Thursday, January 10, 2008
Chivas Regal 21 yo Royal Salute
Blended Scotch Whisky
Dubbed by the marketing brains "the ultimate gift to powerful people", Chivas' Royal Salute was (apparently) originally blended from personally selected whiskies by Sam Bronfman (Seagrams, who took over Chivas in 1949). This whisky was first created to honour Queen Elizabeth II on her Corontation in 1953. The expression comes in three differently coloured Wade flagons chosen to represent the colours of the Coronation crown: sapphire, ruby, and emerald. It also comes complete with a velvety bag thing with a fancy rope enclosure ready to be used to hold your Scrabble pieces.
This whisky was awarded "Best Blended Scotch Whisky 2003" and received a gold medal at the 2005 and 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition. This whisky also won "Best of the Best" Scottish Blended Whisky 2005 by Whisky Magazine. Royal Salute has other expressions as well as the 21yo: 100 Cask Selecion and 38yo 'Stone of Destiny'.
Many folks, professional and amateur critics, have said that this whisky goes well with a fine cigar. Could just be the stale, decades-old association of old, premium whiskies matching with tobacco, but it might be worth heading over to Cigar Jack's Cigar Blog to see what stogie would be well-suited to accompany this dram.
In his write up of Seagrams and Chivas in The Whiskies of Scotland, Dr. R.J.S. McDowall quotes a Scottish Divine, writing, "Whisky is one of the best of God's creatures. It is only the abuse of it by man which is evil." At this price it would be hard to abuse, but I think the point is a good one.
* - please remember that in America the prices can vary incredibly. I think they call that FREEDOM.
Wonderfully complex flavour arrays working on different levels, but soft, fruity, dense, and utterly approachable. Berries, apricots, dried apples, and the sweetness of grains. Barley and rye. Perfumy, grassy. Some mulled wine spice, brazil nuts, almonds and vanilla.
Bright and peppery to start, turning toasty, creamy, and even smoky. Fresh ginger, parsley sprigs, then maple, cinnamon, cloves, apricots again, toasty oakiness, sherry, and gentle breaths of smoke. Long finish that feels weighty, heavy with nut oil and cream, but lifted by the fresh grassiness, fruit, and fragrant smoke.
There is a real "old-school scotch" flavour about this, and it is not just the velvet bag and ceramic flagon. I don't use the term 'scotch' very often because to me, 'scotch' is the Chivas or Ballantine's you steal from dad's/uncle's/grandpa's/neighour's booze shelf when you are young and drink it cuz it is strong and makes you feel different, without any regard for the subtle flavour complexities. Silly bag, bottle and all. But this stuff is a delight; soft, complex, incredibly well-integrated flavours, classy and classic. Wintery, fireside ready, and diverse enough to speak to you in any mood. Luxurious. Dense. Wonderful.
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