A small, hand-built, artisan distillery nestled amongst the foothills of the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains, still hand distilling in time-honoured traditions and widely acknowledged to be amongst the prettiest of all Scotland’s distilleries
Originally a barley mill and croft dating back to the 1700's, it closed in 1965 and over the next 25 years it was slowly and lovingly converted into a single malt distillery, which then started producing spirit in 1990.
The distillery draws it’s water from the Spey River tributary -The River Tromie still using the old mill lade, which originally ran the waterwheel that powered the old mill.
The distillery itself was hand-built by a stone mason Alex Fairlie and the full production is housed under one roof.
The distillery is also known as ‘Lagganmore’ from BBC TV’s Monarch of the Glen series.
Harvey’s of Edinburgh and SPEY whisky have a long and unique history stretching back to 1770, throughout the prohibition era all the way to the present day.
In 1770, John & Robert Harvey began their Whisky journey by firstly founding Yorker distillery then subsequently Dundashill and Bruichladdich distilleries.
Lord Byron, in celebration of his wedding in 1815 sent gifts to his wedding guests including King George III, a cask of scotch whisky thought to be SPEY Single Malt.
1700's - The barley mill and croft at Tromie Mills near Kingussie in the Cairngorms is founded. (Old Milton Estate)
1770 - John & Robert Harvey start their whisky journey - founding and operating the Yorker (Yoker) and Dundashill distilleries in Glasgow.
1856 - Harvey's Codex It was in 1856 that Harvey’s finalised the “Harvey’s codex” – which was designed as a family only known recipe for exactly how the whisky was malted and distilled, how the Highland water was chosen as well as the critical wood / casks selection to be used for the maturing of SPEY and also the Harvey’s brand of Scotch whisky.
1881 - Then in 1881 future generations of the family established Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay (John, Robert and William Harvey) which was run by William Harvey until a fire in 1934 and his death in 1936.
1895-1905 - The original Speyside Distillery was established in Kingussie. It ceased production in 1905.
1911 - The Original distillery pictured above was demolished.
1900-1930 - In difficult years the Harvey family distilleries are sold on. Alex Harvey and members of the family remain in the industry in various capacities, including as traders and exporters with their focus on the Harvey’s Codex standards of distilling, production, branding and bottling Scotch Whisky.
1955 - George Christie founded the 'Speyside Distillery & Bonding Company'
1956 - George Christie purchases the Old Milton Estate in Glen Tromie only 3 Miles from Kingussie. Interested in the Tromie Mills which dated back to the 1700's.
1957 - Restoration of the Tromie Mill commences. The Mill and Water Wheel are retained. Restoration work continues for 25 years. This same year George Christie also founded Strathmore Distillery (North of Scotland Grain Distillery) at Cambus, Alloa.
1990 - On the 12th December 1990 the first spirit runs from the still. Using two stills from the former Lochside Distillery (Montrose), initially they were too big to fit in the building that was to be the still house, former distillery manager Andy Shand explains
"we had to lop a foot off the top and re-weld them in order to make them fit"
Since the short stills tend to create a heavy spirit due to a shorter conversion between alcohol vapour and the properties of copper, the distillery manager would have to have a delicate touch to create a light spirit.
Fermentation lasted 60 hours to build up esters and the distillation was slow to build a characterful spirit.
1991 - 20th September 1991 The Speyside Distillery is formally opened.
1993 - The first Single Malt 'Drumguish' is released
Tastings notes from Master of Malt (Link)
Nose: Walnuts, honey, barley. Pepper. Smoke, herbal, leather, cigar boxes, a little fudge.
Palate: Rich, soft, fudge, touch of rum.
Finish: Cereals, toasted oak, vanilla spice, caramel.
2013 - The Distillery was purchased by Harvey's of Edinburgh with the aid of Taiwanese backing. The Speyside name on the bottles are replaced with 'Spey'
Built in a style to reflect that of Speyside Distillery itself - old wooden beams, stone walls and a hand-crafted bar made from our whisky barrel staves - you are welcomed into a cosy environment.
2021 - NEW for 2021 The SNUG now includes a SPEY heritage corner and NEW art collection from Joanna McDonough
The Speyside Distillery currently offer around 18 single malt whiskies (Changes with releases & availability) that are divided over three product series: 6 Spey Core Single Malts, 11 Spey Limited Editions, Beinn Dubh, as well as 200ml editions of some of their releases and gin.
BOTTLE GALLERY OF SOME THE SPEY LINEUP