Royal Lochnagar distillery

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Royal Lochnagar
Royal Lochnagar Distillery Main Building 2012.jpg
The main building and visitor centre of the Royal Lochnagar Distillery in 2012
LocationLochnagar, Royal Deeside
FoundedJanuary 1845
FounderJohn Begg
Water sourceSprings in the hills of Lochnagar[1]
No. of stills2
Capacity450,000 litres
WebsiteRoyal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery based on the Abergeldie Estate, near Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside.[2][3] It is close to the mountain Lochnagar.[1] The distillery is in the Highland whisky-producing area of Scotland. The distillery holds a Royal Warrant.[4][5]


The first Lochnagar distillery was built by James Robertson of Crathie in the early 19th century.[3] However, it burnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1824.[3] A second and third replacement distillery was built and respectively burnt down again in 1826 and then 1841, supposedly by illicit competitors.[3][6] In 1845, John Begg founded and built the "new" Lochnagar distillery which is the basis of the distillery in operation today.[6][3][5]

The distillery was awarded its Royal Warrant in 1848 when John Begg invited Prince Albert to visit the distillery from the nearby Balmoral Castle, the Queen's residence in the Highlands. The next day the distillery was visited by Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their three eldest children. The distillery was then renamed as Royal Lochnagar three years following Queen Victoria's visit.[7][5] The distillery sold whisky under the name John Begg until the late 20th century (under the slogan 'Take a peg of John Begg'.[3] The distillery remained in direct family ownership until 1902 when it became a private limited company.[3] In 1916, the company was acquired by DCL.[1] Until 1963, waterwheels and a steam engine powered the site.[8]

Today Royal Lochnagar is leased by Diageo from the Abergeldie Estate and is the smallest whisky distillery in Diageo's holdings.[3] The present site is largely incorporated in its original farm and steadings, composed of Aberdeenshire granite stone.[8]


The distillery produces a relatively small amount of whisky, most of which is used in Johnnie Walker black and blue label. As well as in use for blends by Diageo, the distillery produces a standard 12 year old single malt for public sale that is bottled at 40% abv.[9]

In June 2022, the distillery released a special edition whisky, known as the 'Balmoral platinum edition' for the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[10][4]


  • Mike Nicolson (1998-2003)
  • David Hardy (2003-06)
  • Donald Renwick (2006-2011)
  • Andrew Millsopp (2011-?)
  • Sean Phillips[10]


  1. ^ a b c Maclean 2016, p. 319.
  2. ^ Wishart 2001, p. 222.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Maclean 2016, p. 318.
  4. ^ a b "NEW RELEASES: WHISKY TO TOAST THE QUEEN'S JUBILEEE". Scottish Field. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "Royal Lochnagar Distillery granted Royal Warrant". The Drinks Report. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b Smith 2001, p. 75.
  7. ^ "Royal drinks for raising a glass to Her Majesty". The Spectator. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  8. ^ a b Maclean 2017, p. 136.
  9. ^ Wishart 2001, p. 223.
  10. ^ a b "Deeside distillery a mile from Balmoral releases limited edition whisky for Platinum Jubilee". Press and Journal. Retrieved 10 June 2022.


Coordinates: 57°1′48″N 3°12′33″W / 57.03000°N 3.20917°W / 57.03000; -3.20917