The Duke of Rothesay dedicated a dram of his 70th birthday whisky to his future grandchild yesterday.
Prince Charles was visiting the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, near Crathie, a day after Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex revealed they are to be parents.
He was there to taste the contents of the cask, which was first gifted to him in 1988, but said he had toasted the future arrival “many times” and said he was wetting the baby’s head “in its absence”.
The duke was first given the whisky 30-years-ago, when he visited the site to mark the 140th anniversary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit there.
It will now be auctioned off to raise funds for the Prince’s Foundation, the duke’s charity, and the Carriage bistro and tearoom, which is housed in the restored Old Royal Station in Ballater.
The prince was met by Claire Fraser, brand home manager, before he marvelled at the original Edwin Landseer painting, the Illicit Still, which hangs in one of the rooms.
He was then re-acquainted with the manager’s father Ian – who has worked at as an operator for 30 years – and her gran Margaret Finnie, who has now retired but also worked at the distillery and met the duke on his two previous visits.
The duke chatted with the family and also looked at a photograph of himself meeting Mrs Finnie on a 1995 visit.
He was then invited to fill a new cask, the age of which is still to be determined, and sign it off.
The prince laughed as the liquid overflowed from the barrel and spilled onto the ground and offered people the chance to scoop it up.
And the duke was then taken through to another room where he tried the 1988 whisky, which will be bottled on his birthday next month.
He listened intently as the distillery’s tasting experts talked him through the different flavours, caramel, blackcurrant among them, and was surprised to learn that there was a hint of tinned pears in there as well.
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Staff then presented him with gifts, including a set of coasters made with copper from the wash still used back in 1988.
He was also given glasses made by an artisan trained through one of his grandmother’s charity schemes. They were presented in a box made of larch from the duke’s own Birkhall estate.
His visit ended in conversation with the various tour guides that the distillery employs, with Prince Charles asking them about their work and their background, before he unveiled a plaque commemorating the occasion.
A limited number of the bottles will be auctioned off in a ballot, with details still to be revealed, at an estimated price of £1,200 each.
The distillery has already partnered with the foundation to offer whisky training to hospitality students who will get practical training at the Carriage.