Treat time with a sample of the Royal Salute 21 year old from Chivas Brothers, which I purchased whilst visiting Strathisla distillery. Yet again despite being on tour I’m thinking of the Whisky Rover website in an area where a strong mobile signal is often missing.
I’ve not had much experience with the Royal Salute range, with this particular bottling – or should I say porcelain flagon – setting you back £110 as you can see from the above photograph, or cheaper if you shop around. This isn’t a bargain priced or mid-level blended Scotch whisky. Rather a luxurious alternative with the range itself actually beginning life at 21 years of age.
The inspiration for the range came from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd June 1953. Whilst her majesty took to the throne at age 25, the Chivas Master Blender of the period was suitably impressed to create a new luxurious expression. The initial inspiration may have been a new figurehead for the country, but it was the 21 gun salute that triggered his eureka moment.
Each Royal Salute comes in a distinctive flagon made from Cornish clay and handcrafted before being filled with the precious liquid. I did not know this until now, but the flagons come in three different colours (ruby, emerald, sapphire) that represent the jewels used on the Coronation crown. Spot the Tweed blogger in the background…
Bottled at 40% strength, I’m fighting the temptation to label the range as a posher Bells Decanter option that also play on Royal events and a quality spirit. Generally the Royal Salute editions are 21 years old, with special editions to mark occasions appearing as a 38 year old or the hundred cask selection that featured whiskies up to 40 years of age.
Remember, 21 will be the youngest age of the whisky in this flagon and its more than possible that older whiskies will be blended to hopefully achieve the luxurious experience Chivas proclaim. Time for the only conclusive test then…
Nose: more honey, almonds and a hint of cinnamon spicing. Given time in the glass I’m reminded of cough syrup to some extent; sweet and sickly. A sweet citrus orange freshness, splashed with lime cordial and then its gone.
Taste: classic Speyside sweet arrival then a quick fade before a prolonged orange and chocolate finish. I need to back it up and start again; oats and cereals, a buttery aspect and plenty of honey laced with vanilla.
Overall: I do like these ceramic vessels, they’ve grown on me during this review. This is a classic tumbler whisky. Goddam, I hate this word but I’m going to have to say it – smooth – its up there with grassy as one of most disliked whisky summaries. A piece of wood sanded to within an inch of its life. It has through engineering become a shadow of its component parts; a whisky without balls or any interesting character. This is frankly an annoying waste of Tormore which deserves better.