In 1994, at the instigation of Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden, European oak cask #1289 was laid down in the Royal Lochnagar distillery. The 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 as part of Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme. 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.
Just 503 bottles were drawn from Cask #1289 of the 26 Year Old Royal Lochnagar single malt which was then bottled at 56.3% ABV as Scottish Ballet's 'The Sleeping Beauty' whisky.
Casks of Distinction
Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme is the private sale of individual casks of rare single malt Scotch whisky from Diageo’s extensive stocks in Scotland. Hand selected, these are entirely unique casks that have been discovered whilst working on other projects and earmarked as the ultimate example of a singular expression.
The Casks of Distinction is Diageo’s most exclusive programme, and their sigil is not handed out lightly. Any bottle bearing the logo promises to represent the brightest stars in the world of whisky at their very pinnacle. What makes the Casks of Distinction offering so irresistible to connoisseurs is that it is finite. Every cask is entirely unique, irreplaceable and incredibly precious. It’s the perfect combination, and is feeding an unsatiable excitement among discerning collectors.
Royal Lochnagar’s whisky has been prized by royalty ever since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert toured the distillery in 1848. Following this visit, the distillery assumed its royal prefix and is one of just three to be granted permission to use the Royal suffix/prefix. Only Glenury Royal and Royal Brackla share this honour.
The Royal Lochnagar distillery opened in 1845 across the River Dee and very close to Balmoral Castle in the Highlands whisky region. The popularity of the distillery’s Begg’s blend saw it acquired by John Dewar & Sons in 1916, who later became part of DCL, upping the demand for its whisky from other brands in their portfolio, including Johnnie Walker. Today it is part of Diageo, their smallest distillery by some margin, making the modest amount of its single malt spared for bottling increasingly sought after.
In whisky circles, Royal Lochnagar is admired for their age old traditions and timeless craftmanship.
Founded in 1969, Scotland’s national dance company has spent over 50 years sharing a creative vision crafted by Scotland. Based in Glasgow, the company performs regularly all over Scotland, as well as throughout the UK and internationally — promoting Scotland’s pioneering spirit far and wide. Scottish Ballet’s bold, adventurous productions include new versions of ‘the classics’ and ground-breaking commissions for both stage and screen.
An extensive engagement programme, tailored to the needs of diverse communities, promotes confidence, fosters wellbeing and encourages creativity through dance. Scottish Ballet nurtures the talent of tomorrow; supporting dancers, choreographers and a wide range of artists to make a lasting impact.