Royal Salute, the “king of whisky” and polo, “the sport of kings,” go hand-in-hand, as the luxury whisky was originally created to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the 21 gun salute that honored her. So, a two-day long polo-filled extravaganza was the perfect setting for the official launch of the brand’s latest entrant in its annual Polo Collection of whiskies.
Royal Salute’s 21 Year Old Beach Polo Edition was presented by Royal Salute Polo Ambassador, Malcolm Borwick, a former England Polo Team Captain and long-time Scotch whisky aficionado, at Coworth Park in Ascot, England. The luxury hotel, which is part of the Dorchester Collection, features luxurious accommodations amid world class polo grounds managed by Guards Polo Club. Coworth Park is the only hotel in the UK that provides its own polo fields and practice facilities (and was where Prince Harry spent the night before his wedding). Royal Salute is a division of Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard.
A black-tie dinner in which the floor of an intimate dining room was covered in sand to evoke a beach experience was the setting. Guests removed their shoes at the door in order to dine in bare feet during the elegant whisky-paired meal.
“Beach polo is a growing area of the sport—its growing in popularity around the world from the Miami Beach Festival, Ibiza, Sandbanks in England and Majorca, to Australia and Croatia,” explains Borwick. “It’s a really relaxed enjoyable environment to watch polo. So, when we thought about doing the second expression of the Royal Salute Polo edition, we thought we would find a nice light early afternoon whiskey to appeal to a more feminine audience in a contemporary setting, we looked around to see where else polo is growing and we came up with the concept of reflecting what is beach polo.”
Inspired by lingering bonfires, evocative salty winds and warm seaside air, the limited edition was crafted by Royal Salute Master Blender Sandy Hyslop. The whisky features a smoky flavor with soft peachy tones, rich fruits and sweet honey while it is packaged in a striking handcrafted turquoise blue porcelain flagon that bears Borwick’s signature and a distinct polo theme.
“It’s a really new direction for Royal Salute,” explains Borwick. “It’s a really bold, powerful but smooth whisky. You get that really long finish and the taste keeps coming and coming as it is not like an instant hit. It’s very comparable to a classy wine, like a really good Burgundy or a really good Bordeaux. The taste just comes and comes and that is what really differentiates it. You can sit and enjoy it over a long period of time.”
“We’ve been able to explore different flavors and different expressions of the 21-year-old blend, which is already a really unique whisky by adding in things we have not previously done,” Borwick says. “There is no other Royal Salute whisky that has this content of West Coast whiskies in it. On the nose it is really soft.” The tasting notes of this whisky will appeal to connoisseurs, adds Borwick.
Through its Royal Salute World Polo platform, the brand is a staple in the sport of polo as it has sponsored more than 15 international tournaments in the United Kingdom, the United States, Argentina, China and Korea, featuring some of the world’s best polo players.
Royal Salute has also supported and sponsored a variety of polo events that have featured Prince Harry and Prince William, both talented amateur polo players, while raising important funds for charities supported by the princes. In addition to Prince Harry’s Sentebale, other non-profits that have benefited from the polo charity events include Prince William’s Tusk Trust and The American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Beach Polo Edition launched as a Global Travel Retail exclusive on July 1 and will be available globally in September for a limited time at select luxury whisky retailers around the world for a suggested retail price of $140.
Click here to see related article on the ISPS Handa Polo Cup that featured the Royal Salute polo team led by Malcolm Borwick against Prince Harry’s Sentebale team at the Royal Berkshire Polo Club in Surrey, outside of London.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge