Highland

Royal Lochnagar 26 Years Old 1994 The Sleeping Beauty

Royal Lochnagar 26 Years Old 1994 Casks of Distinction #1289 The Sleeping Beauty

What they say

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky is awakened after 26 years

  • A unique cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky, laid down in 1994, has now been bottled as part of Diageo’s prestigious Casks of Distinction range.
  • 470 bottles will be sold at an auction hosted by online secondary market leadersWhisky Auctioneer 9-13 September 2021.
  • Bottle number one will include the original cask end painting of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ painted by Scottish artist Norman Edgar, based on a Scottish Ballet dancer.
  • All proceeds will go to the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund to support the future of Scotland’s national dance company.

Scottish Ballet, Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer announced the release of 470 bottles from a single cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky, which will be sold at auction 9-13 September 2021.

The unique cask was laid down in 1994 at the instigation of Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden, who was at the time Chair of United Distillers and Vice Chair of Scottish Ballet. Scottish artist Norman Edgar was commissioned to paint the cask end portraying Scottish Ballet Principal dancer Nicci Theis in the iconic role of Princess Aurora, the sleeping beauty. It was to be a donation with a difference, an investment in the future of Scotland’s national dance company.

Twenty-six years later, ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ has been awakened and bottled as part of the prestigious Casks of Distinction range. This highly collectible bottle is now ready to be shared with whisky lovers and ballet fans alike, with every pound raised at auction contributing to the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund. All bottling and auction costs have been generously donated by Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer in support of Scottish Ballet.

The first auction lot will include bottle number one and the unique cask end painting by Norman Edgar depicting Princess Aurora, the sleeping beauty. The first ten lots will also include exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences with Scottish Ballet.

HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and Patron of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘It is marvellous to know that this unique gift has been bottled and will now be offered for sale in support of the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund, ensuring a lifelong benefit to all those who love ballet and who love Scotland.’[1]

Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘Like all arts organisations, Scottish Ballet has endured a challenging eighteen months unable to perform live, and this income will be vital in ensuring the company’s long-term future and capacity to inspire future audiences, on stage and beyond. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has played their part in bringing this whisky fairytale to life.’


James Mackay, Head of Rare & Exceptional Spirits at Diageo, said: ‘It is with great pride and pleasure that we have bottled ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ Cask of Distinction, beginning a new chapter in this beautiful story, and to offer lovers of Scottish craft and fine arts a chance to appreciate this unique single malt Scotch whisky, while benefiting Scottish Ballet.’

Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: ‘It’s a privilege to support the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund by hosting the online auction of this incredibly distinctive Royal Lochnagar release. This whisky has a story to tell and an important cause to support, so we are sure that both whisky and ballet lovers, as well as collectors around the world, will be excited to have the opportunity to acquire such an interesting expression.’


Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden said: ‘It is deeply gratifying that this Royal Lochnagar cask, which I presented to Scottish Ballet in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 1994, is now being awoken. I am delighted that people will now be able to taste this extremely special whisky, but even more importantly the legacy of our donation will be continued through the funds the cask will raise for the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund.’


Artist Norman Edgar said:
‘A great fan of the artist Edgar Degas, I had never painted any ballet paintings and enjoyed creating the pose after watching a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in Glasgow, with the shape of Aurora’s dress following the circular barrel ends. As a relatively young man at the time, I would also still be around to sample the result!’

Charles MacLean MBE, Master of the Quaich and whisky writer, said:
‘This is as good an example of Royal Lochnagar as I have ever tasted. It has retained the original distillery character, while long aging has developed layers of complexity.’


[1] This quote was provided by Scottish Ballet’s Patron The Duke of Rothsay for the booklet that accompanies each bottle of whisky.

What I say

A specially selected single Sherry cask or ‘Cask of Distinction’ from Royal Lochnagar. Laid down in 1994 and adorned with a commissioned painting on the cask head by Norman Edgar. This cask was gifted to the Scottish Ballet and the outturn auctioned by Whisky Auctioneer.

Thanks to Whisky Auctioneer for providing a sample of this cask.

  • ABV 56.3%
  • Age 26 Years Old
  • Bottler Official
  • Bottling The Sleeping Beauty
  • Cask Sherry Cask
  • Category Highland single malt whisky
  • Cost £auction
  • Origin Royal Lochnagar Distillery
  • Outturn 470 Bottles
  • Region Highland
  • Released 2021
  • Vintage 1994

My tasting notes

  • Appearance Dark golden brown (13/20) medium-large, oily tears and medium-fine legs.
  • Nose Woody and toffee on the nose, dried fruits and some fresher black fruits, bramble and blackberry, malt loaf, fruitcake, some heady Christmas mixed spices and mince pies.
  • Taste Quite lively, fruity and spicy on the palate, plenty of old/antique oak wood, liquorice twists, more blackberry and bramble but more earthy than tart, fruit cake, raisins, treacle toffee, malt loaf, Christmas pudding, woody spices, clove, cinnamon, perhaps a touch of wood char, tobacco leaf and a wisp of smoke.
  • Finish Long, dry, sweet, dried fruits and soft spices.
  • Overall Malty Lochnagar meets dried fruit and spice from the Sherry cask. redolent of Christmas time, mince pies and puddings, nice earthy dark fruits too such as blackberry and brambles.

Score 90/100

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