The House Baratheon entry into the Game of Thrones is a functional reprint of an existing bottle. But, interestingly, whilst other entries have you paying substantially more funky labels – the Royal Lochnagar comes in at around the same price as its clone - £37. The distillery is the smallest in Diageo’s stable, with the Royal Warrant dating back to 1848 and the liquid forming a key component of Johnnie Walker Blue label.
The bottling is delivered identically to its commonly available version at 40% ABV.
Nose: Orange juice alongside porridge and wallpaper paste. Quite malty. Quite mashy. Alongside toasted loaves, there’s gingerbread men and an array of unusual florals – camomile lotion, rose hips and sunflowers. After a short period of resting, this also develops some meatiness with fresh slices of honey-cured ham. All unusual, but quite intriguing.
Taste: Very dry and rather malty – rye bread, toast and barley sit alongside bracken, fallen leaves and holly. The mid palate adds some sweetness with bitter dark chocolate, whilst ginger, salt and pepper add some cask seasoning into the equation. Simple stuff.
Finish: Short, quite bookish – dry paper and old curtains.
There’s some oddness with this Royal Lochnagar 12 year old – but, you know what? I rather like it all the same. It’s not a carbon-copy apples and toffee entry-level whisky – so whilst the complexity levels are low, there are nevertheless points of difference which help it stand out a little from the pack.