Speyside Malts
Speyside malts certainly fall within a geographic category of being essentially Highland but equally the fact that they fall within what is known as the Spey Valley means that they do arguably form a separate category. It is also true that they do relate to each other in terms of taste and quality, tending towards a maltiness and sweetness that means that they distinguish themselves from the likes of Old Pulteney and Edradour, both which are included in the designation of Highland malts.
Macallan- the grand-daddy of them all, Macallan is probably the best known of all the Speysides. Distinguished by its vatting in sherry casks, Macallan, whatever its age, bears the hallmarks of a rich, round, deeply flavoured malt which makes it a pleasure to savour. The 10-year old is the best known but look out for the 25 when it makes an appearance
Cardhu - something of a contrast to the Macallan, Cardhu is a lighter version of a Speyside but still retains the essential sweetness of the breed. Equally, Cardhu tends to lend itself to a slight smokiness and dryness which makes it a suitable alternative when exploring the area
Glenfarclas - best known of the brands is the Glenfarclas 105 which is effectively an unabashed big, rich sherry like malt with masses of character. The strength of it counsels care in terms of number of nips per session (equivalent to a 60% by volume) but the experience is one to be enjoyed because of the undoubted quality.
Cragganmore - probably the most floral of all the Speysides and essentially lighter in colour, the Cragganmore 12 year old has been growing in reputation and interest over the past few years. A surprisingly complex palate given its colour which suggests lightness in all aspects.
Tamnavulin - an interesting malt! It defies any easy convention of what makes a Speyside by being the clearest (probably) of all Speysides - someone once described it as "like a glass of spring water" - and also by being smokier than you would expect from a malt calling itself a Speyside. From the Livet.
Knockando  - quite a pale malt, Knockandu tends towards a style that is not necessarily "oily" (in the best sense of the word!)but is certainly similar to a licquer rather than a straightforward spirity character. The malt also reflects the floral nature of some Speysides that are to be found close by. Another of those attracting an interested following.
Tomatin - amazingly enough, one of the biggest malt distilleries in Scotland and yet still being discovered by afficianados. This is probably due to most of production going to blending rather than single malts. Tomatin is a softer variety of the breed - it is relatively sweet with a touch of smokiness to it. An interesting malt which opens up the move from smooth sweet varieties to heavier more robust styles
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