Inspiring Whisky Experiences

Tailor-made Tutored Tastings

“…the Dram Queen knows everything you ever wanted to know about whisky but were afraid to ask.”

“The Dram Queen tastings are one of the Best Whisky Tasting Experiences you can have in Scotland!”

California based food and wine critic, Jim White,

Engaging, enjoyable and memorable tailor-made experiences bring Scotch whisky to life and enhance your enjoyment of it.

Passionate about Scotch whisky, Ann shares fascinating tastings which bring to life the many different facets of Scotland’s iconic spirit to increase your understanding and enhance your appreciation of every dram.

Drawing on over 30 years working in the Scotch whisky industry, where she was regularly responsible for managing and delivering in-depth and bespoke training on all aspects of Scotch whisky and a wide range of brands for visitors from many countries of the world, Ann offers similar insights to whisky enthusiasts visiting Speyside.

Tastings, events, and experiences can take place in Ann’s Dram Room in the heart of Speyside, in your accommodation or in partnership with hotels where they could include one or more dinner paired with whisky.

All tastings are illustrated with up to six tasting samples. Content is always tailored to the interests of the participants and can follow a theme like age, region, style, cask used etc. Sessions can last up to 2 hours to allow time for questions and the exchange of ideas. They can be combined to create a half or full day.

Here are some current themes – please get in touch to discuss and reserve your tailor-made experience.

With fluent French and Spanish, Ann is happy to deliver all these experiences in both languages – as well as English.

Dram Queen Whisky Courses

What is Scotch whisky?

Ann’s introductions to a range of Scotch whisky topics demystify this fascinating topic and are all illustrated with tastings.

  • Do you understand the difference between a malt and a blended Scotch whisky? Ann demystifies the main characteristics of the different types of Scotch whisky.
  • Do you know what distinguishes Scotland’s malt whisky producing regions from one another? Taste a range of sample to discover more.
  • Casks and Maturation: What do the various casks contribute to our drams?
  • Does age matter? Increasingly we see drams without an age statement but how do they compare to the traditional approach?

What is Speyside?

An interactive tasting and discussion exploring Speyside.

  • Is it a place? Speyside's geographical boundaries are now officially recognised but there are many variations between drams.
  • Is it a story? How big a contribution has history made to Speyside's development?
  • Is a style? Speyside drams used to be considered, “fruity, floral, rich” but recently distillers have offered a more diverse range of flavours.

Discover how much Speyside’s identity draws on its history as well as the sense of place.

Illicit Stills & Smugglers' Trails

Smugglers' trails and illicit distilling were important to the success of Speyside's single malts. The pioneers of Speyside’s whisky industry were illicit distillers scattered over the remote glens, crofts and farms of Speyside who had to conceal their activities from the prying eyes of the authorities. Once their spirit was ready, they would set off along hidden trails in the dead of night to smuggle it to their customers. Tasting of drams from distilleries established during this period.

Speyside's Railways

The arrival of the railways in the mid-19th century transformed the distillation of single malt in Speyside. Many new distilleries were established close to the railways which brought coal to fire their stills and exported their casks far beyond the hitherto isolated region. Tasting of drams from distilleries established during this period.

Women and Whisky

It may seem that women have only recently begun to make a mark on the Scotch whisky industry, but history tells us a different story. Ann offers an independent perspective on the topic, with a fascinating talk tracing the contribution made to distilling in Speyside by some notable women since the days of illicit distillation.

As a woman who has worked in the Scotch whisky industry for over 30 years, Ann is a passionate advocate of welcoming women consumers to the world of whisky and of breaking down some of the real or imagined barriers which sometimes make Scotch whisky appear to be a predominately male preserve. She would be delighted to create bespoke courses for women novices and enthusiasts – just as she is always happy to share her enthusiasm with male consumers!

Desert Island Drams

Marooned on a desert island, which Speyside drams would feature in your fantasies?

  • Some malts to sip and savour?
  • Which whisky would quench your thirst in a long drink?
  • On a tropical island would you dream of a whisky cocktail?
  • Or a warming dram as you shiver on an Arctic archipelago?
  • Which would be your luxury dram?

Share your inspirations with Ann and discover which drams she would rescue from the wreckage.

History of Speyside’s whisky industry

Ann brings to life key moments in the story of Scotch whisky in a series of talks

  • The struggles of the illicit distillers and smugglers as they overcame adversity to distil the water of life despite the best endeavours of the authorities
  • The impact of the Excise Act 1823 which permitted legal distillation in what is now Speyside for the first time
  • The transformation brought about by the arrival of the railways in Speyside which offered new routes to markets in Scotland and around the world.
  • The developments in the 20th and 21st centuries as Speyside's whisky industry continues to adapt.

The theme of each course will vary from time to time and will tempt you to return to discover more.
Please contact Ann to discuss any specific requests you would like to feature during your bespoke whisky experience.

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