Did you know: Royal Salute is the only whisky brand whose core lineup starts at 21 years of age and gets older from there? The Signature Blend, reviewed here, was originally created for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 and it remains the same today, still carrying its 21 year old age statement.
The blender (part of Chivas Brothers) provides little information about what’s in the blend, so like the monarch herself might have said, let’s keep calm and carry on.
For such a well-aged whisky — or perhaps because it’s so well-aged — Royal Salute 21 is incredibly soft and approachable. Too much so? You decide: Let’s start of course with the nose, which sees rolling cereal notes touched with some lighter earth tones, a bit of chimney soot, and, with time in glass, a sprinkle of pencil shavings. There’s a touch of a canned green bean quality that emerges later on, but this is gentle and inoffensive, mainly serving to add some gravity to the aromatics.
Sweeter than expected on the tongue, the whisky initially serves as a showcase for malty grains, sweet cereal notes complemented by a touch of citrus, banana, and sesame oil notes. Crisp and bready, the whisky evokes many of the hallmarks of blended Scotch, leaning into roasted nuts and Christmas spices, and nougat. The more savory qualities evident on the nose aren’t well represented on the palate, though the finish is chewy and thoughtful, evoking a slight note of barbecue smoke and some toasty barrel char.
It’s certainly good stuff for an “entry level” whisky — though it never really evokes its 21 years of age. All the same, we will miss you, Liz!