Although the whisky region of Speyside is a part of the Moray council it’s safe to assume that the Speyside is better known to many visitors than Moray, hence the title. Moray lies in the north-east of Scotland, with its coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland (Inverness-shire). The southern area lies in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains, the largest mountain range in the UK, home to unique wildlife, and offering ski facilities in the winter. A big contrast with the northern part of this county where you can find miles and miles of beautiful beaches. Dotted around this beautiful council are (ruins of) castles and dozens of whisky distilleries.
One of Scotland’s longest rivers, the Spey, crosses the county of Moray. The River Spey is probably the most famous salmon river in the World. The Spey has its origin in the Monadhliath mountains to the east of Loch Ness and flows 100 miles northwards to enter the Moray Firth at Spey bay. In its lower course, downstream of Grantown, it is a fast flowing river, providing miles of perfect, and highly sought after, fly fishing water. This clear water has attracted many whisky distilleries and thus created one of the most important whisky regions in Scotland called Speyside. Speyside Single Malts are single malt Scotch whiskies, distilled in Strathspey, the area around the River Spey in Moray and Badenoch and Strathspey, in northeastern Scotland. The two best-selling single malt whiskies in the world, The Glenlivet & Glenfiddich, come from Speyside. Strathspey has the greatest number of distilleries of any of the whisky producing areas of Scotland.
Elgin is the largest town in Moray and administrative capital. This attractive town with its many beautiful buildings is home to a famous shop in South Street where you find Gordon and MacPhail’s shop. Founded in 1895 Gordon and MacPhail’s production of independent bottlings is well known amongst the many whisky enthusiasts. On the edge of Elgin is Glen Moray Distillery with its excellent visitor centre.
In the southern half of Moray is Ballindaloch Castle, also referred to as the Pearl of the North. Ballindalloch is one of the most beautiful and renowned castles in Scotland and located in the heart of Speyside, near to the famed local whisky distilleries of Cragganmore, Glenlivet, Glenfarclas and Glenfiddich. Surrounded by majestic hills, and with the tumbling waters of the Rivers Spey and Avon flowing through the grounds, the setting is truly magnificent. The Macpherson-Grants have resided here since 1546 and they have opened their castle for visitors. The interior is one of the most beautiful I have seen and this castle is well worth a visit.
Malt Whisky Trail
Follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside to seven working distilleries, including a fascinating cooperage and a historic distillery. From Benromach to Dallas Dhu, a perfect time capsule of whisky-making; from Glen Moray to Strathisla, home and heart of Chivas Regal; from the Glen Grant distillery to the Speyside Cooperage where real coopers work with incredible speed and skill; from Glenfiddich to The Glenlivet and the Cardhu distillery, Scotland’s whisky trail signposts lead you through the picturesque lush countryside of Speyside, the world’s favourite malt whisky region.