More international visitors than ever before have descended on Speyside for a whisky extravaganza dedicated to toasting Scotland’s national drink.
Thousands of overseas visitors attended the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival over the last five days to taste the finest drams from the area.
Yesterday, organisers revealed this year’s event was the “best yet” for tourists attending from abroad.
The programme for the 19th running of the festival was the largest organised, with 575 events across the area – attracting strong demand from the US, Germany, Africa and Asia.
Chairman James Campbell said: “It’s been a truly magnificent five days. We’ve been joined by people from more countries than ever, as well as local people, who have been able to enjoy our biggest programme of events – and amid glorious sunshine too.”
Now the winners of the annual awards, which are decided by members of the public who attend tasting sessions, have been revealed.
Elgin-based Glen Moray claimed two awards with its 18-year-old winning in the 13 to 20-year-old section and its Classic Chardonnay topping the non-age section.
The 25-year-old Cragganmore special release was named as the overall favourite whisky.
Glenfiddich’s 21-year-old reserva (CORR) rum cask finish triumphed in the over 21 category while the 12-year-old from Keith-based Stathisla Distillery won the 12 and under class.
The prize for the best new event went to the Off the Beaten Track Tour, which visited four distilleries, Dalmunach, Tormore, Braeval and Allt a Bhainne, which are not normally open to the public, followed by by a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired lunch with whisky tastings.
Mr Campbell added: “One of the key events of the festival is the awards and we congratulate all our winners.
“From a fantastic range of new events, the Off the Beaten Track tour encompassed landscape, whisky and food, three qualities for which Speyside is famed the world over, making it a worthy winner of best new event.
“We’re delighted to have been able to offer so many different experiences to so many people, all enjoyed over a dram and in convivial company.”
Organisers have now turned their attention to the Distilled event, which will gather whisky, gin, beer and food producers at Elgin Town Hall on August 31 and September 1.