An Auctioneer’s Guide To Royal Lochnagar

What ever happened to Royal Lochnagar?

An Auctioneer’s Guide To Royal Lochnagar

The tiny Royal Lochnagar distillery on the edge of the queen’s estate on Balmoral was once the most popular single malt Scotch in the kingdom, visited by royalty from around the world.

The distillery owner, John Begg had the distillery built in 1845 on the existing plot of a burnt down distillery. It’s location proved to be a great asset and the Lochnagar distillery was awarded its Royal Warrant in 1848 after the neighbours, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, popped round to visit the distillery. The following year its whisky was launched for sale as Royal Lochnagar Whisky in London ’sealed with the Royal Arms’, and it has been known as Royal Lochnagar (almost) ever since. John Begg described himself proudly as ‘the queen’s loyal distiller’, and the Queen, herself a well known influencer at the time, was said to enjoy a dram with Apollinaris.

The distillery’s ‘Royal’ prefix was removed by its owners in a fit of pique after the Duke of Edinburgh very publicly accused the distillery of polluting streams on the Balmoral Estate in a speech in 1974. It was quietly reinstated in the late 1980s.

Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve, introduced in 1988, was intended to be the Blue Label of single malts by owners United Distillers. It was drawn from sherry and bourbon casks that were selected annually on the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s first distillery visit.

While Lochnagar’s style of whisky never fell out of fashion, its bottled single malt output remained small as did its market share, meanwhile its importance to its owners remains to this day, as a major contributor to blends Johnnie Walker Black and Johnnie Walker Blue.


The Friends Of The Classic Malts

Royal Lochnagar Triple Matured – Exclusive To The Friends Of The Classic Malts, Bottled 2013, 70cl, 48% ABV


Manager’s Dram

Royal Lochnagar 10 Year Old The Manager’s Dram, Bottled 2006, 70cl, 57.2% ABV

Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old The Manager’s Dram, Bottled 2017, 70cl, 58.1% ABV


Manager’s Choice

Royal Lochnagar 1994 The Manager’s Choice Cask #837, Bottled 2009, 70cl, 59.3% ABV

Distillery Exclusives

Royal Lochnagar Distillery Exclusive 2017, 70cl, 48% ABV

Royal Lochnagar Distillery Exclusive 2019, 70cl, 48% ABV

175th Anniversary

Royal Lochnagar 17 Year Old – 175th Anniversary, Bottled 2020, 70cl, 56.3% ABV


Inveralmond Special Commemorative Bottling 1960, 20cl, 56% ABV


Lochnagar 5 Year Old

Lochnagar 5 Year Old, 75cl, 43% ABV


Parachute Regiment

Royal Lochnagar 1990 10 Year Old Para 90, Bottled 2000, 70cl, 62.5% ABV

Balmoral Castle

Royal Lochnagar Balmoral Whisky, 70cl, 46% ABV


Roseisle Maltings 25th Anniversary

Royal Lochnagar 1981 25 Year Old – Roseisle Maltings 25th Anniversary, Bottled 2008, 70cl, 60% ABV

Single Casks

Royal Lochnagar 1978 36 Year Old Cask #1741, Bottled 2015, 70cl, 57.6% ABV

Royal Lochnagar 1981 37 Year Old Select Cask #0003, Bottled 2018, 70cl, 54.2% ABV

Royal Lochnagar 1992 24 Year Old Casks Of Distinction #5001, Bottled 2017, 70cl, 54.7% ABV