Speyside; an area of attractively restful countryside within the vast Scottish Highlands, encompassing the settlements surrounding the river Spey and spanning from the Southern extremities of the Cairngorm Mountain range to the coast of the Moray Firth. Today, the beautifully verdant region of Speyside is most synonymous with the production of whisky than its geographical location.
And rightly so. The first legal distillery in Speyside was recorded in 1824, when George Smith established The Glenlivet distillery, just after it became a legal and organised industry in 1823. At this time illicit distilling remained rife in Speyside as it had been since as early as the eighteenth century.
Historical records and stories passed through generations recite the tales of how illicit distilling and whisky wars permeated this rural idyll. They recount how distilling has been at the heart of Speyside’s community for hundreds of years, and praise the ingenuity of the locals who turned their hands to this craft. Whisky-making is as much within the essence of Speyside today as it was all these years ago, from the farmers who grow the malting barley, to the distillers, the coopers and of course the tour-guides and ambassadors who bring the whisky to life through story-telling around the world.
It is therefore unsurprising that in 1887 when local man William Grant decided to build his own distillery in Dufftown, that the local community was instilled in the heart of the company and is still intrinsically woven through the fabric of their operations today. William Grant is fondly remembered as a pillar of the local community over 130 years ago, who always looked out for his craftsmen and community, often through tough times.
From Struan Grant Ralph, Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassador,
"The local community has been at the heart of Glenfiddich since 1887 when William Grant opened our distillery in Dufftown. We hope the release of the Spirit of Speyside Distillery Edition 2020 is a fitting tribute to William Grant and his legacy in the Speyside community."
SPIRIT OF SPEYSIDE
First launched in 1999, the Spirit of Speyside Festival's annual celebration of Scotland's national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind anywhere in the world. The much-anticipated event within the annual whisky-calendar usually features over 700 whisky-inspired events, with the major distillers and community groups in the region getting involved.
As a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic the annual Spirit of Speyside Festival, which attracts whisky enthusiasts from all over the world, has been cancelled in its 21st year. A significant loss not only for the Speyside region's hospitality industry but also for the wider community, that would usually come together during the festival to celebrate and take pride in their world class whisky producers.
LOCAL SPEYSIDE CHARITIES
Galvanised by the effects that COVID-19 and subsequent cancellation of the Spirit of Speyside Festival has had on their local community, Glenfiddich has decided to auction their annual festival bottling, that would typically have been sold during the festival at the distillery. The special auction will pay homage to the much loved and sadly missed whisky festival and will also act as a tribute to the craftsmen and women of Glenfiddich that produced the bottling under such difficult circumstances.
In addition, Glenfiddich have made the decision that 100% of the sale revenues from the online auction of their Spirit of Speyside 2020 Distillery Edition will go directly to the community which surrounds the Dufftown distillery. Specifically, they have selected three charities, each of whose work makes a significant impact within the Speyside region and that are greatly in need of support during these challenging times:
NHS Grampian is responsible for providing health and social care services to a population of over 500,000 people living in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray which encompasses the local Speyside community. During these incredibly challenging times, the team at Glenfiddich have selected their local NHS service charity, as they would like to express their gratitude and show their support for the frontline workers who have been vital in tackling the pandemic and working tirelessly to care for patients within their local community.
Find out more here: http://www.nhsgrampian.org
Keirans Legacy is a local charity and one that’s close to Glenfiddich’s heart. It is a charity set up in legacy of young Keiran McKandie which challenges organisations, enhances knowledge, provides education and facilitates hands-on training on how to save a life in an emergency life-threatening situation, especially enabling the provision of automated external defibrillators. So far they have put 16 defibrillators into local Police Fast Response Vehicles, 57 defibrillators into schools and communities,and provided 1400 Basic Life Support and Defibrillator Training sessions in the community.
Find out more here: http://www.keiranslegacy.co.uk
Moray Food Plus
Moray Food Plus are a local Speyside charity that deliver a variety of essential services to those experiencing or at risk of food insecurity. These services are particularly in demand and especially important during these difficult times within the Speyside community.
Find out more here: https://morayfoodplus.org.uk
For those not local to Speyside, please consider this expressive comment by Beatrice Bowers of Lifestyle Asia;
"For those of us living abroad wondering why altruism towards Speyside matters when strife is rampant on home turf — Speyside is not just a place, it is the locus of Scotch whisky, and any assistance in that direction will help preserve an industry we cherish"
HOW TO TAKE PART?
The online auction of Glenfiddich's 2007 Spirit of Speyside Distillery Edition will start on 17th June 2020, at www.whiskyauctioneer.com and conclude from 7PM on 22nd June 2020.
100% of the sale revenues from the online auction, will go to the above three fantastic causes within the local Speyside community which have been hard-hit by COVID-19 and are in increasing need of support to continue their vital services. This auction will also be the only chance to get your hands on this exceptionally rare and special Glenfiddich release.
Find out more about the Glenfiddich 2007 Spirit of Speyside 2020 Distillery Edition: READ MORE.
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