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.
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old
Lochnagar 12 Year Old, Bottled 1970s, 75.7cl, 70 Proof
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old, Bottled late 1980s, 43% ABV
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old – HRH The Princess Royal, Bottled 1993, 70cl, 40% ABV
Royal Lochnagar Distillers Edition 2000, 70cl, 40% ABV
Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve 2008, 70cl, 43% ABV
Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve 2018, 70cl, 43% ABV
The Friends Of The Classic Malts
Royal Lochnagar Triple Matured – Exclusive To The Friends Of The Classic Malts, Bottled 2013, 70cl, 48% ABV
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old The Manager’s Dram, Bottled 2017, 70cl, 58.1% ABV
Royal Lochnagar 1994 The Manager’s Choice Cask #837, Bottled 2009, 70cl, 59.3% ABV
Royal Lochnagar Distillery Exclusive 2017, 70cl, 48% ABV
Royal Lochnagar Distillery Exclusive 2019, 70cl, 48% ABV
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
Royal Lochnagar 1990 10 Year Old Para 90, Bottled 2000, 70cl, 62.5% ABV
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
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