Celebrating a momentous occasion with a venerable whisky expression


Symbols can be powerful. A single object or event can encapsulate stories and narratives of a different place and time, and remind one of enduring traditions.

The Ceremony of the Keys – held every year at the gates of Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh – is a long-standing occasion that welcomes the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Scotland in a week-long residency in July. This observance since her accession in 1952 captures the deep relationship between the two countries – one that has spanned decades and is celebrated with this moment.

Because there’s a drink for every occasion, Royal Salute has crafted a new expression to mark this time-honoured tradition. Produced by Strathisla Distillery (the oldest working distillery in the Scotland Highlands), the luxury whisky brand is no stranger to delivering commemorative blends – it created one for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 and recently celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a limited-edition decanter set.

The Royal Salute 30-Year-Old Key to the Kingdom is pitched nicely between its youngest bottle at 21 years old and its oldest at 38, and forms part of the label’s core permanent collection. Under the skilful consultation of master blender Sandy Hyslop, it gets its distinct character from rare, aged casks – the youngest being 21 – for a compelling blend rich with symbolism.


There’s no better way to celebrate the special relationship with the monarchy than with the exceptional craft of its makers. From cask to bottle to box, the 30-Year-Old Key to the Kingdom demonstrates their dedication to perfection.

“With a unique connectivity to British royalty as part of Royal Salute’s heritage, we wanted the 30-Year-Old Key to the Kingdom to capture the very special connection between crown and country,” explained Hyslop. “The occasion is one of the longest-running ceremonies in the British monarchy, carrying symbolic meanings related to freedom and honour, which is why we were inspired to blend this new expression to celebrate this momentous ceremony.”

Adhering to the brand’s legacy, the Royal Salute team hand-picked varying prized whiskies from the whole of Scotland – all aged a minimum of 30 years – to attain an expression that speaks of its lineage. And the discovery process was just as remarkable, said Hyslop.

“It was very enjoyable sampling our extensive inventory of high-aged whiskies,” Hyslop admitted. “It surprised me how many formulations were required to obtain the perfect nuance of smoke while maintaining the Royal Salute signature style and opulent character.”



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