Probably the only distillery that holds an appointment to three deceased monarchs (Victoria, Edward VII, and George V), Royal Lochnagar's history is linked with its neighbor, Balmoral Castle. Apparently, Victoria, after a visit to the distillery, took a liking to the Lochnagar spirit and a royal warrant was granted in short order. However, the Queen's tastes are suspect. As Michael Jackson remarked in his write-up on the distillery in his Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, the Queen used the malt "to lace her claret, thereby ruining two of the world's greatest drinks."
Color: Full amber (probably not a natural color - identical to Johnnie Walker Black).
Nose: Maybe a vague fruitiness buoyed by some nice malty notes. With time, a distinct grassiness and a squeeze of lemon juice. Caramel. Is that a whiff of smoke? Sulphur late. An interesting nose but still underwhelming.
Palate: Smooth and sweet; almost cloying with an absence of spice. A flabby middle continues the initial taste experience. The dram bitters significantly as the wood takes over (a few tired casks in this batch).
Finish: Falls off the cliff although the wood bitterness hangs around. Bottling at 40% gives this malt hardly a chance to raise itself above mediocrity. To say the undistinguished nose is the highlight of this dram is to underscore its low rating.
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