Royal Lochnagar has a rich history filled with British Royal family connections and important visitors due to its location beside the Queens highland residence at Balmoral Castle. However the Lochnagar distillery was there before Balmoral became a refuge for the British monarch. John Begg was the charismatic man behind the distillery which he founded legitimately in 1845 near the highland village of Crathie. The first Lochnagar distillery however was located on the other side of the river but was burnt down by smugglers who were unhappy one of them was planning to go legitimate. Begg became an important man in the whisky industry pioneering much of the blended whisky trade in its early years.
Rumour has it when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were on a visit to Balmoral in 1848 John Begg rather bravely invited the Queen and Prince Albert to visit his distillery the next day informing them of the time they must attend to see the distillery in operation. Needless to say Queen Victoria and Prince Albert turned up and rather liked John Beggs product awarding it the Royal title and getting John Begg to be a regular supplier to the Balmoral Estate. This Royal connection has led to string of British prime ministers and guests of the Queen visiting the Royal Lochnagar distillery over the years.
John Begg dies in 1880 leaving the estate to his son Henry Begg who didn’t have the same passion for the whisky industry and leaves the whisky business in a trust for his family on his death in 1896. The trust doesn’t work out and the distillery becomes a Private limited company in 1902 named fittingly John Begg Ltd which was later sold to John Dewar & Sons Ltd. Much of Royal Lochnagar goes into VAT 69 blended whisky but the single malt scotch whisky is now very popular.
Taste: A creamy sweetness that befits its Royal status and a dry finish.