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Friday, February 17, 2023

Royal Lochnagar 19 year old Cadenhead Small Batch, 56.6%abv

On Wednesday I reviewed my third-ever Cardhu. Today I'll review my third-ever Royal Lochnagar. Truly, it is a week of milestones.

Diageo's smallest distillery, Royal Lochnagar has historically been one of Johnnie Walker Blue Label's main malts, while also making appearances in the Pinch and Windsor blends. Cadenhead bottled a number of 1996 vintage Lochnagars, and this may well be one of them, but I'm not sure. Just to add to the confusion, there is a 56.3%abv batch and a 56.6%abv batch. This, the oldest RL single malt I've had, is the latter.

Distillery: Royal Lochnagar
Region: Middle Eastern Highlands
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Small Batch
Age: minimum 19 years
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 56.6%
Chillfiltered: No
Colored: No
(from a bottle split)


The nose starts off well, with a mix of dried currants, figs, and hint of industrial smoke. Small notes of white chocolate macadamia cookies and kiwis fill in around the edges. Orange liqueur, tart lemons, and pencil shavings lead the palate. Hints of almond extract and peaches show up occasionally. It's also VERY tannic. The finish gets oakier with time. Tart citrus and eucalyptus struggle to be heard.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose becomes slightly farmy, with the industrial character retreated to the back. A little bit of oak spice drifts around. Sadly the palate gets oakier and papery. Oranges, limes, and almond extract can't push through. It finishes bitterly. Such is life.


Quite a quality split between the nose and palate. I really enjoyed the breadth of the former, but struggled with the narrowness of the latter. I'm not sure what the maturation vessel was other than a capital 'C' Cask. Neither water nor time helped relieve the tannins. Had the flavors paralleled the scents, this would have been a heck of a whisky. Alas no. I doubt I'll chase after other Royal Lochnagar samples/splits in the future.

Availability - Sold out?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81

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