Royal Salute tasting: an invitation from the Duke of Argyll

Hosted by Torquhil Ian Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll, and the whisky expert Philip Huckle, each tasting will be an intimate and memorable occasion for a maximum of four people. Tickets are limited, so please book at your earliest convenience via email to ilbar-london@bulgarihotels.co.uk — see below for the dates and other information.

Whether they are connoisseurs or recent converts to whisky, the guests will be the first in Britain to taste Royal Salute 30 Year Old, and will enjoy a rare chance to share a dram or two with the Duke, Royal Salute’s global representative, and Mr Huckle, one of Britain’s most distinguished whisky experts. After being served a Royal Salute 21 cocktail on arrival at the hotel and introduced to their hosts, guests will be guided through the whisky’s fascinating history and Royal Salute’s reputation as the king of luxury blended Scotch. Then comes the centrepiece of the event, a tasting of the 30 Year Old.

Originally created in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, who was honoured with a traditional 21-gun salute, Royal Salute is steeped in tradition. It is a careful blend of matured malt and grain whiskies — even the youngest is matured for a minimum of 21 years. But it has a youthful, forward-looking streak too, pushing the art of blending with ambitious new whiskies. It’s also very proud to sponsor a calendar of more than 15 international polo tournaments every year, including events in Britain, Argentina, China and South Korea. Polo, the oldest surviving team sport in the world, still booming in the modern era, is the perfect metaphor for the values that still inspire Royal Salute.

There is something to toast, too — the launch in the UK of the Royal Salute 30 Flask Edition by the Greco-British designer Afroditi Krassa. ‘While all other whisky brands are content with glass, Royal Salute houses its whisky in precious porcelain,’ she says of her stunning handmade work. The limited edition includes an opaque blue porcelain flask, an elegant matching funnel and a wooden serving tray, and only 130 are available for purchase. It will appeal most to those who appreciate the ritual of whisky-drinking and Royal Salute’s contemporary allure. In other words, modern gentlemen (and ladies) who are always on the go, but don’t forget to treat themselves: the Spectator Life reader, or perhaps the polo spectator.

But beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder: it’s also on the palate. Inside the limited edition flask is Royal Salute’s rich, round and silky 30 Year Old — aged, of course, for a minimum of three decades, and blended by Royal Salute’s Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop. He selected some of the finest whiskies from the Royal Salute collection, including some precious old malts from now-silent distilleries.

Single malts from Longmorn and Strathisla are at the heart of it all, and they impart a creamy smoothness. Blended with different grain whiskies from Strathclyde which knit together all the flavours, this Scotch rests in the silence and darkness of Royal Salute’s cellars, in both American and European oak casks. The American casks give the blend its sweet, toffee and vanilla aromas, while the European casks add richness and spicy notes. The result is remarkable, admired by connoisseurs for its rich and masculine taste and a refined and adventurous nose, with notes of peaches in golden syrup, thick caramel toffee and hints of cinnamon and spice. In short, this is a very special whisky indeed.

Event details: a table will be reserved at the hotel at 5.30pm and 7.15pm on 21, 22, 28 and 29 June. Tickets cost £150 per person and if two tickets are booked together that will close the session to others. Each session will last about 45 minutes to an hour. Royal Salute 30 Years Old is available at the Bulgari Hotel at £150 per 50ml.


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