from Dufftown who work at Glenfiddich, home to the world’s most-awarded single malt.

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Family tradition runs strong at the distillery which was founded in 1886 by William Grant and is currently run by the fifth generation of his family. The podcast is hosted by Speyside resident Samantha Staniforth, who works for The Malt Whisky Trail, and originally hails from North Carolina.

As Malt Whisky Trail Chairman James Johnston explained: “We hope that this podcast will build even greater interest in Malt Whisky Country and encourage whisky fans from across the world to visit.

whisky trail

Picture: MWT Board members at The Glenlivet Distillery, contributed

“The Malt Whisky Trail is the ultimate Scotch destination and a global ambassador for Scotland’s whisky industry. We wanted whisky lovers from around the globe to be able to join us by tuning into our podcast for a taste of Malt Whisky Country whether you are in Speyside or San Francisco, or whether you are a whisky connoisseur or whisky curious.

“The podcast will unlock the secrets of the region which goes back at least 250 years, introducing you to the guardians of centuries of know-how and the craftspeople who make the Speyside whiskies people love. And what better way to showcase this tradition than by kicking off with our Father’s Day special featuring stillman William Patterson and his son Matthew, a maltman, who both work at Glenfiddich.”

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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