Top 10 royal family whiskiesBy Amy Hopkins
As the world awaits the birth of the next royal baby, we take a look at some of the whiskies that have been launched to commemorate British royal occasions.
Whether a Diamond Jubilee, anniversary of a Royal Warrant, or a royal wedding, whisky brands have launched an array of exclusive, limited edition expressions to mark regal events.
These bottlings are coveted by whisky collectors and royalists the world-over, often commanding an exorbitant price.
While Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with the release of one of the world’s most expensive Scotch whiskies, Prince Harry’s expedition to the South Pole was marked with a 29-year-old malt.
The most-watched televised event in history – the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton – inspired a special release by an English whisky distillery, while Crown Royal commemorated King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s journey across North America.
Click through the following pages to see our pick of the top 10 whiskies dedicated to the British royal family. If you think we’ve missed any out, let us know by leaving a comment below.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old Royal Warrant
The world became aware of the Prince of Wales’s penchant for peat in 1994 when he bestowed a Royal Warrant on Laphroaig Distillery in 1994. In celebration of the honour, the Islay single malt whisky launched Laphroaig 10 Year Old Royal Warrant, however the 15-year-old is reportedly the Prince’s favourite expression in the range.
John Walker & Sons Diamond Jubilee
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, Diageo launched John Walker & Sons Diamond Jubilee edition, which at £100,000 is one of the most expensive Scotch whiskies in the world. The specially crafted blend of rare malt and grain Scotch whiskies distilled in and maturing since 1952, was bottled at Royal Lochnagar Distillery, based at the edge of Her Majesty’s Balmoral Estate. Only 60 editions, which were aged in casks created using oak sourced from the Queen’s private Sandringham Estate, were released for sale.
The Glenlivet 25 Year Old Royal Wedding Reserve
Now popular on the secondhand market, The Glenlivet 25 Year Old Royal Wedding Reserve was launched to celebrate the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. Now costing £1,200, the expression, described as having a heavy Sherry influence, features an ornate wooden presentation box.
English Whisky Co. Royal Marriage
The English Whisky Company, based in Norfolk, appealed to England’s patriotic spirit when it launched its Royal Marriage bottling in 2011 to commemorate the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton – whose wedding one billion viewers around the world tuned in to watch. The expression is a combination of rum and port-finished whisky and now costs around £75.
The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse may not have yet released a bottling dedicated to the royal family, but it is also one of the few whisky brands to be granted a Royal Warrant, which it first received in 1984. In May last year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge demonstrated the royal family’s continued support for the brand by officially opening The Famous Grouse Experience, based at the Glenturret Distillery. The royal couple were the first people to take part in the distillery’s “bottle your own” initiative.
Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend
Last June, Diageo celebrated the 75th anniversary of its Crown Royal Canadian whisky – and also the brand’s presentation to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – with the launch of its Monarch blend last year. Crown Royal was first launched in 1939 by a Canadian entrepreneur who wanted to present King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with a bottle of specially blended whisky to commemorate their journey across North America.
The Macallan Coronation Collection
The Macallan Scotch whisky launched two special edition bottlings to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, completing its trio of royal whiskies. Presented in a Gold, Windsor Red and Blue box inspired by the Queen’s coat of arms, the limited edition features two 350ml bottles of The Macallan single malt – an American oak variant and Sherry cask-aged whisky. The range followed the launch of The Royal Marriage, which marked Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton on 2011.
John Walker & Sons King George V
Earlier this year, Diageo celebrated the 80th anniversary of John Walker & Son’s Royal Warrant bestowed by King George V in 1935 with a travel retail exclusive. John Walker & Sons King George V was made using liquid sourced from distilleries in operation at the time of the British king’s reign in the 1930s, containing liquid from the now mothballed Port Ellen distillery on Islay. The whisky was launched ahead of Chinese New Year and features an Art Deco design.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, officially opened Scotland’s “first” single estate distillery, Ballindalloch, earlier this month. The royal couple unveiled the site’s commemorative new plaque and also fitted bungs into two of its newly filled casks. Liquid from these casks will be bottled as special editions, which have not yet been named. Proceeds from the sales of the bottles will be donated to charities chosen by Charles and Camilla.
Glenfiddich Spirit of a Nation
In November 2013, Glenfiddich launched a single cask of 29-year-old single malt in honour of the UK team – whose patron is Prince Harry – competing in the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge.The whisky – named Spirit of a Nation – was produced as part of the brand’s sponsorship of Team Glenfiddich, a team of four wounded serviceman and women who embarked on a race to the South Pole last year alongside the prince to raise money for a charity dedicated to wounded soldiers.