Royal Salute 21yo Beach Polo Edition

Royal Salute Beach Polo Header Article

Do you know your chukkas from your mallets? Or your divot stomping from your ride offs? Then read on my friend, for this article is going to be right up your tailshot…

I’m talking about polo, of course, and in particular the long standing relationship between this centuries old, horseback, royalty-attracting sport and the Royal Salute blended whisky brand. For over a decade, Royal Salute has supported the sport, and currently sponsors 15 polo tournaments all over the world. I quite like the hook up between Royal Salute and the polo world. Some will say it’s perpetuating whisky’s (perceived) elitist status, or pandering to the clichés of a bygone era, but when I think of polo, I think of Pimms, champagne, and overly-garnished G&Ts… so anything get the well-heeled spectators to move on to whisky, eh?

This release follows on from last year’s inaugural Polo Edition as the second expression in the now-annual series, although there was also a ‘World Polo’ release which came out at the end of 2013. Speaking of the new Beach Polo Edition, Royal Salute Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, said: “Royal Salute has a longstanding affinity with polo; we share values with the noble game of honour, skill and integrity with beach polo embodying all of this in a slightly more fun and playful way. Creating a whisky that spoke to all of this was a fantastic experience and we worked to capture the personality and the lifestyle of the sport; with each sip, our ambition was to deliver an exotic journey though salty sea winds, warm sands and subtly smoky beach bonfires, while keeping the Royal Salute house style firmly at the heart.”

In addition, Royal Salute Polo Ambassador, and former England Polo Team Captain, Malcolm Borwick (whose signature and iconic red helmet both feature on the packaging) said: “Beach polo is experiencing a surge in popularity around the world, driven by the beauty, playfulness and universal pull of the beach as a match day backdrop. As a location, it elevates the spirit of polo for spectators and players alike, bringing them closer together as sounds from the roaring crowds and thundering hooves racing towards a goal travel and mix cleanly across the sand. It’s a thrill for me to see this trend in polo be matched by innovation in Scotch whisky, my other passion. It’s been a fascinating journey to see Royal Salute perfectly encapsulate something as compelling as beach polo to develop a luxurious new expression and I feel honoured to be a part of it.”

But enough with the quotes. Let’s get to the liquid.

Royal Salute 21yo Beach Polo Edition
Blended Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
£150 here

Nose: Initially light notes of fruit salad sweets, green apples, pear skins, sweet hay and pecan nuts. Then some cinder toffee, hot cross buns, damp hessian, and chocolate éclairs. Underneath, there’s wet slate, charred logs, aromatic tobacco, unlit cigar, faint espresso and some gentle woodsmoke. Layered, to say the least.

Palate: Very clean to start with – sweet citrus, a touch of rock pools, some old shells and BBQ’d prawns. Then some caramel, Banoffee pie, baklava, Ecclefechan Tart and a dry nuttiness, before sandalwood, mahogany, old books, Moroccan spices and some bonfire embers come through. The smoke stays very much in the background.

Finish: But then the smoke surges through! Lingering woodsmoke, Morello cherries and chocolate brownies.

Overall: Firstly, let’s look at the straight up liquid, and blimey is it a very well crafted whisky. Some rich, dried fruit, some light, sweet, orchard fruit, some spice, some oak, and some smoke, all wrapped up in a velvety robe. This whisky ticks all the right boxes in terms of flavour, but as ever, the question of price comes into play. £150 for a 21yo single malt is high, but for a blend it’s very, very high. And ultimately that’s where this whisky falls down… but hey, I don’t know how long my chukkas are or how many divots I’m expected to stomp down in my high heels. In other words, I’m not the target market for this product, but the market that this product *is* targeted at will hopefully be persuaded to put down their bubbles, or Pimms cups, or overly-garnished G&Ts and pick up a dram of whisky. If this whisky can be the vehicle to convert new drinkers to the category, then I’m all for it.



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