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you can call it Infamous Complaint

It fell from the sky hitting the shoulder of the late Queen Elizabeth II.


The Queen had been hiking the fields and hills near the Dee River near Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands in early 1995. The Queen did not move a chunk of space debris or an engine bolt removed from an aircraft above.

It was a rage. One dead

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The chicken took off. But then its creator – and the queen – met practically at that very moment, falling from the air.

The queen was stunned and slightly injured. But otherwise, don’t get hurt. This is ironic because one of the Queen’s favorite tips was The Famous Grouse, a mixed Scotch Whisky Produced at the distillery Glenturret in the southern Scottish Highlands.

It is not clear whether the bird that struck the queen was actually the famous grouse.

But this event made that particular bird perhaps the most famous grouse in all of Scotland.

Outside of whiskey, of course.

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The Famous Grouse was one of the Queen’s treasured dram whiskeys. His late sister Princess Margaret enjoyed The Famous Grouse so much that a few bottles were often sent ahead while traveling. Britain’s embassies around the world also knew to stock The Famous Grouse in case Margaret was passing.

Queen Elizabeth granted The Famous Grouse a “Royal Warrant” in the 1980s. It is a special status that the Crown awards to certain businesses and firms for providing goods and services to the Royals.

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The British seem to have taken cues from the Queen. The Famous Grouse has historically been the best-selling Scotch in the United Kingdom.

The famous grouse was known as “the grouse” until the early 20th century. Then the name was changed.

And “The Grouse” became famous.

Other malts including The Famous Grouse come from Highland Park in the Orkney Islands to the north, Macallan in the Speyside area, and the aforementioned Glenturret.

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While The Famous Grouse may represent one of the most put-together plays at Balmoral’s Salon, the Queen and her predecessors also embraced more “local” libation.

A mile to the south-east of Balmoral Castle lies the distillery Royal Lochnagar. “Royal” tells you everything you need to know.

Prince Albert bought the land around Balmoral for his wife in the mid-19th century. Queen Victoria, The dale and alley of the Scottish Highlands gave the royals a chance to escape from public view in London. It is said that Queen Victoria liked the expressions produced at the new distillery down the road from Balmoral.

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Victoria granted a Royal Warrant to Royal Lochnagar in 1848.

Royal Lochnagar, age 12, is a creamy, custard-esque expression you’ll often find on American shelves.

The multinational firm Diageo is today the owner of Royal Lochnagar. Diageo prepares everything from Captain Morgan to Guinness to Pimm’s. It also has 28 distilleries in Scotland, each of which helps to make one of the most famous blended Scotch on the planet: Johnnie Walker.

At Johnnie Walker you can get a few drops of whiskey made from Kaol Ila, Taliskar and Cardahu. But you can bet that even Johnnie Walker has some splashes of Royal Lochnagar.

Diageo produces a special “Game of Thrones” set of whiskeys from several of its Scottish distilleries. One of them was the 12-year-old Malt “House of Baratheon”, from the series which pays homage to the Stormlands on the east coast of Westeros.

Queen Elizabeth admires the Scottish Highlands and the surrounding plains of Balmoral. He and his family used to return to Balmoral every year from July to October. An accomplished sportsman, the late Queen enjoyed riding horses in the Highlands. He loved fishing and even hunting deer.

But the malts of the Scottish Highlands aren’t the only drama enjoyed by the royals.

Next, travel southwest to the Inner Hebrides Islands. There, you’ll find Islay, which bills itself as “The Whiskey Isle.”

When it comes to whiskey, there are essentially “two napa” in Scotland. Speyside is the larger area to the north. And then there’s Islay.

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Bowmore (pronounced boh-MOHR, with emphasis on the second syllable) is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. The government first licensed Bowmore in 1779 – although it is believed that Bowmore was distilling illegal whiskey before that.

Bowmore only produced a special cask for Queen Elizabeth in 1980. But it was never bottled until 2002. Known as the Queen’s Cask, the Crown will auction off some of the bottles each year for charity.

The United Kingdom will undoubtedly witness many new customs and traditions during the reign of King Charles III.

This includes Scotch whiskey preferences.

Highland malts like Royal Lochnagar and The Famous Grouse are more floral and sweet. But Islay’s expressions are upbeat with notes of peat, smoke, charcoal, rope and even nautical themes.

Laphroaig (pronounced luh-FROYG) is located at the southern tip of Islay. Laphroaig is one of the most exclusive nose and palette productions in the industry. There’s a little banana, clove and surprising sweetness in a pinch of Laphroaig. But Laphroaig is a powerful malt. Laphroaig devotees sometimes compare its taste to magic markers, bandages, iodine, beachside campfires, and seaweed.

You’ve actually pictured Lafroague’s essays as “wet math homework ink from a 1970s elementary school mimeograph machine”.

Laphroaig 10 is the standard release from this distillery and is readily available in the United States.

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King Charles – as Prince of Wales – granted Laproague a Royal Warrant in 1994. Charles in particular has visited Islay and Laphroaig on several occasions. And while in recent years Charles has rehearsed at Lafroaig’s rival on Islay, Ardbeg, Royal Lochnagar and the northernmost distillery on the mainland, Wolfburn, Laphroaig is said to be the sovereign’s favorite play.

Specifically, Laproague 15 – if you can find it.

They can be royalty. But a visit from a member of the royal family to the distillery doesn’t always have a royal effect.

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Queen opened the visitor center in 1997 at the brand new Isle of Arran Distillery. It was the first legal distillery to open on Aran in 160 years. Elizabeth left for Eran on her final voyage to the royal yacht Britannia, now dry-docked in Leith, Scotland.

The distillery displays a photograph of Britannia, steaming on the island via the Firth of Clyde on its way to Arran.

But the Queen’s visit may not have resonated.

During a visit to Aran in 2018, this reporter asked to see the location of the plaque commemorating the Queen’s pilgrimage. Several distillery workers ran around to see if they could locate the bronze panel recounting Elizabeth’s visit.

Alas, embarrassed workers could not.

I can only guess one thing:

Perhaps this plaque was taken out by some infamous complainant.