Speyside Distillery logo with tagline 'The Art of Distilling'.

Speyside Distillery

  • Scotland
  • Recognitions for 46% ABV, Cask Strength, and Age Statement bottlings, Awards for 46% ABV, Cask Strength, and Age Statement bottlings.
  • http://www.speysidedistillers.co.uk/
Phone Number
  • +441479810126
  • Tromie Mills, Kingussie PH21 1NS, United Kingdom

Distillery entrance with whiskey barrels and stone facade.

History of Speyside Distillery


Founding and Early Years

The Speyside Distillery’s history begins with John & Robert Harvey, who started their whisky journey by founding and operating the Yorker (Yoker) and Dundashill distilleries in Glasgow. The Harvey family’s significant contributions to whisky distilling continued, notably with the establishment of Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay in 1881 by John, Robert, and William Harvey. William Harvey managed this distillery until his death in 1936, following a destructive fire in 1934.

The Tradition of SPEY Whisky

An important tradition in the Harvey family began in 1787 when John Harvey, the Chairman of the company, selected the first batch of whisky for exclusive family use, initiating the annual SPEY Chairman’s Choice tradition. This tradition exemplifies the family’s dedication to crafting exceptional whisky.

Royal Connections

In 1815, Lord Byron, to celebrate his marriage to Lady Annabella Milbanke, gifted a cask of scotch whisky, believed to be SPEY Single Malt, to King George III. This event, and the subsequent tracing of the cask to Kew Palace, highlights the distillery’s historic royal connections.

The Harvey’s Codex

1856 was a pivotal year when the Harveys finalized the “Harvey’s Codex”, a secret family recipe outlining the whisky’s malting, distilling, and cask selection processes. This codex has been instrumental in maintaining the quality and uniqueness of SPEY and Harvey’s Scotch whisky.

The Prohibition Era

During the 1920s, in the Prohibition Era in the US, Alec Harvey (9th generation) successfully navigated the challenges by storing and exporting whisky from Seaham Hall in North East England, gaining notable clients like Al Capone and George Remus. This era demonstrated the distillery’s adaptability and resilience in the face of regulatory challenges.

Modern Era and Expansion

The modern era of the Speyside Distillery began with John Harvey McDonough, who relaunched SPEY in Taiwan, making it the No.3 malt brand there. In 2012, McDonough realized his grandfather’s dream by acquiring Speyside Distillery Company Limited, ensuring the legacy and continuous supply of SPEY Whisky.

The Legacy Continues

Today, the Speyside Distillery, with its rich history and traditions, continues to produce exquisite single malts, upholding the standards set by the Harvey family codex. Its range of products, including the famous SPEY Whisky, stands as a testament to the family’s enduring commitment to quality and innovation in whisky making.

Awards Won by Speyside Distillery

SPEY TRUTINA: Awards for various bottlings including the 10-year-old, Cask Strength, and Single Cask.

SPEY TENNE: Recognitions for 46% ABV, Cask Strength, and Age Statement bottlings.

SPEY FUMARE: Awards for 46% ABV, Cask Strength, and Age Statement bottlings.

SPEY CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE: Awards for the Classic 40% ABV.

SPEY ROYAL CHOICE: Recognitions for Classic 46% ABV.

BYRON’S GIN: Awards for Melancholy Thistle and Bird Cherry, both at 43% ABV.

Speyside Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Organised Small-Group Tours with Rabbie’s

For those who prefer a structured approach without the hassle of driving, Rabbie’s Tours offers organised tours from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness. These tours are tailored for small groups and feature visits to at least one distillery in the Speyside region.

  • Tour from Aberdeen: This journey includes a visit to the Speyside Cooperage and Cardhu Distillery, complemented by a scenic walk in the Cambus O’May forest.
  • Tour from Inverness: This route covers the Glen Moray Distillery, Elgin Cathedral, the Gordon and Macphail Whisky Shop, and Cardhu Distillery.
  • Three-Day Tour from Edinburgh: For a more immersive experience, this tour encompasses several distilleries such as Lindores Abbey, Royal Lochnagar, and Dalwhinnie, with accommodation in Grantown-on-Spey.

Experience with Speyside Whisky Experience

For enthusiasts seeking a more personalised tour, the Speyside Whisky Experience offers customised tours led by Derek Hancock, a whisky industry veteran and Keeper of the Quaich. These tours are designed to cater to individual preferences, providing an in-depth exploration of Speyside’s whisky heritage.

  • Tailored Tours: Guided by Derek’s extensive knowledge and experience, these tours are flexible and can be adjusted to suit personal interests and whisky preferences.

