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Everything You Need To Know About The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend

The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend has remained unchanged since 1953. Credit: Royal Salute

In my role as Director of Blending and Inventory at Chivas Brothers, I oversee the creation and ongoing continuity of all single malts and blended whiskies across our iconic brands, including Royal Salute

I’ve been in the industry for 40 years now, and it’s a privilege to play a part in the crafting of these renowned spirits. I love the variety of my job because it really allows me to engage with colleagues at all levels of the business and nothing gives me greater pleasure than discussing whisky and sharing my passion with fellow enthusiasts.

The Royal Salute 21 Year Old is one of my favorite whiskies to discuss. Since its creation in 1953, the composition has remained unchanged, and its popularity has undoubtedly grown. 

If you have ever been curious about the composition of our Royal Salute 21 Year Old, or if you are looking for serving suggestions, read on. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend. 

1.  How is Royal Salute’s 21 Year Old Signature Blend made, and what makes it so good?

Blending a whisky is undoubtedly a form of art. Developing a whisky of the caliber of The Signature Blend especially takes a significant amount of time, practice, and a deep understanding of flavor. It’s aged for a minimum of 21 years, but before we reach the maturation stage, the process involves sampling hundreds of casks and formulating pilot blends to finetune the flavor. 

It’s essential that the influence of the cask used for maturation always complements the distillate, rather than overpower the blend. This is what gives Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend the rich, fruity, and sweet flavors for which it’s known and loved, but it also provides the blend with that balance and smoothness.

Any batch of Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature blend we create must be repeatable – not just once or twice. It needs to set standards for the future to ensure consistency across decades. Therefore, we must have a steady inventory and use high-quality casks to maintain a blend’s unique flavor and quality over time. Classic and unchanged since 1953, the Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend was created to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. More than 70 years later, it has stood the test of time.

2. What is blended whisky?

In its broadest sense, blended whisky is a combination of different grain and malt whiskies sourced from different distilleries. With blended whisky, what we are striving to do is take lots of different flavors and bring them together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. I like to compare it to cooking; you have your base ingredients, and the magic happens when you bring these all together – creating something complex, flavorsome, and exciting.

3. How should you enjoy The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend?

The 21 Year Old Signature Blend can be enjoyed in numerous ways. Credit: Royal Salute

In short, there’s no hard and fast rule. It’s highly versatile: you can enjoy it neat, with water, served with ice, or as a base for a delicious cocktail. Whisky is a drink to be enjoyed by anyone.

4. Cocktail ideas?

There are a few cocktails that taste delicious with The Signature Blend as a base. My personal favorite is The Kensington, which is made with rose water-infused honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, and soda water. Served in a tumbler, it’s a real treat! 

The Kensington

  • 50ml/1.75fl oz Royal Salute 21yo Signature Blend
  • 25ml/0.9fl oz rosewater-infused honey syrup
  • 15ml/0.5fl oz fresh lemon juice
  • 50ml/1.75fl oz fresh soda water

Method

  • Combine all ingredients except the soda water
  • Shake with ice and strain into glass over ice
  • Top with fresh soda and stir gently

5. Can you drink it straight?

Most definitely! If you decide to enjoy The Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend straight, make sure you ‘nose’ your whisky. It’s so important not to overlook this step.

While our mouths unlock the appreciation for texture, temperature, and taste, they are limited to sweet, sour, acid, and salty sensations. Our noses, with around 400 sense receptors, can detect thousands of different smells, which your brain then works to associate with a particular word or nostalgic occasion. By nosing your whisky before tasting it, you’re giving yourself a preview of what’s to come.

Royal Salute’s 21 Year Old Signature Blend will give off aromas of sweet pears and citrus fruits, balanced with the fragrance of summer flowers, while aromas of sweet vanilla and nutty oak flavor will emerge, along with subtle notes of sherry and smoke.

6. Is there a right or wrong way to enjoy it?

I think it’s important to make the point that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy whisky, and this applies to The Signature Blend. There’s a misconception that ‘serious’ whisky drinkers only drink it neat. If I’m drinking whisky with my friends, I can guarantee that we’ll be drinking it several different ways.

There’s a new generation of whisky drinkers who are far more experimental and like to try and enjoy their whisky in different ways and I’m all for it. I’d encourage anyone starting on their whisky journey to experiment and serve it up in different ways to discover how you like it best.

For the Royal Salute 21 Year Old Signature Blend specifically, I’d suggest trying it neat first and adding a little water if you find it too strong. I tend to add 20% water to my whisky, but that’s just my personal preference and others might enjoy it differently. For me, doing this lets me appreciate the myriad of flavors in this exceptional expression, but – as I said earlier – the beauty is in its versatility.

Click the image to buy The Signature Blend today. Credit: Royal Salute
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Sandy Hyslop

Sandy is Director of Blending and Inventory at Chivas Brothers, overseeing the creation of all single malts and blended whiskies across our iconic brands, including Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute. Sandy has 40 years in the industry under his belt, and loves the variety afforded by his job. There is nothing Sandy loves better than discussing whisky and sharing his passion with fellow enthusiasts.

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