Speyside is the region, roughly 20 miles either side of the River Spey stretching from the Moray Firth in the north to around Tomintoul in the south.
It is located between Aberdeen and Inverness Airports.
It is in fact, a sub division of the Highland Region, as far as whisky production is concerned, and has only been recognised as a region in its own right in living memory. Some historic whisky labels from Speyside distilleries still show 'Highland' as a descriptor. Speyside whisky was known for its elegance and soft fruity character, however today many distilleries are experimenting with different styles in addition to their main 'house' style. An example of this would be Benromach Distillery in Forres, which can be visited.
It is a farming region, with rolling hills disected by the fast flowing River Spey and its tributaries. It has quiet country roads, which are perfect for exploring distilleries, small villages and towns, such as Forres, and Elgin which was once known as The Whisky Capital of the World, and contains the famous Gordon & Macphail whisky shop, opened in 1895 and offering over 800 malts. It also has a ruined 13th century cathedral.
There are over forty malt whisky distilleries in Speyside, many of which offer tours to suit every level of whisky enthusiast. I can recommend and book these tours for my guests,
A selection of distilleries which currently offer tours:
Benromach, Glen Grant, Glen Moray, Glenfarclas, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Cardhu, Dallas Dhu ( museum ), Macallan, Strathisla, Aberlour, Ballindalloch, GlenDronach, Knockando, Balvenie (by appointment), Cragganmore.
Other distilleries in the region which currently do not have regular tours, however some can be viewed by appointment.
BenRiach (by appointment), Longmorn, Glen Elgin, Glen Spey, Glenrothes, Speyburn, Coleburn (silent), Glen Keith, Strathmill, Braeval, Allt a Bhainne, Balmenach, Glentauchers, Glenlossie, Milton Duff, Glendullan, Kininvie, Glenallachie, Glenburgie, Tamnavulin, Tomintoul, Tormore, Inchgower, Speyside, Aultmore, Glenglassaugh, Dufftown, Tamdhu, Dailuaine, Craigellachie, Roseisle, Mannochmore, Linkwood, Mortlach, Knockdhu (an Cnoc), Dalmunach, Auchroisk
A selection of distilleries in the Highland region which could be reached with additional time:
Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Clynelish ( Brora) Royal Brackla, Macduff, Glen Ord, Pulteney, Dalwhinnie.