As the Spirit of Speyside Festival gears up to kick off on the 1st of May, anticipation fills the air for whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. This annual celebration of Scotland's finest whisky region promises a plethora of experiences that showcase the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Speyside distilleries. Among the many highlights of this year's festival our Director Karen Somerville is a returning tasting judge for the Whisky Awards

The judging process takes place in two stages. The first round is a blind nosing and tasting of Speyside's finest malts by selected judges which shortlists two whiskies from each of the four categories.

These then go forward to the second round. These judging sessions allow visitors and local people can cast their vote during the Festival and at many UK and international venues throughout the year.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards are the only whisky awards where the real experts - whisky consumers - have the final vote and they have continued to gain popularity. It adds an extra dash of excitement to the festival build up.

The 2024 Winners are announced at this year's opening dinner at The Macallan where Cirque du Soleil will entertain the guest from the most prestigious location.

Karen's role as a tasting judge for the Speyside Whisky Awards is a testament to her discerning palate and keen appreciation for the art of whisky making. Imagine blind tasting thirty samples of Speyside whisky and having to make a score on each of them, each one a masterpiece in it's own right but like anything some whiskies are better than others!

The essence of the Spirit of Speyside Festival lies in its inclusivity and community spirit. Visitors immerse themselves in a myriad of experiences, over many days, from distillery tours and masterclasses to tastings and exclusive events. The Spirit of Speyside Festival transcends the boundaries of a typical whisky event, offering a holistic celebration of Scotland's whisky heritage, culinary delights, and warm hospitality.

The festival is more than just a gathering of whisky enthusiasts—it's a journey of discovery and friendship, new experiences and the Scottish welcome we are well known for. Angels' Share Glass has supported the Festival since 2014 and it continues to be a highlight on the calendar year on year.

Highlights from the full programme of events planned and almost sold out for this year's festival are;

Stargazing with Murray McDavid: Drams Under the Stars, up in the hills at The Old Bothy

A history of Scotch with Hans Offringa at The Dowans Hotel an immersive and inactive whisky tasting event

Against the Grain at Glen Moray: Beer + Whisky Tasting

These are just a few of the many events and experiences awaiting attendees at the Spirit of Speyside Festival. With its diverse line up of activities celebrating whisky, culture, and community, the festival offers something for everyone to enjoy.