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Scotland and Scotch whisky: Eastern Highalands  whisky through the producing distilleries: history, making, maps and tasting notes

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Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar Distillery
Crathie
Aberdeenshire AB35 5TB

Owner: Diageo

Creation year:  1823

The area in the North of the River Dee was one of the most popular places for moonshine distillery. After the promulgation of the Excise Act, James Robertson was one of the first to apply for a licence to run a legal distillery. He owned a small distillery in Glen Feardan, and the others moonshine distillers considered him as a traitor and set fire to his business.
After this fire, James Robertson began the construction of a new distillery, named Lochnagar.
He was really unlucky, and a new mysterious fire started on 12 May 1841, putting him of and James left definitely the whisky producers world.
Four years later, John Begg built a new distillery South of the Dee, and called it New Lochnagar.
The New Lochnagar distillery is close to the Balmoral castle, summer residence of the Royal family who just acquired this property. John Begg wrote a letter to the private secretary of the royal family, G.E. Anson to announce them the distillery was operational. The reaction of the Court came very soon. The very next day, Queen Victoria and her husband Albert visited the new distillery. They were very impressed by it, and allowed John Begg to rename the distillery "Royal Lochnagar", and make him official supplier of the court.
This had an immediate effect on the sale price of the whisky.
In the 1880's, nearly all the malt production was used in the famous VAT69 blend, by currently most of the malt is marketed as single malt.
The distillery joined the D.C.L. (Distillers Company Ltd.) in 1916 and became part of Guinness in 1986. Guinness merged with Gran Metropolitan to become the UDV group (United Distillers and Vintners - Diageo).
Completely renewed in 1967, the distillery preserved its traditional character.


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