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Sleeping Beauty whisky cask awakens after 26 years to help Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet
The Sleeping Beauty cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky has awoken after 26 years to help Scottish Ballet.

A unique “Sleeping Beauty” cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky has awoken after 26 years with a royal seal of approval – all to help Scottish Ballet.

Laid down in 1994 at the Royal Deeside distillery, it has now produced 470 bottles as part of Diageo’s prestigious Casks of Distinction range, ready to be sold in an online auction from September 9 to 13.

All proceeds will go to the Scottish Ballet Endowment fund to help the national dance company as it recovers from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Scottish Ballet
The unique Sleeping Beauty single cask has produced 470 bottles of Royal Lochnagar whisky.

Bottle number one will include the original cask end painting of The Sleeping Beauty, by Scottish artist Norman Edgar, based on a Scottish Ballet dancer.

The money-raising auction was welcomed by Scottish Ballet’s patron, Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay.

Bringing whisky fairytale to life

He 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 and artistic director of Scottish Ballet, said the auction of the unique and highly collectable whisky would be a major boost.

He said: “Like all arts organisations, Scottish Ballet has endured a challenging 18 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.”

The cask was laid down at the instigation of Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden, who was at the time Chair of United Distillers and Vice Chair of Scottish Ballet as an investment in the future of the dance company.

Artist Norman Edgar at work on his painting which adorns the cask end.

He said it was deeply gratifying that the cask, which he presented to Scottish Ballet to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 1994, is being “awoken”.

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.

How to register for unique whisky auction

Norman 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!”

While bottle number one will include the unique cask end painting, the first 10 lots will also include extensive behind-the-scenes experiences with Scottish Ballet.

The Sleeping Beauty whisky has already been hailed as an exceptional dram.

The Sleeping Beauty whisky has already found favour among whisky aficionados.

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 ageing has developed layers of complexity.”

To find out more and register an interest in the auction, conducted by market leaders Whisky Auctioneer, visit

You can also register here

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