70 years is a significant milestone to mark in any culture: in the East, a 70th birthday is one of the most important ones that a person can celebrate; in the West, platinum is used to mark the occasion, symbolising such noble qualities such as strength, rarity, and endurance. So imagine the momentousness of a monarch commemorating a reign of 70 years—Queen Elizabeth II’s, to be more specific.
For luxury whisky label Royal Salute, whose history is closely entwined with that of the British monarch (the brand was launched in 1953 to commemorate the Queen’s coronation), their celebration plans were naturally befitting that of royalty.
Kicking off the celebrations at the Tower of London, the brand hosted an intimate dinner for 150 guests from various countries, transforming the Banqueting Suite at the New Armouries into a floral wonderland and the perfect backdrop to unveil their latest creation: the Royal Salute Platinum Jubilee Edition.
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Blended with high-aged whiskies from more than seven silent stills, and finished for over two years in tawny port (which is known as the queen of vintage ports, and was served at the Queen’s coronation banquet dinner) casks. The result? A deliciously dark elixir boasting gorgeous fruity notes on the nose, a sweet, caramel palate and spicy finish that lasts long after your first sip.
The design of the boxes and decanters also pay tribute to the Queen: 147 collectible decanters made from handblown Dartington crystal features one of seven brooch designs inspired by the Queen’s personal collection, and are housed in one of seven boxes with colours drawn from her colourful wardrobe.
The Platinum Jubilee boxes and decanters inspired by seven of Queen Elizabeth II’s brooches and her colourful outfits
Of course, the pressure to create a whisky worthy of its royal muse was almost monumentally huge. And this pressure fell to one man: Sandy Hyslop, Royal Salute’s director of blending and inventory, who was tasked with blending the rare celebratory whisky that reflected the historic moment.
“You can’t go back and start it again, so you’ve got one shot at getting it right,” Hyslop tells me the day after Royal Salute’s fabulous Platinum Jubilee dinner at the Tower of London. “You’ve got to make sure you’ve got all the right plans in place.”
Here, Hyslop talks us through the intensive process of creating the Royal Salute Platinum Jubilee Edition whisky, how best to enjoy it, and his most memorable royal moment associated with Queen Elizabeth.