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Issue 115 - Kings and Queens

Whisky Magazine Issue 115
October 2013


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Kings and Queens

In this fifth episode of our series on labels visits the English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish and British Royalty.

ueen Victoria cannot be overlooked when writing about things Scottish. She was greatly responsible for Whisky Country returning to the eye of the English. In 1848 Lochnagar Distillery, bordering the queen's Scottish estate Balmoral, received a Royal Warrant, mainly due to then-owner John Begg x. As soon as he got wind of the fact that Victoria and Albert planned to purchase Balmoral, he invited them for a dram at his distillery. One day they appeared, unannounced, and the rest is history.

Diageo's smallest distillery was not the first receiving royal recognition. Thirteen years earlier, Bacardi owned Brackla, situated not far from Cawdor Castle, received that honour from King William IV. Founder and owner Captain William Fraser had been producing whisky at this place for 23 years, in a region known for its illegal distilling activities. This was not the case with Royal Brackla in 1835, which was henceforth dubbed “The King's Own Whisky”.

Both distilleries are still in production today. That cannot be said of the third Royal distillery – Glenury. y Around 1993 it was decommissioned and partly rebuilt as apartment buildings. However, there is still some stock available, sparsely launched in limited editions by today's owner Diageo. Remarkably enough, none of the trio ever used a portrait of their benefactors on a label. This is in contrast with the many blended whiskies which are not only crowned with the names, but also with the images of England's male and female ru...

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