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The Good Life

A Toast to the Regent
Pernod Ricard's special edition of Royal Salute 21 Year Old whisky is nothing short of a collector's piece

Royal Salute 21 Year Old as a luxury whisky blend was created in 1953, as a gift to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This year’s limited edition Royal Salute Regent’s Banquet gift pack was created in partnership with British wallpaper designer, Angela Groundwater. It pays homage to the Regent’s Banquet, one of the earliest recorded lavish banquets held in the formal royal residence, the Brighton Pavilion on England’s South Coast, 200 years ago (the story goes that the Prince Regent, later George IV, threw this posh party for Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia on his visit to the kingdom). This gift pack holds Royal Salute’s signature whisky – Royal Salute 21 Year Old – and a fine crystal glass, which further adds to its ultimacy. The blue and gold packaging is reminiscent of the banquet hall in Brighton on that historic day.

Evoking the Regent’s Banquet is reflective of the brand’s esteemed royal heritage and commitment to elevated experiences. The Royal Salute formula uses many different malt and grain whiskies from all over Scotland. They are matured in different cask types to give the rich and complex character of the 21 Year Old blend. “The exact formula and number of whiskies used to formulate the blend is confidential!” says Sandy Hyslop, Royal Salute Master Blender.

What foods go with this unique scotch, say in India? “Royal Salute has a wonderful rich and sweet character and is extremely versatile when matched with foods,” says Sandy. “I would happily pair Royal Salute with a starter of smoked salmon mousse. It also works perfectly with main course chargrilled steak and finally this whisky would complement a rich sherry trifle.”

One may well ask: how does a luxury brand sustain consistency of flavour and brand signature? Strathisla single malt is one of the foundation malts in the blend and gives the whisky its rich fruity heart. Maintaining the consistency of Royal Salute starts 21 years before the whisky is ready for blending. This involves making sure the new whiskies distilled are of the correct quality and the appropriate top quality casks are selected for the 21 (plus) years of maturation. Many people do not realise that the blender’s job is to maintain the quality of the new whiskies from all the brand’s distilleries and select the appropriate casks for maturation to guarantee the future quality and continuity decades later. Consequently, all the mature whiskies also need to be individually assessed, making sure the whisky is the correct flavour profile and samples are drawn at every stage of the process.

What are the blends that are even rarer than Royal Salute? The ‘Royal Salute 62 Year Old’ is an extremely special rare whisky produced in limited quantities every year. “This whisky goes perfectly with a rich, dark chocolate fondant dessert,” says Sandy.

The advice from Sandy Hyslop, Royal Salute Master Blender, is that connoisseurs of Royal Salute should never be frightened to add a little water to the whisky to open up the flavours or even add some ice. This will allow one to enjoy and appreciate even more of the myriad of flavours in this blend which are brought to the fore with this addition of water. It also makes the whisky silkier on the palate, which balances perfectly with food. (The gift package comes with a laser-cut lid design, a blue ceramic Wade decanter and a crystal glass.) Price: 15,300 (Delhi).

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