The Wee Dram that the Queen Enjoyed

Royal Lochnagar – The Single Malt Whisky With the Royal Seal of Approval:

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Royal Lochnagar - Courtesy VisitBritain

Royal Lochnagar is a distillery situated on the south side of the River Dee about a half a mile from Balmoral Castle. There are indeed many whisky distilleries in Scotland, but few malt whiskies can claim the “Royal” prefix to its name.

If you’re visiting Balmoral Castle and enjoy Scottish malts, a stop at Royal Lochnagar would allow you to taste this royal water of life.  At this royal distillery, age old traditions and craftsmanship produce one of Scotland’s most exclusive single malts, and whisky that is worthy of the Royal Seal of Approval.

How Lochnagar Became a Royal Distillery

When John Begg was granted a long lease of the Lochnagar site in 1845, he began distilling his whisky on the south bank of the Dee. In 1848, Queen Victoria selected Balmoral Castle as her holiday residence, just half a mile from John Begg’s Lochnagar distillery. Knowing that Prince Albert was keen on all things mechanical, he invited the Prince to visit. Just three days after their arrival in Balmoral, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their three eldest children paid a visit to the distillery. The royals got to see the distillation process and sample the whisky at the end. Queen Victoria obviously liked what she sampled and Mr. Begg was given a Royal Warrant of Appointment as a supplier to the Queen. The rest is history!

Visiting Royal Lochnagar

Royal Lochnagar runs tours of the distillery where visitors can learn about their whisky making process. It costs £6 to do the tour but you get a taste of their 12 year-old Royal Lochnagar at the end.  You’ll also get some of your money back if you purchase a bottle of single malt. For the whisky connoisseur, there’s the Royal Tour with coffee and shortbread on arrival, an in-depth tour of the distillery, and a special tasting of Royal Lochnagar through the ages.

The Lochnagar distillery shop has a wide range of single malts, special releases and rare malt whiskies for sale, some of which are 30 years old.

During the peak season, Royal Lochnagar Distillery is open Monday – Saturday and tours are available throughout the day with hourly departures – the last tour leaves at 4 pm. Check their website ( for other opening times.

The Distillery is at Crathie, which is just off the A93, 9 miles from Braemar and 8 miles from Ballater.


Royal Lochnagar Distillery
Crathie, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5TB

Map to Balmoral:

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