Royal Lochnagar distillery information

The Royal Lochnagar distillery is located in the Highlands near Deeside, which used to be rampant with illicit distillers. It was originally founded by James Robertson in 1826. Robertson had previously started a distillery in Glen Feardan, north of the river Dee in 1823, taking advantage of the the Excise Act that legalized whisky distillation, and which was released in the same year. His illicit colleagues obviously did not see this as a good thing, as the distillery was set on fire. He started another distillery called Lochnagar in 1826 (taking its name from a nearby mountain) on the north bank of the Dee, but that, too, went up in flames. Not about to give up just yet, a third distillery was built, and that suffered a firey fate as well in 8141.

The current distillery was established by John Begg in 1845, this time on the South banks of the river, not far from Balmoral castle. It was originally named “New Lochnagar”, but that changed in 1848. In that year, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert moved into the castle, and Begg sent them an invitation to visit the distillery, knowing that the Prince had a fascination for mechanics. The couple took him up for the offer and dropped by the very next day for a tour with their three eldest children. Within days of the tour, Begg received a Royal Warrant. Lochnagar is one of only 3 distilleries to have received one of those, next to Royal Brackla and Glenugie Royal (now closed). The distillery was quick to rename itself Royal Lochnager.

In 1860, the original Lochnagar distillery was closed. Following John Begg’s death in 1880, the distillery passed to his son Henry Begg, and in 1896, after Henry’s death, it passed on to a family trust. From 1902, it’s run by a private limited company, who rebuild the distillery in 1906, and sold it to John Dewar & Sons Ltd in 1916. Dewar got acquired by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1925, and the distillery is transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) in 1930. The distillery was closed during World War 2.

In 1963, the distillery was rebuilt for the most part, and the stills were switched to steamheating in 1969. In 1990, the farm was converted to a visitor centre. It passed to United Distillers in 1990, and currently is owned by Diageo, who added it to the “Classic malts” series in 2005.

With a yearly output of around 450,000 liters, Lochnagar is the smallest distillery in the Diageo portfolio.

Royal Lochnagar whisky

Large amounts of the whisky produced are used for blending, particularly Johnnie Walker Black Label and Blue Label. OFficial bottles that have been released include:

  • Rare Malts; 23 Years Old (released in 1997, US market only)
  • Rare Malts; 24 Years Old (released in 1997)
  • Rare Malts; 30 Years Old (released in 2004)

Their present core range consists of:

  • 12 Years Old
  • Selected Reserrve

Distillery info:

NameRoyal Lochnagar
Water sourceScarnock Springs
Owned byDiageo

Royal Lochnagar Distillery
Balmoral, Crathie
Ballater, Aberdeenshire AB35 5TB
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1339 742700

Visitor centreYes
CommunityFriends of Classic Malts

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun5.4 tonnes1 (Cast irron)
Washback2 * 37,000, 1 * 18,000 litres3 (Larch)
Wash still6,300 litres1
Spirit Still4,200 litres1
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)450,000