Visting Speyside & Strathisla with Royal Salute

PR visit / All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.

Having the opportunity to travel around and visit distilleries & people is one of my absolute favourite parts of my job so I was delighted to be able to head up to Speyside with Royal Salute for the launch of their new 26 year old.

Royale Salute 26 Scottish Oak

Royal Salute is a brand of luxury blended whisky and the newest addition to their portfolio is the 26 year old Scottish Oak Finish. If you already are a scotch whisky enthusiast you might know that Scottish oak is a quite rare type of oak used in whisky maturation since Scotland doesn’t have a big reserve of oak trees. Most of the oak used in whisky maturation in Scotland are American or on occasion also European oak. This blend has been finished in virgin Scottish Oak casks, meaning the oak has never touched any liquid or spirit before. We had the pleasure of tasting the whisky right next to the Royal Salute core release 21 year old and they certainly had their differences whilst also showcasing a similar heart of flavour.

Royal Salute has quite an interesting history as it was created to celebrate Princess Elizabeth ascending the throne in 1953. The name Royal Salute comes from the famous 21-gun-salute.

Strathisla Distillery

During our trip we got to visit Strathisla Distillery, something that has been on my to-do list for quite some time now, ever since my first trip to Speyside in 2018 when I had to go to the hospital with appendicitis instead of our scheduled visit to this distillery.

Ethan Miln, Ballentine’s Global Brand Ambassador showed us around the distillery and Sandy Hyslop, Director of Blending honoured us with his presence throughout the visit as well. You can tell that Strathisla is an old distillery from the building it sits in, with small spaces not intended for any expansion. A fun fact is that Strathisla is the only whisky distillery to have been located in three different whisky regions – Lowlands, Highlands and now Speyside – although it has never moved itself. This is due to the borders of the regions having changed throughout the times. Strathisla is now also known as the Home of Chivas and alos houses the Royal Salute Vault, where we got a private tasting of a single cask expression with Sandy Hyslop. And it was not just any single cask whisky – this blend was a 58 year old which was quite something special.

Dinner at Linn House

After some time to freshen up back at Rothes Glen, following the distillery visit, we headed back to Linn House, right next door to Strathisla for dinner. A splendid 6 course Royal Salute inspired menu awaited, courtesy of chef Grant MacNicol. It was so lovely to chat with everyone who was taking part in this trip and there were some refreshing cocktails on hand as well.

Rothes Glen

For our stay we had the pleasure of staying at the Rothes Glen, an old hunting lodge in Speyside which certainly was an impressive sight to behold. I’d probably even go so far as to say that it is the best place I have stayed. Comfortable beds, a wonderful atmosphere, cleverly decorated, stunning location and outstanding scrambled eggs for breakfast. And trust me – I’m very picky about scrambled eggs…

One of the last activities we had on our schedule was a foraging walk with Tim Maddams. As someone who spent plenty of her childhood hours digging up roots and moss I was so curious to learn more about the things you can find in nature here in Scotland. The highlights was trying wood-sorrel, which I already love and can’t resits any time I see it on forest walks, and also tapping a birch tree to try birch water. We also tried dehydrated birch water, which was super sweet and could make an excellent ice cream topping, and to take home with us we filled a bottle with whisky new make and birch twigs which now will need to infuse for about a year before it’s ready.

Before jumping back in to the Landrover that would take me back to my train in Aberdeen, we all had a goodbye toast in the lodge tower with these quaichs. An elegant end to a lovely trip. Already can’t wait to be back in Speyside. Good thing I have it in the calendar for April already…

✦ Want to read more about distillery visits?

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Check out my Instagram @swedishwhiskygirl or @scandinavianabroad to see even more photos and follow along on future adventures.

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Moa Nilsson

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