Recap: Royal Salute Whisky Dinner at the Sunset Marquis’ Cavatina
Recently I was invited to try Royal Salute whisky. This Scotch whisky’s youngest expression starts out at 21 years while other whiskies have no age statement or might start at 10 or 12-years-old. If you start with the 21, how can you go wrong? And paired with an excellent dinner at Cavatina, the restaurant at the Sunset Marquis, it was a great night. It was made even better by meeting the brand ambassador for Royal Salute, Torquhil Ian Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll. He entertained us with stories of growing up in a castle (yes, there are 5 ghosts!) and how he got into the whisky business (his dad worked in whisky as well).
Royal Salute is blended from Chivas Regal stock. It was launched in 1953 in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation which included a 21 gun salute. Rumor is there is a blend for every new royal baby that gets mixed and left to age. I wonder if I can taste Prince Harry’s whisky one day…
Our dinner included a hamachi amuse bouche. The delicate fish went well with the sparkling wine we started off with first.
Then came the pours of Royal Salute 21. It’s extremely smooth and went very well with the burrata and proscuitto course.
I love the porcelain flagons of the whisky. The Duke admonished, they are not simply “bottles.” While I admired the blue of the 21, we all gasped at the 38 which comes crowned with a jewel. It is also known as the Stone of Destiny after the coronation stone of Scottish kings. The flagons also come in red and green. The three colors represent sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Apparently blue is common here while there are fewer bottles, ahem, flagons in green aren’t imported as often.
We had the 38 with the maple leaf duck which tamed the wild flavors of the duck and complemented the cherry notes in the sauce. I started dreaming about going to Scotland to see ghosts and drink lots and lots of whisky. There’s something quite romantic about Scotch whisky and Scotland itself. The flagon for the 21 even features an embossed image of Robert the Bruce, the great Scottish king in the early 1300s.
We ended our evening with the Duke with creme fraiche cheesecake. There may have been a silly toast as well. Although the Scots don’t have silly toasts (or do they?). Usually you would stand on your chair or even on the table but we just stood up, finished our glasses in one shot and raise our glasses upside down on our head.
© The Minty 2015