Royal Lochnagar 16 2021 Special Release

Welcome back to my continuing experiment wherein I explore my thoughts on Diageo by reviewing the 2021 Special Releases (minus one, who the heck can afford a 26 year old Lagavulin?)

Royal Lochnagar is right up there with Glendullan for me. Many IB releases? Nope. Many OB releases? Nope (OB = From the Distillery, IB = from an independent bottler). Thus we fall into a loop: I’ve only had two from them, I wasn’t in love, the OB costs quite a bit, no bars serve it, I don’t drink them, thus I don’t know enough to buy them, repeat, that’s probably a loop in some weird way.

Throw in Emily Blunt or Bill Murray and you’ve got a good movie going. Or a stew. Maybe getting my pop culture references mixed up after winging my head off a cupboard.

Where was I? Oh, I’m excited to try Royal Lochnagar 16 2021 Special Release, because it’s an excuse to stretch my thoughts on the whisky. Will I like it? It’s cask strength, aged in a mix of casks, and no one has reported exploding randomly after drinking it. If that doesn’t wet your whistle then I don’t know what will.

So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Price: $250.00 CAD

Region: Highlands

Vintage: 2004

Bottled: 2021

Cask type American & European Oak Refill Casks

Abv: 57.5%

Colour: 7.5Y 8/8

Nose: Apple, grass/anise, lemon, candy

Spice, apple, some cooked sugar, and some lemon… yeah, it smells like I’m prepping an apple pie. For those of you who have not, on behalf of the USA, Ontario (Canada), and Germany, I shame you.

Joking aside (seriously baking is tough for some, it’s okay if you haven’t made a pie), it’s light, has some sweet notes, and acidity. Water brings out more of the sugar. These are all things you’d smell while prepping to make an apple pie, as you use apples, add lemon juice to avoid them going brown, you add spices because that’s part of the recipe (they pair well with apple), and the sugar is because we’re all addicted to it (and it too pairs well with spices and apple, as well as the fattiness of the pastry).

Thanks for signing up for dessert facts.

Taste: Apple juice, caramel, cloves, cassia buds

Sweeter apple flavours, some caramel (made by heating sugar and adding butter and cream, DESSERT FACTS), and spices.

So yes, it’s continuing with those apple pie vibes. Maybe apple cobbler instead, given the lack of butter notes? Nah, let’s stick to apple pie.

Finish: Apple, pastry, cardamon, cloves, cinnamon

Hey, there’s the pastry (a mix of butter, flour, and water, DESSERT FACTS), and then some additional Xmas spices.

Apple pie.

Conclusion: It’s an apple pie, pure and simple. Now don’t get me wrong: I like apple pie. I would take a whisky that tastes like this over those “apple pie moonshine” or “apple pie vodka” things out there. It’s better.

But it’s still very simple for what it is. It’s just apple pie. For all the good or bad. It takes what the Cardhu from the same year was almost doing and did it correctly. Simple as… well, pie.

So try it at a bar, and I’ll keep looking for a Royal Lochnagar I’m excited about.


Scotch review #1531, Highland review #255, Whisky Network review #2251

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