One of few distilleries that are allowed to use the pre-fix “Royal”, this whisky was one of the preferred tipples of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The distillery itself is found close to Balmoral Castle, where the Queen spends her summer holidays.
This distillery is the smallest in the Diageo stable, with two tiny stills. Previously the spirit had been used to for the making of the Vat 69 blend, but now the distillery is focused on single malt production.
Thankfully so, as this is a rather delicious malt. The small stills, and the fact that this is one of few distilleries in Scotland which continues to use worm tub condensers, should make for a heavier, sulphuric spirit. However, the distillers work hard at reversing the effects of their equipment, using longer fermentation and warm water in the worm tubs to lighten the spirit.
The result is a whisky of excellent balance, with a good depth, and notes of toffee, polished wood, mocha, molasses, dried fruit, citrus fruit, heather honey, and drying oak. Really impresses for it medium age statement.
A superbly well-made dram, and one that comes with Royal approval.