Monday, October 25, 2010


John Begg, founder of Royal Lochnagar, made a timely purchase when he bought the distillery in 1845. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had recently acquired Balmoral Castle just over the hill.

Begg, a man well versed in the art of salesmanship, wasted no time in inviting his new neighbours to visit the distillery. The following day the royal family with children and ladies in waiting, dropped by on their return from a picnic.

It took just a few sips of the distillery's finest to convince Queen Victoria that whisky would be a great addition to her tea and claret. The Lochnagar Distillery was duly awarded its first Royal Warrant and from then on was known as the Royal Lochnagar Distillery. A delighted John Begg had become 'Distiller to Her Majesty'.

As distilleries go, Royal Lochnagar is small, but it has the advantage of a hauntingly beautiful setting and more importantly it produces Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve, considered by connoisseurs to be one on the world's premier single malts.

Each year a group of experts choose from special 12 year old casks the whisky that will be the Selected Reserve for that year. This process is done by 'nosing' – sniffing the bouquet of the alcohol.

A small amount of alcohol is poured into a tulip-shaped glass, swirled around for a moment or two, then nosed, swirled, and nosed again. The casks mature differently and some regularly produce Selected Reserve quality whisky year after year.  Today you would pay close to US$190 for a bottle of Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve.
 In the world of whisky collectors it is not uncommon to pay thousands of dollars for a particularly fine whisky. Today a collector interested in a bottle of Dalmore Trinitas Scotch whisky would have to pay about US$157,000.

Because of its reputation many countries have tried to imitate the exceptional qualities of Scotch whisky and failed. Some have even illegaly included 'Scotch whisky' in the name of their own particular brand. The only genuine Scotch whisky is that distilled on Scottish soil.

For more on Scotch whisky see upcoming posts ...

Posted by Anne Gordon on Monday, 25th October, 2010


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