Scottish Ballet, Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer have announced the release of 470 bottles from a single cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky.
This will be sold at auction from 9-13 September.
The unique cask was laid down in 1994 at the instigation of Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden, who was at the time chair of United Distillers and vice chair of Scottish Ballet.
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 and bottled as part of the prestigious Casks of Distinction range. 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.
All bottling and auction costs have been generously donated by Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer in support of Scottish Ballet.
The first auction lot will include bottle number one and the unique cask end painting by Norman Edgar depicting Princess Aurora, the sleeping beauty. The first 10 lots will also include exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences with Scottish Ballet.
HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and Patron of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘It is marvellous to know that this unique gift has been bottled and will now be offered for sale in support of the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund, ensuring a lifelong benefit to all those who love ballet and who love Scotland.’
Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘Like all arts organisations, Scottish Ballet has endured a challenging eighteen months unable to perform live, and this income will be vital in ensuring the company’s long-term future and capacity to inspire future audiences, on stage and beyond. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has played their part in bringing this whisky fairytale to life.’
James Mackay, head of rare and exceptional spirits at Diageo, said: ‘It is with great pride and pleasure that we have bottled The Sleeping Beauty Cask of Distinction, beginning a new chapter in this beautiful story, and to offer lovers of Scottish craft and fine arts a chance to appreciate this unique single malt Scotch whisky, while benefiting Scottish Ballet.’
Joe Wilson, head of auction content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: ‘It’s a privilege to support the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund by hosting the online auction of this incredibly distinctive Royal Lochnagar release. This whisky has a story to tell and an important cause to support, so we are sure that both whisky and ballet lovers, as well as collectors around the world, will be excited to have the opportunity to acquire such an interesting expression.’
Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden said: ‘It is deeply gratifying that this Royal Lochnagar cask, which I presented to Scottish Ballet in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 1994, is now being awoken. I am delighted that people will now be able to taste this extremely special whisky, but even more importantly the legacy of our donation will be continued through the funds the cask will raise for the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund.’
Artist Norman Edgar said: ‘A great fan of the artist Edgar Degas, I had never painted any ballet paintings and enjoyed creating the pose after watching a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in Glasgow, with the shape of
Aurora’s dress following the circular barrel ends. As a relatively young man at the time, I would also still be around to sample the result!’
Charles MacLean MBE, Master of the Quaich and whisky writer, said: ‘This is as good an example of Royal Lochnagar as I have ever tasted. It has retained the original distillery character, while long aging has developed layers of complexity.’
To find out more and register interest in the auction, visit https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/whisky