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Postby Iain » Wed Nov 13, 2002 12:33 pm

Does anyone know when "Speyside" was introduced as a term denoting a Scotch whisky producing region? I had assumed it was in the 1880s (as a term adopted in place of the old industry classification, "Glenlivets"), but there's a Macallan 1841 bottle advertised on www.macallan.com that clearly describes the whisky as a "malt whisky of Speyside". So I must be mistaken.

If Alfred Barnard is still among us, could someone wake him up and ask him? It's certainly a question for someone with his long (if rather addled) memory.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 13, 2002 1:32 pm

Hi Iain,

It makes sense that the Macallan bottle 1841 stated to be a Speyside whisky.
Perhaps we should have to go further in time, the time that whisky was officialy legalized in 1823, and The Macallan, The Glenlivet, Aberlour etc. got the offical permit to start distilling on a legal basis in 1824. I think that 1824 is a date where the official term Speyside must have begun? Or maybe it was the 1840's, because in that time some more distilleries where build in that area, and the railroad of the Great North got extended more East bound. After the second wave, you got the third wave of distilleries and the final wave at the 1880's and that's where the popularity for the Speyside had begun, until the 1900's when it all ended...

Perhaps The Speyside got it's offical name between 1824 and the 1840's. Yes, where's Alfred Banard when you need him the most???


Alfred Barnard
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Postby Alfred Barnard » Sat Nov 16, 2002 12:04 am

Dear Ian, HuUrman, Reader and Gentlemen,

I don't believe you need me to answer your vain questions, and if you did I'm sure my factual keepsake would be removed from this place by the forces of darkness (or am I going senile?).

However - for anyone who has the ability to read (limited - it seems in this day and age - from which I tire so greatly) I suggest you simply count the number of times I describe, in my seminal publication (if I may call it thus) whiskies from what might generally be called the Morayshire district, as 'Speyside'. Now, as the 'Voice of the Trade' I may, as they say in your day 'know nothing' - so - you know-it-alls - go and look at journals such as my beloved Harpers, or the other multiplicity of Trade newspapers of the time for which I and other pens-for-hire-hacks of the time wrote, and simply see how many times writers, the press, or the Trade for that matter, used the phrase 'Speyside' in the years up to around 1890 or 1900 (years of my late refound youth!).

Tell me the answer - oh complacent and ill-informed ones!

Then your friend (and mine) Ian can be at rest ...


Alfred Barnard (now in rehabilitation)

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Postby lexkraai » Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:06 pm

Good to see you back, old man! When are you going to tell us more about your upcoming book? Surely you'd want us all to buy a copy?

Slainte, Lex

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Postby Iain » Mon Nov 18, 2002 4:15 pm

Wheesht. Patience, Lex. Don't confuse the old codger with your whippersnapper questioning. I was first!

But I notice he answers my question about Speyside with questions of his own, the cunning old devil. Do you imply, my venerable and crusty friend, that there were no Speyside whiskies in the 1840s? I did find a reference to Speyside in your seminal publication, but fell fast asleep before I could find another.

It is indeed the very epitome of somnumbalent style!

Alfred Barnard
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Postby Alfred Barnard » Sun Nov 24, 2002 11:35 pm


Understand that at my advanced age years fly by like days, and days like years, so sometimes it is so difficult for me to keep apace with you digressions and diversions.

Yet I find it sad that so many of you choose to dwell on (dare I say it) trivialities such as 'what did I drink last night', ‘how big is mine’, or ‘where can I get it cheaper’. Alas and alack, not what I’d hoped for when I began the pioneering spirit of whisky journalism so many years ago.

Even more so when young Iain (for I presume he is such) has raised such a tendentious issue that seems to be lost on so many of your virtual correspondents. As ever – I have no answers – but merely a plea for all of you to think about the question that this young man has asked and take it seriously.

And yes – for what its worth, I acknowledged in my first whisky book (but Lex, by no means my best, as the world will soon learn) that the Macallan was, in its configurations similar to other ‘Spey-side Distilleries’, for it is loosely, beside the Spey. But its malt, when I wrote, was Highland Malt, known in the trade and by (as I believe you all call them today) ‘consumers’ as such – for unless I am mistaken, the designation ‘Speyside’ derives from a much later time.

But then, you can find this all out for yourselves, if only you have the sense to be interested!

Now – its late, I’m tired, slightly irascible (I apologise for my irritation above) and working on printer’s wet-proofs for the great tome.

I must away!

Alfred Barnard (Booker Prize winner 2003, tbc)

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Duty Free Stores??

Postby tdmcgurk » Mon Nov 25, 2002 11:21 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm relatively new to the world of single malts, and consider myself lucky to have found this forum and its parent site. There's quite a lot of information here, and it's been very helpful to me.

Like most of you, I'm interested in growing my collection of fine scotches and in stocking up on my favorites. Of course, one way to do this relatively cheaply is through the duty-free channel.

I've managed to check out duty free stores in Ontario, Canada and St. Thomas, USVI over the past few weeks, and have been pretty disappointed with the selection. Typically I'll see a lot of Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and The Macallan along with a smattering of lesser-known malts. Not bad, of course, but I was hoping to see a selection of malts more like that of my local bottle shop. (I was extremely happy with the prices, though - they averaged more than 40% less than what I'm used to paying here in the U.S.)

The experience got me thinking (and that's always a dangerous thing) - where might I visit where the selection would be very good, and the prices would be as low as I've come to expect from duty free shops?

Here's my situation: I'm located in Atlanta, GA, which allows me to get almost anywhere in the world fairly easily. I have FF and hotel points out the wazoo, so I can usually manage an almost completely free trip. I'm envisioning a long weekend in Europe somewhere, with some local sightseeing, followed by a LARGE purchase at duty free before flying back.

So, I put it to the esteemed members of this group - are there duty free shops in this world that carry large selections of rare (or even semi-rare) malts, are located in countries that I can get to relatively easily, AND that allow me to bring back more than 1 or 2 bottles?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I apologize for the length of this post, but look forward to any advice it can generate.

Best Regards,

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Postby Gate » Tue Nov 26, 2002 1:26 pm

World of Whiskies at London Heathrow or Gatwick certainly has some very interesting malts, and as far as I can tell, they don't see it as any of their business how many bottles you want to take with you (a matter for the customs folks of wherever you're taking them to?). There was also an article in Whisky Magazine a while back about the best duty-frees for buying whisky.

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