Visitors to Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which returns to Elgin's town hall after a hugely successful inaugural year, will be among the first to sample two new gins and a collaboration between a small craft brewery and one of the world’s best-selling single malts.
Running over Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd September, tickets for the festival have been selling at a brisk pace, the organisers say, and give people access to over 30 exhibitors showcasing spirits, beer and food, along with food and drink venues serving their own special cocktails and Speyside snacks.
The first of the new product launches will be Avva Scottish Gin, who are launching a new limited edition expression, created to celebrate Spirit of Speyside: Distilled.
The locally produced gin, which is also bottled in Elgin, will be available to buy in very small quantities. Distiller Jill Brown, who launched the Avva brand last year, will also be telling the story of her products at one of the festival masterclasses.
Husband and wife team Bob and Silvi Duncan have also chosen the event to launch a new brand of fine artisan spirits. The couple, who are behind Duncan's Spirits, will be giving gin-lovers a chance to taste their first batch of Duncan’s Gin.
The Duncans say they have put the Speyside region at the very heart of their new product, which contains the freshest Highland juniper with five other foraged and handpicked local Scottish botanicals.
The result is a gin which they feel reflects the "very essence and flavours of the Speyside landscape through its freshness and simplicity".
The festival has also been chosen as a platform to showcase a new experimental IPA – an incredible collaboration between the Speyside Craft Brewery and Glenfiddich Distillery.
Glenfiddich IPA Finish is being launched later this autumn, but organisers say that those who go along to the festival will have an exclusive opportunity to taste it before it goes to market.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is a sister event of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which has been running for almost 20 years. Organisers see it as an opportunity to highlight the region’s world-class food and drink producers, in addition to whisky distillers.
Event chairman James Campbell said: “We are honoured that we will have three different product launches taking place over the two days of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled.
"I think this underlines that the producers already see this event as a very important one in terms of the profile it brings, which is very encouraging given that this is only its second year.
“The producers are genuinely interested to learn what Spirit of Speyside: Distilled visitors have to say about their products. Many of them are very passionate and knowledgeable about food and drink, while others simply enjoy it for what it is – either way they are the people who go out and buy these products so it’s important to get feedback from them.
“Tickets have been selling online very quickly in these last few days leading up to the event, but we will be holding some tickets back to sell on the door. We don’t want anyone to miss out on this fantastic opportunity to sample Speyside’s food and drink and to meet the people at the very heart of the industry.”
Sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, the two day event will run over four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on both days.
Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass. Tickets can be booked here.