After over 125 years of production, Speyburn Distillery is opening up its doors and showing everyone how award-winning single malt scotch whisky is meant to be made!
Speyburn Founder John Hopkins was adamant his new distillery be located in the tiny village of Rothes, located in the Speyside region of Scotland. Only from there, could he produce his new make spirit using the crystal-clear water coming from the Granty Burn, a tributary of the River Spey.
He then called on Charles Doig, the famed architect of many whisky distilleries at the time, to fashion the distillery with his signature pagoda-like ventilator. Now, for the first time in over 126 years, the doors have been thrown open and Speyburn Distillery are welcoming guests to see this iconic distillery for themselves.
1897 was actually the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her 60th anniversary on the throne. The rumor is that Hopkins was able to toast to the Queen with Speyburn’s first single malt whisky.
Speyburn is now part of the Inver House Distillers collection and the only distillery to have its original drum malting machines!
Getting to Speyburn
To get to Rothes, Scotland, you typically have a few options depending on your starting point:
- By Air: The nearest major airports are either Inverness or Aberdeen. From the airport, you can rent a car, take a taxi, or use public transportation to reach Rothes.
- By Train: There is no direct train station in Rothes. However, you can take a train to Elgin, which is about 10 miles (16 km) away from Rothes. From Elgin, you can continue your journey by bus, taxi, or rental car to reach Rothes.
- By Bus: There are bus services connecting Rothes to nearby towns and cities. You can check the local bus schedules and routes to plan your trip accordingly.
- By Car: If you prefer driving, you can rent a car and navigate to Rothes using GPS or a map. The roads in Scotland are generally well-maintained, and there are various routes to reach Rothes depending on your starting location.
Keep in mind that travel options and routes may change, so it’s always a good idea to check for the latest information and plan your journey accordingly.
Where to stay near Speyburn
Here is a list of hotels near the distillery. I stayed at the Mansion House Hotel which I can highly recommend and is the perfect spot to explore the area as well as Speyburn Distillery.
- The Mansion House Hotel: Charming and historic hotel and located in Elgin. The hotel is often praised for its traditional Scottish hospitality and elegant atmosphere. It is ideally situated for exploring the attractions of Elgin and the surrounding Speyside area
- The Station Hotel: Located in Rothes itself, this hotel is within walking distance to Speyburn Distillery. It offers comfortable rooms and traditional Scottish hospitality.
- The Dowans Hotel: Situated in Aberlour, which is about 4 miles (6.5 km) from Rothes, this hotel provides a charming and cozy stay near the distillery.
- The Craigellachie Hotel: Located in Craigellachie, approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) from Rothes, this historic hotel offers a blend of modern comfort and traditional Scottish architecture.
- The Highlander Inn: Situated in Craigellachie as well, this inn is within easy reach of Speyburn Distillery and offers a warm atmosphere.
Remember to check for updated information on the hotels’ websites!
Visiting the Distillery
The new tour begins at the distillery gates and ends in that cosy tasting room. Although some of them are no longer in use, the original buildings’ features give a lesson in Victorian distilling at its finest, including Speyburn’s old drum maltings room and traditional dunnage warehouses!
It’s one of Speyside’s most picturesque distilleries still in existence and the setting is so lovely – nestled right into beautiful leafy glen on the banks of the Granty Burn.
The Speyburn Whisky range
Of course, during the tour, you enjoy more than one of their award-winning drams to give you a taste of Speyburn! They’ve been making whisky for a long time, so as you would imagine, they know what they’re doing.
Only the best ingredients are used and, although the production process might be steeped in tradition, the process is completely contemporary and overseen by Speyburn Distillery Manager Euan Henderson.
The core range of Speyburn Whisky is a made up of four distinct expressions – each with its idiosyncratic personality!
- Bradan Orach (Gaelic for ‘Golden Salmon): This expression without an age statement is matured in ex-bourbon casks. It is a lighter expression that is perfect for those who are new to Speyside single malt whisky or want a fresher, younger whiskey to mix cocktails.
- 10 Year Old: Also light, but a bit more fruity and with a hint of spice. It’s been matured in a combination of American Oak ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.
- 15 Year Old: Being 5 more years old, comes 5 more years of experience! A more mature expression that is rich and full-bodied with a long, smooth finish due to its long maturation time in both ex-American and ex-Spanish oak casks.
- 18 Year Old: This is the oldest expression Speyburn has in the bottle and it has been matured in American and Spanish oak casks. Think dark chocolate and a hint of smoke.
There are a few other expressions you can find in duty-free and the US, so check out the website for those.
Why Lush Life Loves it!
Speyburn Distillery is just so beguiling. It doesn’t really matter if you’re whisky fans, history buffs, outdoor lovers – the new visitor experience is great fun and the buildings are gorgeous!