Scotch whisky company Royal Salute has added two new 21-year-old blends, “The Lost Blend” and “The Malts Blend”, to its permanent product line at a series of glamorous events in Seoul, Korea, the company’s largest, and one of the most important markets in the world.
A momentous occasion, it marked the first time a new permanent whisky has been added to Royal Salute’s 21-Year-Old range since its original “Signature Blend” was created as a gift for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Coronation in 1953. The new blends are the brainchild of Royal Salute’s Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop.
“We thought it would be interesting to see how much with the same age you can develop the diversity of taste profile,” says Mathieu Deslandes, Royal Salute Global Marketing Director. “Each of these three blends has its own personality and brings something different to the consumer. The more we can offer in terms of diversity of experiences, the more we reinforce the expertise of exceptional whiskies for our consumers.”
Hyslop was asked to create something completely different and spent two years developing the two new blends. “I wanted one to be subtle smoky and another to be a bridge between single malt and blend,” says Hyslop. “I felt the blended malts would be an extra experience for the Royal Salute blended drinkers but also something for people who enjoy single malt might try it and experience something way more complex than the normal single malt but with power and weight and richness of flavor.”
The classic Royal Salute’s Signature Blend has sweet vanilla, fruit flavors with an extra-long finish. “It is renowned for its fruit flavors,” he adds. “With these new blends, I wanted to stretch that in a couple of different directions.”
The Malts Blend does just that. Available in 15 domestic markets around the world (including Korea, France, China and United Kingdom), The Malts Blend is the first ever blended malt produced by Royal Salute. It is made with more than 21 single malts, representing the five whisky regions of Scotland. Each of the single malts were aged for a minimum of 21 years with the oldest being 25 years old.
“With the Signature Blend, you have hints of pears, but for the Malts Blend I wanted it to dial that up so it is incredibly concentrated with hints of peaches and sweet syrup and a rich pear flavor,” says Hyslop. “It will take you right back to your youth and old fashioned boiled sweets.” To add an intensity, sweetness and notes of vanilla, Hyslop used first-fill American oak barrels.
The Lost Blend, on the other hand, is a peated whisky carefully created by Hyslop, who handpicked the finest aged and rare whiskies that had been produced some of Scotland’s most renowned and historic, but no longer available or closed down distilleries, such as Imperial, Caperdonich (two types) and Dumbarton. All of the whiskies are at least 21 years old while the oldest blend is 27 years old.
The Lost Blend, which is exclusively available at Duty Free stores in airports around the world, has notes of sweet orange and peaches with a hint of pears, orange rind and hazelnuts with a long, smooth and smoky finish. To balance out the smokiness flavor, Hyslop used some first fill barrels but also used traditional hogsheads barrels (bourbon casks with new oak ends). Due to its concentration of flavor, The Lost Blend is ideal for making cocktails, especially high balls and works well with ice. “The smoke coming through is really interesting,” says Hyslop.
“We were all keen to make a Royal Salute expression with some smoke,” adds Hyslop. “But I was absolutely adamant that it had to be more sophisticated than a smoky blend.”
With each of the Royal Salute expressions, Hyslop set out to create blends with flavors that linger on the palette. “It is part of the character and signature of Royal Salute,” he explains. “Each of our expressions will take you a while to drink because they stay on the palette.”
“I can’t over emphasize how exciting this is for me,” says Hyslop. “To work my way up through the ranks to become the Master Blender for Royal Salute and then be able to create two new expressions under my tenure, is very exciting.”
All three 21-year-old blends are bottled in beautifully crafted porcelain flagons. The Lost Blend is packaged in a black flagon, while the Malts Blend is presented in a dark green flagon. The Signature Blend will continue to be presented in a dark blue flagon. The trio are a beautiful set when presented as an ensemble.
Each of the three 21-year-old blends are presented in cleverly redesigned packaging that features a whimsical and colorful depiction of the British Menagerie that were once housed in the Tower of London created by fine artist Kristjana S. Williams. Some airport-based retailers around the world are currently offering special gifts with purchase, including carry-on luggage pieces, neck rests and tote bags, all of which feature the menagerie design created by Williams.
The global market leader for whiskies aged over 21 years, Royal Salute, also referred to as the King of Whisky, has made innovations such as these a key priority for the company moving forward.
Expect more innovations like these in the future now that the Scotch Whisky Association recently relaxed its rules which expanded the range of casks used to mature Scotch whisky.
“This gives us a lot of flexibility in how we can bring innovation to life,” says Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and Chief Executive of Chivas Brothers Limited. “You will see a lot more innovation coming from us in the future as we explore different types of finishes, types of blending and single grain. A lot of innovation will come to play, but never compromising on quality.”