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VIDEO: Scottish Ballet awakens Sleeping Beauty whisky cask for fundraising auction

A unique ‘Sleeping Beauty’ cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky has been awakened after 26 years to help raise funds for Scottish Ballet.

470 bottles will be sold at an online auction next month, with bottle number one including the original cask end painting by Scottish artist Norman Edgar.

The unique cask was laid down in 1994 in celebration of Scottish Ballet’s 25th anniversary as a unique donation from Lord MacFarlane of Bearsden, who at the time was chair of United Distillers and vice chair of Scottish Ballet

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.

26 years later, the whisky has been bottled as part of Diageo’s Casks of Distinction range, and all proceeds from the auction will be put towards the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund.

Bringing a fairytale to life

Scottish Ballet’s CEO and artistic director Christopher Hampson said: “Like all arts organisations, Scottish Ballet has endured a challenging eighteen 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.”

Lord MacFarlane said: “It is deeply gratifying that this Royal Lochnagar cask, which I presented to Scottish Ballet in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 1994, is now being awoken.

“I am delighted that people will now be able to taste this extremely special whisky, but even more importantly the legacy of our donation will be continued through the funds the cask will raise for the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund.”

Scottish Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty cask (Pic: Gavin Smart)

The whisky has also received royal approval, with Scottish Ballet patron Prince Charles praising the idea.

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.”

All bottling and auction costs have been donated by Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer in support of Scottish Ballet.

James Mackay, Head of Rare & Exceptional Spirits at Diageo, said: “It is with great pride and pleasure that we have bottled ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ Cask of Distinction, beginning a new chapter in this beautiful story, and to offer lovers of Scottish craft and fine arts a chance to appreciate this unique single malt Scotch whisky, while benefiting Scottish Ballet.”

Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: “It’s a privilege to support the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund by hosting the online auction of this incredibly distinctive Royal Lochnagar release.

“This whisky has a story to tell and an important cause to support, so we are sure that both whisky and ballet lovers, as well as collectors around the world, will be excited to have the opportunity to acquire such an interesting expression.”

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