Blog by Blair Bowman
My introduction to Speyside whiskies began after a couple of friends and myself decided to set up a whisky society while at University, and it was then that I began to discover a lot of different whiskies and develop a taste for the amber nectar. While it wasn’t my first exploration into the world of whisky, it began to open up my eyes to the possibilities and variations of flavours available from around the world. Speyside was a great place for me to start my journey, and since my time at University, it has been my goal to show more people that there is a whisky for everyone and where they can start.
In my new book, The Pocket Guide to Whisky featuring Whisky Tubemap™, I developed the Whisky Tubemap™ to be used as a flavour guide when navigating through different brands from around the world by taste and texture rather than by location. Ultimately, the guide helps to explore similar taste profiles to what your preferences are. Rather than starting off with something you may not like, the map can guide you to something similar in a prefered flavour profile.
I’ve found that through my work over the years that there has been a change in traditional whisky regions, so whiskies coming from a region like Speyside don’t always fall under the same umbrellas as they used to. However, there are a number of Speyside whiskies, and a few along The Malt Whisky Trail®, that can be found on the Whisky Tubemap™ that are good starting points for beginners but likewise offer whisky selections that a more experienced whisky traveller will enjoy.
What I would recommend for anyone traveling along The Malt Whisky Trail® would be to think about the whiskies that you currently enjoy and plan your journey based on your flavour preferences, rather than location. Doing this will give you the opportunity to explore the whiskies you currently enjoy, or some similar and then gradually move you towards something you may not have experienced before. But just as importantly, make sure you take in the surroundings as you travel through the area. Having visited this region of Scotland many times throughout my career I enjoy driving through, taking in the beautiful scenery between one town and the next, and stopping at places like The Mash Tun for lunch and take in the River Spey just outside. There’s always a lovely atmosphere in Speyside to enjoy and I would recommend that anyone who appreciates whisky travel along The Malt Whisky Trail® to experience its incredible character.