No stranger to very old whiskies, Royal Salute has created a limited-edition 52yo blend. Imbibe joined an intimate launch event last week as master blender Sandy Hyslop unveiled this rare whisky for the first time
The new Royal Salute The Time Series 52 Year Old Single Cask Finish, to give it its full name, was first blended in 2005, then racked by Hyslop into a single oak cask for finishing 14 years ago. The blend includes whiskies – some of which are now several years older than 52 – from Strathisla, Longmorn and Glen Keith, as well as a number of closed distilleries. Just 106 bottles are being made available worldwide.
‘This is a very big commitment by our company to lay down stock for this long. It’s the pinnacle of what we do,’ said Hyslop at the launch event in London.
The 52yo whisky was presented alongside the core Royal Salute 21yo Signature Blend, as well as the recently-launched Royal Salute Malts Blend and Royal Salute Lost Blend.
These latest additions to the range are particularly significant for Hyslop, as they’re whiskies that have been entirely created during his 36 years with the business. ‘It’s really special to be able to add something to the family permanently,’ he said.
But the star of the show was the venerable 52yo, and it didn’t disappoint. Remarkably, considering its age, there wasn't any overt woodiness to be found. Rather, it opened with sweet, tangy dried fruit like pear and apple, as well as some fresh fig, supported by some gingerbread spice and vanilla, and maybe a touch of peat. More spice followed on the palate, but this was all about sweet, rich wintery notes of dark toffee and mouth-coating oily caramel, lifted by a ripe citrus element.
‘It dances between sweet and spicy,’ said Hyslop. ‘I wanted this to be absolutely in the Royal Salute family, but way more luxurious than before.’
Hide Restaurant’s Ollie Dabbous provided a dinner for the occasion inspired by the 52yo, including a tartare of dry-aged Royal Estate venison and culminating in roast 52-day aged Shorthorn beef.
‘We generally hang it for 50 days, but we asked our butcher to do an extra two days,’ said Dabbous.
Hyslop and his team have plans to monitor their stocks and launch similar bottlings like this every year going forward.
Royal Salute The Time Series 52 Year Old is now available with an RRP of $30,000.