As a Canadian, I have always had a distantly warm affection for the royals. My grandmother still goes gaga for them (she’s seen the Queen twice, despite my hometown of Prince George only having 80,000 residents) and as a nation, we seem to like them quite a lot considering it is only through old colonial ties that this relationship even exists.

lochnagar_pagodaAnd so, as I journeyed up to Royal Lochnagar (RL) distillery, which sits just down the road from Balmoral Castle, I couldn’t help but think of the fact first off that my grandmother would probably be rather excited, not by the fact I was heading to a whisky distillery, but that I would be relaxing in the shadow of one of the most famous royal castles.

I’d gone up to the distillery as part of the Malt Advocates course, which the team at Diageo puts on each year for small groups in the whisky world. It had been on my calendar for months and I was giddy with excitement to go behind the scenes and get seriously geeky for a couple of days.

When the day finally came around, however, I was sick as a dog – the irony of going on an advanced whisky course when I couldn’t smell a thing was not lost on me. In my fuddled state, I also forgot my ca