Royal Lochnagar Friends of the Classic Malts (2013)
Royal Lochnagar’s unique selling point is in the name. The distillery received a Royal Warrant in 1848 after a visit from Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their three eldest children. Dubbed as the first-ever distillery visit, it is exactly the type of thing that would impress someone just starting to find their way in the world of single malt whisky.
Ten or twelve or so years ago, that was me. My girlfriend gifted me a bottle of the Royal Lochnagar 12 and passed along the backstory as told to her by the shop owner. I liked the story, I liked the whisky — I’ve had a weak spot for Royal Lochnagar ever since. Not the best whisky I’ve ever tried but one of my favourite whiskies nonetheless, is the old Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve.
That bring us to today’s review of a limited edition Royal Lochnagar that was released seven years ago for the Friends of the Classic Malts. It is triple matured, first in conventional refill casks then transferred to charred American oak hogsheads, before a final maturation in European oak refill casks. Like the Selected Reserve, this bears no age statement, but it is bottled at a respectable 48 percent.
Royal Lochnagar Friends of the Classic Malts (48%, OB, 2013)
Nose: Somewhat floral at first, with hints of rose water and jasmine, but also grassy. A touch of damp oak and a dunnage earthiness, but also lots of orange zest and a hint of sweet paprika powder.
Taste: Burnt caramel, dark spices and subtle espresso notes, as well as raisins, dark chocolate and rye bread. Finally some ginger and even a touch of smoke, if you can believe that.
Finish: Oak, spices and ground coffee beans. Ending on notes of freshly cut grass and caramel. Medium in length.
Yeah, this is a succes. Different than the few other Lochnagar I’ve tasted, especially on the palate, but very enjoyable and layered
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.