Established in 1845 by John Begg near the Scarnock springs, Lochnagar Distillery sits in the shadow of Balmoral castle, the Queen’s summer home. Queen Victoria visited the distillery 3 years later, in 1848. So impressed was she by the 3 year old spirit, that Lochnagar was given the Royal seal and has been Royal Lochnagar ever since. This month, the Royal Lochnagar 12 year old.
Royal Lochnagar is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries run by only 6 employees. Ironically though, Lochnagar distillery is a part of the massive Diageo conglomerate contributing to Vat 69, and Johnnie Walker Blue label leaving all too little to bottle as a single malt. Sad but, unfortunately, true.
This distillery prides itself on its wee, stumpy stills, which deliver a broadly flavoured whisky. Compare that to distilleries with very tall stills, which insist that the tall stills delivery very pure, clean spirit. Broadly flavoured whiskies tend to represent whiskies that have a more oily or creamy mouthfeel.
The nose is distinctly vivid malty nose. Caramel and yeasty, vegemite characters with savoury overtones. The palate displays the breadth of mouthfeel that is common amongst the shorter stills with caramel and pepper with hints of liquorice. The finish is distinctly dry and peppery.