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Russians Develop a Taste for Whisky

Published: March 9, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • Each distillery has a unique set of stills, like these at Glenfiddich Distillery.
    Photo: D. Garrison Golubock / SPT

  • The scenic Scottish region of Speyside has seen an influx of Russians.
    Photo: D. Garrison Golubock / SPT

Britain is becoming increasingly well-known for its enclaves of wealthy Russians — from Roman Abramovich's ownership of London's Chelsea F.C. soccer team to the voyeuristic "Meet The Russians" reality show on FOX, wealthy Russian emigres have gotten plenty of headlines in London.

However, a new wave of Russians is headed further north, to Aberdeen and the Scottish region of Speyside, where the booming oil industry and the lure of plentiful Scotch whisky have lured many wealthy Russians.

Related: Wealthy Russians Take Over British TV

"The Scots welcome wholeheartedly all tourists from any part of the world," said Elena Sargeant, head of TransAberdeen Languages and Tours, a company offering interpreting services and tours aimed at Russians. "Russian tourists in particular are very welcome because they are very kind, polite, very well-behaved, very knowledgeable about Scottish and British history," Sargeant added.

Sargeant said numerous Russians and Russian speakers from the former Soviet Union lived in Aberdeen, working in positions ranging from company directors and university lecturers to cleaners and laborers. The number of Russian speakers has steadily grown in recent years, with a large influx of immigrants from the Baltic republics.

Related: U.K. Property Tax Targets Wealthy Russians

The growing local population of Russians, as well as growing numbers of Russian tourists — Russian visitors to the U.K. have risen by more than 60 percent since 2009 — has led to a noticeable number of wealthy Russians visiting Speyside, the region around Aberdeen, which is known for its great quantity of single malt whisky distilleries.

"We do get a lot of Russians coming in, and luckily they do have a lot of money," said Michael Lord, proprietor of "The Whisky Shop" in Dufftown. While tourism in general has declined since the economic crisis, wealthy Russians have helped to make up for losses with extravagant spending.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 17


AmCham’s Investment and Legal Committee Meeting convenes this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center at 9 a.m.


Learn more about the science of teaching English at today’s EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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