Deeside Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old by John Begg from 1970s (75cl, 40%)
Bottlings like this one were labelled simply Lochnagar as of 1974.
Royal Lochnagar is so-called after it was bestowed with a Royal Warrant by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria following a visit in 1848. 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.
Prior to the formation of United Distillers in 1988, the distilleries within the DCL portfolio were often licensed out to its blending companies, in this instance it was former owners, John Begg Ltd. This is a a 1980s example of their 12 year old bottling. This replaced the Haig's Glenleven blended malt within the Ascot Malt Cellar range, an early DCL precursor to the Classic Malts range launched later that decade.
When United Distillers succeeded DCL, one of their first orders of business was to reclaim control of the distribution of their single malts. They relaunched the Royal Lochnagar brand in 1988 (not as part of the Classic Malts however), bringing back this 12 year old alongside the new Selected Reserve, which they pitched as the single malt equivalent of their premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label. That was also the moment that the "Royal" prefix returned to the distillery name.