Self-Drive Whisky Tour

For adventurers who prefer exploring at their own pace, a self-drive tour is an excellent option. The Speyside region, known for its density of distilleries, allows visitors to explore multiple sites in a single day. Pre-booking is essential to ensure availability.

  • Top Distilleries with Visitor Centres: Some recommended distilleries to include in your itinerary are The Cairn Distillery, Tomintoul Distillery (by appointment), The Glenlivet Distillery, Glenfarclas Distillery, and Ballindalloch Distillery (by appointment). Each offers unique experiences and insights into the whisky-making process.


The Speyside region caters to a range of preferences, from guided group tours to customised experiences and self-driven adventures. This diversity ensures that every whisky enthusiast can find a tour that resonates with their interests, providing a comprehensive and engaging journey into the world of Scotch whisky.

Flask & Barrel Review of Speyside Distillery

As a seasoned whisky collector who’s been on numerous distillery tours, my recent visit to the Speyside Distillery was a delightful experience that I’d rate at 4.7 out of 5.

From the outset, the distillery’s picturesque setting in the Scottish Highlands made a striking impression. Nestled in a serene location, it exudes a charm that’s both rustic and inviting. The tour itself was a blend of tradition and modernity. What stood out was the distillery’s commitment to craftsmanship, evident in the meticulous process of whisky-making they follow.

The staff at Speyside Distillery were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, providing fascinating insights into the distillation process and the history of the distillery. They were friendly and engaging, answering questions with an expertise that added depth to the experience.

Tasting sessions were the highlight of the tour. Each whisky sampled was a testament to Speyside’s skill in creating complex and balanced flavours. As someone who appreciates the finer nuances of whisky, I was particularly impressed by the unique character of each expression, especially the single cask varieties.

However, while the overall experience was exceptional, I believe there’s always room for improvement. The tour could benefit from a more interactive component, perhaps involving visitors more directly in the whisky-making process. Additionally, while the distillery’s remote location contributes to its charm, it does make accessibility a bit of a challenge, particularly for those travelling without a car.

What To Do Nearby Speyside Distillery

Public Art in Tomintoul: Near the village of Tomintoul, you can find the ‘Still’ sculpture by Angus Ritchie, a mirrored artwork that beautifully integrates into the landscape.

Snow Roads Scenic Drive: A 90-mile drive through the Cairngorms, offering stunning scenic views and unique art installations like The Watchers.

Craigellachie Bridge: An historic bridge designed by Thomas Telford, offering picturesque views over the River Spey.

Hike Ben Aigan: A hike offering spectacular views of the Speyside area, with opportunities for mountain biking in the forested areas.

Shopping in Aberlour: Aberlour is perfect for foodies, with shops like the Spey Larder offering local delicacies and whiskies.

Visiting Castles: The region boasts several castles, each offering unique insights into local history and picturesque views.

Stargazing at Glenlivet Dark Sky Park: In the Cairngorms National Park, this area offers some of the darkest skies in Scotland, ideal for stargazing.

Fairy Village in Dufftown: A hidden gem on a hike to the Giant’s Chair, perfect for a family adventure.

Moray Coastal Trail: A long-distance walking trail from Findhorn to Cullen, showcasing coastal landscapes and wildlife.

Food and Drink in Moray Speyside: The region is known for its whisky, historic distilleries, cosy cafes, and unique accommodation options.

Outdoor Activities in Cairngorms National Park: A range of outdoor activities including watersports, horse riding, and hiking amidst stunning natural scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Speyside Distillery?

Cafe Bistro: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. You can book a table at +441540661766, and their address is 57 High St, Kingussie PH21 1HX, United Kingdom.

Cafè Aroma: This cafe is rated 4.6 stars on Google Maps. You can book a table at +441540661020, and their address is 54 High St, Kingussie PH21 1HZ, United Kingdom.

The Cross: This cafe is rated 4.8 stars on Google Maps. You can book a table at +441540661166 and their address is Kingussie, Tweedmill Brae, Ardbroilach Rd, Kingussie PH21 1LB, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Speyside Distillery?

Premier Inn Aviemore hotel: This hotel has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +448715278000. Their address is Grampian Rd, Aviemore PH22 1PX, United Kingdom.

Duke Of Gordon Hotel: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441540661302. Their address is Newtonmore Rd, Kingussie PH21 1HE, United Kingdom.

Balavil Hotel:  It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +441540673220. Their address is Main St, Newtonmore PH20 1DL, United Kingdom.