The nose of this 19 year old has aromas of fresh fruits, sweet peat, ocean breeze and a light floral element. The palate is initially pretty with stone fruits, peat and a saline edge with turns toward savory grains on the finish. The addition of water adds body and highlights the salty edge on the palate. D&M Tasting Notes
Distilled: 1996 Bottled: 2015 56.6% ABV Recharred Sherry Butt.
The distillery that became Royal Lochnagar got off to quite a bad start in the heady years following the passage of the Excise Act in the 1820s. James Robertson in 1826 founded a distillery on the North side of the River Dee that was consumed by arson within a few years. Bloodied but unbowed, James rebuilt his distillery at the foot of the mountain Lochnagar, also on the north side of the River Dee. This failed to impress his rivals in the whisky game, and the second distillery as well was burnt down in 1841. In 1845 another gentleman built and restarted production of malt on the River Dee, and it is this man, John Begg, whose buildings stand to this day. John Begg built this New Lochnagar on the south side of the Dee with one wash still and one spirits still. This New Lochnagar managed to significantly upgrade its name a few years later thanks to some well known neighbors.
The location of Lochnagar, as luck would have it, is less than a mile from the royal residence of Balmoral, the queen’s residence in the Highlands of Scotland. 1848 marked the first time that the Queen visited the residence at Balmoral, and John Begg took this as an opportunity to invite the Royal Family to the distillery. The invitation to Prince Albert was accepted the very next day with the entire Royal Family making the mile journey to visit the distillery. Within the year, Lochnagar was given its royal warrant, allowing the distillery to upgrade its name to the modern Royal Lochnagar. A side note, Queen Victoria was quite the fan of Scotch was a decided twist; the Queen’s favorite beverage was a mix of claret (Bordeaux more the color of modern rose) and Scotch whisky. Sadly, history does not record her preferred proportions.
Royal Lochnagar stayed in John Begg’s family though the remainder of the 1800s until 1916 when, with the death of Begg’s last male heir, it was sold to John Dewar’s & Sons. It was kept in good running order though the early 1900s, with the exception of being shut in World War II, and was rebuilt in 1963. The rebuild added to the physical plant of the distillery a cast iron mashtun, three washbacks, two Oregon pine and one Scottish larch, two stills and two cast iron worm tubs. This small setup is capable of producing less than half a million liters annually, making Royal Lochnagar Diageo’s smallest distillery today. In recent years Royal Lochnagar has been used by Diageo as a training distillery for staff and potential distillery managers, starting them off small before heading to a much larger facility like Caol Ila and its 3.7 million liter production. This puts Royal Lochnagar in the top ten smallest distilleries in Scotland and goes a long way to explaining why we here in the US rarely see expressions of this Highland Malt. Michael Kennel, D&M
Royal Lochnagar 19 Yr Cadenhead Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Brand: Royal Lochnagar
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 24
- SKU #: 3468