Whisky and the Royal Family

The British Royal Family are probably used to the finer things in life, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that some members are known to be partial to a wee dram on occasion.



 In fact, King George IV was so fond of the amber nectar that he wasn’t particularly fussed if it came from one of the many illicit stills operating in the early 19th century. However, in 1823 he passed the Excise Act that made it profitable to produce whisky legally, paving the way for the modern industry. 


Subsequent monarchs have cemented this relationship with the whisky industry, awarding Royal Warrants to brands such as Chivas and Johnnie Walker, as well as Brackla, Glenury and Lochnagar distilleries. Of course, in more recent times whisky makers have been keen to capitalise on this relationship by producing limited edition expressions to celebrate royal marriages, births and anniversaries.

Many of these, such as Macallan’s 2012 release for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee (lot 258) and Bowmore’s 1980 Vintage celebrating Her Majesty’s visit to the distillery (lot 361), have become sought after collector’s items.


Perhaps most famously, King Charles III granted the Islay distillery of Laphroaig a Royal Warrant in 1994 while he was still Prince of Wales. Such is his affinity; Laphroaig even produces specially labelled expressions for his Highgrove Estate. The final lot (455) in our May whisky auction is a pair of Laphroaig 15 Year Olds drawn from a cask that was presented to the (then) Prince on his 50th Birthday. The 270 bottles yielded were sold to raise money for the 2000 Erskine Appeal, supporting former British servicepeople. However, only a small handful were signed by Charles himself, making this pair an extraordinary proposition.



McTear’s is the longest-established auctioneer of whisky in the world. Entries are invited for this international auction. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact our specialist on 0141 810 2880 or whisky@mctears.co.uk

Ewan Thomson

Ewan Thomson

Ewan Thomson

Whisky & Wine

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