Originally launched in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Royal Salute whisky is named after the 21-gun salute that honoured her investiture, and its first bottling was accordingly aged for 21 years. Further special releases followed, such as the 50-Year-Old in 2003 to mark the Golden Jubilee, and a “Diamond Jubilee” 21-Year-Old in 2013 to commemorate Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne.
Now a 21-Year-Old (£150 for 75cl), in a new limited edition special gift pack, blends aged malt and grain whiskies that have been matured at Royal Salute owner Chivas Brothers’ distilleries. Amber in colour with a sweet citrus fragrance, it has a luxuriously smooth texture that cloaks hidden depths of toffee apples and notes of liquorice and ginger, while a hint of fresh pears dissolves into warm, spicy whiffs of autumn bonfire and a dry nutty finish.
Bottled in a porcelain flagon that bears cannons and a lion’s head as a tribute to the gun salutes fired from the Tower of London for royal celebrations, it comes with a dinky miniature 5cl version, while the gift pack features a blue and gold interior print that pays homage to The Regent’s Banquet, a gluttonous blowout hosted by the future George IV at Brighton Pavilion 200 years ago, in January 1817. Prepared by the world-famous Marie-Antoine Carême, it was as highly flavoured as the 21-Year-Old, featuring 127 dishes including jellies and custards dyed using sandalwood for red, saffron for yellow, boiled blood for black – as well as a 4ft-high Turkish marzipan mosque.