Europe’s biggest Harley-Davidson rally toasts drams created by Speyside Distillery in honour of its 20th anniversary year
Picture: Beinn Dubh’s fallen angel Klaudia Zrobek joins bikers from Thunder In The Glens during a ride out to Speyside Distillery.
It may be Scotland’s secret distillery – but its hidden location off the beaten track didn’t stop dozens of leather-clad bikers from discovering drams produced in their honour today (August 28).
Harley-Davidson enthusiasts who gathered in the Highlands for the annual Thunder in the Glens motorbike rally this weekend descended on Speyside Distillery to be presented with commemorative bottlings produced to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.
The quiet countryside roads around the distillery – located in the shadow of the Cairngorm mountain range – echoed to the sounds of roaring engines as a group of riders staged a ride out from their base in Aviemore.
Speyside Distillery is the home of Beinn Dubh – an unusual ruby-black coloured whisky – which was launched at Thunder in the Glens last year. It won rave reviews from thousands of bikers at the event, which is the biggest Harley-Davidson rally in Europe.
Two limited edition releases have been created for the anniversary. The first is a rare 20 year-old single malt from the archives of Speyside Distillery and just 200 bottles have been produced. In addition, the distillery has produced a second 20th anniversary single malt with commemorative label which is available in greater quantities
One of the commemorative bottles of Beinn Dubh has been sent across the Atlantic to Milwaukee in the United States – the home of the Harley-Davidson and the patriarch of the world renowned company, Willie G. Davidson.
Speyside Distillery’s chief executive officer John Harvey McDonough says the firm is honoured to help Thunder in the Glens mark such a special occasion.
He adds, “Beinn Dubh is the local whisky of the Cairngorms, so it is incredibly fitting for us to produce a very special bottling for an event that has become integral to the local area. Following the launch of Beinn Dubh at last year’s rally, the whisky has gone on to achieve huge global success in markets around the world.
“The distillery has played host to many special visitors over the years, from former England footballer Michael Owen to VIP dignitaries from Taiwan, but I don’t think anything will be quite as memorable as the sound of those motorbikes roaring up the drive of our normally tranquil boutique distillery.
“The 20-year-old single malt Scotch whisky that has been used for this commemorative bottling is extremely rare. We have very limited stocks of vintage whisky, but we felt that only something very special should be used to mark this historic occasion.”
George McGuire is the rally co-ordinator for Thunder in the Glens and led the ride out to the distillery, which is located near the village of Kingussie.
“We feel a special affinity with Speyside Distillery, and being able to take so many of our visitors out here today has been a truly magical experience – one of the highlights of the entire weekend,” he says.
“As we were travelling further and further away from civilisation, I am sure some of them thought I was pulling their leg and the distillery didn’t actually exist. But that’s the real beauty of Speyside Distillery – it can only be found by those who want to seek it out.
“However, now that so many Harley owners around the world have become fans, I’m not sure how much longer it will remain a secret.
“Our visitors recognise what a rare chance they have to own what is essentially a piece of the distillery’s history. Opportunities to buy something like this do not come along every day, and some of our visitors have bought one bottle for drinking and one for keeping on the shelf to commemorate a fantastic weekend.”
The 20-year-old single malt Beinn Dubh Thunder In The Glens 2016 is priced at £150 while the 20th Anniversary single malt is £56. A very limited number of bottles are still available, but can be ordered directly from firstname.lastname@example.org