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Glenury Royal





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Glenury Royal

Glenury Royal is a seldom seen distillery and yet it was one of only three to be granted the honour of the suffix Royal; courtesy of King William IV. Since its closure it has become an open secret that Glenury Royal single malts age beautifully; this is a Highland distillery known for producing malts of elegance and power. The few older stocks that remain are notable for their ability to remain vigorous and rich when lesser drams would have long faded. As the mysteries of time have exerted their influence on this solitary cask, great complexity has developed. It is not for nothing that good 50 year old whisky is regarded as something of a holy grail for single malt collectors. Few make it this far; those that do are very special indeed.

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Records suggest that The Duke of Gordon founded a distillery on the Ury estate in the early 1820s in an attempt to eradicate the illicit alcohol trade in the area. It didn’t last long. Soon after it was launched it burnt to the ground, possibly an act of arson by the disgruntled moonshiners. Captain Robert Barclay is credited with founding the Glenury distillery near his home in picturesque Glen Ury in 1825. This colourful character was a leading member of the Fancy, a Regency group that wagered vast sums on sporting contests. In 1808 he won 1000 guineas when he walked 1000 miles in 1000 hours (one mile each and every hour). He was also a former member of parliament with royal connections. King William IV granted his royal patronage to Glenury, allowing a ‘Royal’ suffix to be added to the name, an honour only ever bestowed upon three distilleries. In 1837 it received further royal recognition from the newly crowned Queen Victoria, becoming the official ‘Distiller to Her Majesty.

It exchanged hands several times in the intervening years - periods of upgrades and prolonged closures followed. Glenury Royal was one of the last distilleries to be powered entirely by water. The mill wasn’t replaced by electricity until a major reconstruction project in 1965/66. It finally closed its doors in March 1985 after falling prey to the wave of closures then sweeping the Scotch whisky industry. The buildings were demolished, and the land developed for housing – an ignominious end for this once noble Highland distillery. Its rich tasting malt is an uncommon sight these days, but its scarcity and the tremendous aging potential have sparked a renewed interest from collectors and connoisseurs alike.

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