Firstly; a 10%abv Barley Wine is not your average re-badged, pun-titled offering. Neither does it have an awful label (I'm looking at you, Castle Rock). In fact, you wouldn't even know it's a 'Royal Wedding Beer' unless you bought it and read the tiny note on the label. So - What's it like? Well, if I had to boil it down to one word it's this: Powerful. Hopped entirely with Fuggles - which is interesting enough - this is an absolute bruiser. Dark Amber in colour, there's a massive alcohol nose, some faint citrus, and a little spice; more akin to a Christmas cake cinnamon/clove sort of vibe than serious heat. On the sip, it's tongue-coating and sweet; rounded enough but quite heavy. There's more of that cakiness, but the finish has a strong undercurrent of Orange and Tangerine. Finally, that alcohol smacks you in the mouth at the end.
It's not a bad beer at all; but it's big, big, big and one for sipping, for sure. However, I take my hat off to Durham for not cashing in using all the typical hooks, and brewing a beer that would sit alongside their core range to celebrate the nuptuals.