A Moray whisky industry veteran raised a glass to his lifetime in malt production this week, as an annual celebration of Scotland’s national drink got under way.
The Spirt of Speyside Whisky Festival launched on Wednesday evening with a tartan themed dinner at Elgin’s Glen Moray Distillery, where local malt stalwart Dennis Malcolm was honoured with a special award.
Mr Malcolm was born at the Glen Grant plant in Rothes in 1946, and began work there as a cooper as a 15-year-old.
He has spent more than 50 years perfecting his craft, and is now the plant’s master distiller.
Yesterday he reflected on receiving the first ever Spirit of Speyside award.
He said: “I was gobsmacked when I was given the award, but I really value it, not because it recognises me personally but because people with a lot of experience and knowledge are choosing to honour Speyside.
“I’ve been in the industry for 54 years, but this isn’t the culmination of my career, I still enjoy what I do enormously.
“This is not a job to me, it’s a way of life.”
Mr Malcolm’s father and grandfather both worked in the whisky industry.
During his career he has managed distilleries across Speyside, ad has run Glen Grant since 2006.
In 2013 Mr Malcolm welcomed Prince Charles to the distillery to officially open a new bottling plant.
Meanwhile, Diageo manager Linda Mellis was named whisky ambassador of the year, and French dram expert Martine Nouet received the international ambassador award.
Festival chairman James Campbell said: “Each award winner has shown incredible commitment to the Speyside whisky industry and to the festival.
“Their enthusiasm for the product is infectious, and the strong and longstanding links they have with Speyside continue to grow and be enhanced.”
Whisky industry employees, experts and enthusiasts gathered to raise a glass to this festival.
The five-day extravaganza will continue until Tuesday, with full details of events available at www.spiritofspeyside.com.