Through a combination of tactile experiences, Royal Salute‘s new whisky is brought to life in rarified and unique ways that tell the history of the house, and also allude to its future. Recently, we joined members of the Royal Salute team in Jodhpur, India, for the launch of two new permanent portfolio expressions: The Malt Blend and The Lost Blend. There, we met with both of the brand’s global ambassadors—world-class perfumer (and CH favorite) Barnabé Fillion and distinguished polo player Malcolm Borwick—to learn about the new liquids and how Royal Salute is breaking down stereotypes associated with drinking whisky.
Can you tell us why the two new expressions are so special?
Malcolm Borwick: It was a global launch of two new signature, continuant, 21-year-old blends that we are doing. One is called the Malt Blend, which is a unique, 21-year-old single malt blended in a Royal Salute style. The other one is called the Lost Blend, which is a blend using some casks of whisky that we have had in stock for many years, from the odd off-distilleries that now cease to exist. So, it’s taking the odd cask of distilleries that no longer exist and creating a blend using what was in stock. They’re both very different in tasting notes.
Barnabé Fillion: The signature [product, already on the market for decades] is about legacy, heritage, and tradition because it has the same taste [as the one] that was given to the Queen in 1953. The work of the team today is to make sure that you’re tasting that same whisky. The second one is the Malt Blend, which is the first time that we launch a pure malt blend, meaning there is no grain whisky in it. The third one is the Lost Blend, which is a whisky that has a bit more peat than we have in normal Royal Salute whisky.
What do you think people’s biggest misconception is about whisky prior to trying Royal Salute?
MB: The accessibility of the whisky. Most people’s assumption about whisky is related to a bad experience they had when they were young, when they piled into a bad whisky and it gave them a negative experience. That’s put them off whisky as a whole category. What we do with Royal Salute is try and introduce people to the whisky very gently. So, I would say, primarily it being a signature, it being a blend, it’s really smooth and really soft.
When you add water to it and you open the blend up, it makes it so much more accessible and it takes away the alcohol burden that people associate with whisky. One of the major things we’ve always tried to do is to break the cycle of whisky being “the old man at the bar” drink. We have an amazing range of cocktails that we’ve developed with Barnabé, who has created tasting notes using tea and rose petals and really nice, delicate flavors that people look at, [and] go, “Wow, there’s no spirit note in it but all the flavors of the whisky still come through.”
What would be one thing that you want people to take away from the Royal Salute brand?
BF: I think what we are doing now is building a community of people that love the finest things in life and love sharing it. We are continuing the same experience that was created in 1953. It is the best gift because it was given as a gift to the Queen by the godfather of the whisky industry, a brilliant mind. We are going to create the most memorable experiences for whisky lovers.
MB: We want to make memories, right? We want it to be something personal, because a memory is always personal, but something that you can open and share and say, I tried this in this environment, and it was truly memorable.
This is a special launch. Can you explain why the brand would debut their products in India, first?
BF: To make you have a strong experience in terms of synesthesia during the launch that we have here in Jodhpur, I wanted you to imagine for example, the malt blend is about geographies, about the extension of the brand, the exploration of the best ingredients, the best single malt that we can use in this blend from Scotland. But imagine it being a little bit more dreamy.
The Lost Blend is made from rare, oak casks, which are very important for creating peated whisky in general. The Lost Blend is about rarity and preciousness. It’s about a blend of single malts from distilleries that no longer exist. They are closed distilleries, so nobody else will have any of these tastes once we finish the batches.
MB: The expression of what we do here, over this week, is such an incredible experience for all the people that come from all over the world to enjoy it that we thought it was a brilliant reflection of what we would like Royal Salute to be and how we would like people to remember exactly this moment in time.
Images courtesy of Royal Salute