The 20th annual Spirit of Speyside Festival came to an end yesterday, as a record-breaking number of visitors flocked to the region to attend 710 events across six days.
New box office records were set when tickets went on sale for the 2019 festival, with 173 events completely selling out within 24 hours of being released to the public.
Huge numbers of tickets were snapped up by whisky lovers around the globe – Europe and the USA being among the top locations – with many more being bought by customers in the UK.
And with 710 events on offer, whisky fans from all over the world had more opportunities than ever before to sample the region’s finest whiskies.
They also discovered the passion behind them through tours and tastings, live music events, talks and heritage walks, fine dining and food pairings and auctions.
Festival chairman James Campbell was thrilled about how much the annual event has grown and how the public responds in such a positive way every year.
He said: “We’ve had another fantastic festival when new experiences have been enjoyed, friendships have been made, and knowledge and insight into the centuries-old whisky traditions have been shared.
“There has been an exceptional range of opportunities for our visitor to enjoy stories, the great outdoors, and of course food and drink in the magnificent setting Speyside, home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries.”
To mark the closing stretch of the festival, the top drams in the country were crowned at an awards ceremony after rigorous taste-testing took place across the year in countries such as Canada and Norway.
Aultmore 21 was declared the best overall, while there was also victories for Benromach, Glen Grant, Glenlivet and Tamdhu in the different age categories.
A closing ceilidh was held at Glen Moray Distillery on Sunday night, with organisers applauding the varied number of events that took place, as more than 12,000 visitors touched down in Moray for the week.
The diverse offering included theme days and canoeing tours of the region, and were suited to both whisky connoisseurs and first-time tourists.
The 2020 festival will take place from April 29 until May 4. For more information, go to www.spiritofspeyside.com