Category Archives: Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar 12-year-old

Bought: Wine Rack, 28th October 2015

84/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
81/100 – Ralfy of
78.87/100 – Whiskybase (average from 156 member votes)

I get the impression that the Royal Lochnagar 12yo is 75% good whisky and 25% snob value. This is reflected in the price because it’s a £30 whisky that sells for £40. The ‘Wine Rack’ off license don’t list Royal Lochnagar on their website but the owner of my local store stocked it on a whim and it sold like hot cakes. The reason? The shop is in a wealthy town in a wealthy area where the word ‘royal’ has stockbrokers happy to break a £50 note.

In fairness to Royal Lochnagar they don’t exactly flood the market with various aged and non-aged bottlings. The Whisky Bible only mentions 3 versions and 2 of those are from independent bottlers. Whiskybase just list 27 distillery releases, which includes seven different versions of the 12yo, seven ‘Select Reserve’ and five ‘Distillers Edition’. Royal Lochnagar certainly like to be elusive as well as exclusive, which is starting to make £40 sound quite reasonable.

84/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this dram as “good whisky worth trying” and the author, Jim Murray, says “more care has been taken with this than some other bottles from this wonderful distillery. But I still can’t understand why it never quite manages to get out of third gear…or is the caramel on the finish the giveaway?” Nevertheless Mr Murray gives the taste element 22/25, which is 88/100 and into the bracket of “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. It’s a confused beast!

Perhaps one issue for Jim Murray is his reluctance to add water. He says at the start of his Bible that diluting whisky below 40% means it’s no longer whisky, so don’t do it. The Royal Lochnagar 12yo is 40% but both a voter on Whiskybase and the legendary Ralfy on You Tube say this single malt benefits from adding water. If it helps then why not?! People have been adding water to whisky since day one and whisky is mostly water anyway! Ultimately it comes down to individual preference, which nobody should dictate or criticise.

Ralfy’s 81/100 is quite a low mark from him but he still considers the Royal Lochnagar worthy of a review which can be viewed below (recorded in June 2014):

Royal Lochnagar 12yo 70cl

Royal Lochnagar 12-year-old miniature

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013

83/100 – Whisky Bible 2006

One of the things I love about getting whisky from auction is the extra information you get with some bottles. This miniature of Royal Lochnagar still has the original price on it when it was bought, either from a High Street shop or the distillery itself. £3.25. It’s been a while since you could buy a mini malt for as little as that without looking online.

I wasn’t originally intending to get a miniature of this 12yo. Tesco have a full 70cl bottle but in 6 months they’ve never had it on offer. Every time I’m in my local store the same few bottles are staring at me, unloved and unwanted. At £33 I’m not surprised! It would be cheaper to buy it online. If Tesco every reduce it they might manage to sell a bottle or two.

According to Whiskybase this miniature of Royal Lochnagar was in production between 2003-2007, hence using the Whisky Bible rating from 2006. Not that it makes much difference because the 2014 edition of the bible has exactly the same comment (although the mark has gone up 1 to 84/100). I thought about including a link to a tasting video done by Charlie MacLean, the Distillery Manager at Royal Lochnagar but I got put off by his remark about the colour. He was saying how lovely it was but, at the same time, Jim Murray remarks in his bible about caramel being added. It doesn’t seem right to praise a whisky’s colour when it’s been artificially enhanced.

Here’s a review by ‘A Dram A Day’ on You Tube (August 2016):

Royal Lochnagar 12yo 5cl