Royal Salute is one of those curious blended whiskies that everyone seems to know about, but no one ever seems to drink. I’ve oddly never sampled a dram from the porcelain (not glass!) flagon, which calls the Strathisla distillery its home.
Beyond the decanter, all expressions of Royal Salute have a gimmick, and a pretty good one: Even though most Royal Salute expressions don’t carry an age statement, no spirit in any Royal Salute bottling is less than 21 years of age. That’s right: Royal Salute 21 is the entry level whisky.
This new release, Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve, is actually the second whisky up the ladder. Here’s what’s inside:
Royal Salute has selected rare and precious whiskies with an exceptionally long finish to blend and marry together in 88 casks to form the inaugural batch. Using a unique process called Circular Blending, Royal Salute has committed to including this original blend in each subsequent The Eternal Reserve release for decades to come.
Each time a new batch is unveiled, half of the blend will be re-casked in the Royal Salute Vault to conserve the precious liquid created in 2015. Thus, the original blend is forever preserved by this perpetual re-circulation – creating a smooth, voluptuous whisky that justifies its original name: uisge beatha (the water of life).
So, for those doing the math, this is going to be a solera release, and this is the first edition. From here on out, every Eternal Reserve bottling (which the company says should be an annual release) will have a little bit of this 2015 release in it… just less and less each year.
So, let’s give the inaugural bottling of The Eternal Reserve a spin, shall we?
Malty, classic blended Scotch notes feature on the nose, plus notes of roasted nuts, a bit of citrus, some mushroom, and some wood influence. On the tongue, more of the same, backed up with a bit of coconut, some graham cracker, and notes of canned pears and baked apples. The finish echoes a bit of that mushroom, impressively lingering with an almost musky, slightly smoky character. All in all, it adds a little nuance to an otherwise well-crafted and enjoyable spirit.
A- / $180 / royalsalute.com