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DrinksTatler’s Outing With Royal Salute In Dubai

Tatler’s Outing With Royal Salute In Dubai

Tatler’s Outing With Royal Salute In Dubai
By Sandhya Mahadevan
April 25, 2019
From an introduction to the brand’s exclusive range of blended whiskies to an exhilarating game of polo and more in between, here’s what went down

Dubai elite, polo greats, whiskey connoisseurs, and local and international media, all gathered at Al Habtoor Polo Resort in Dubai from April 26 to 28, 2019, as Royal Salute paid tribute to the world of polo. The three-day event promised “spiritual” recourse, adrenalin rush, and lasting friendships.

Royal Salute meets British Polo Day at Al Habtoor Polo Resort in Dubai
Royal Salute meets British Polo Day at Al Habtoor Polo Resort in Dubai

Get into the spirit

The three-day shindig kicked off with a toast—an exclusive tasting of Royal Salute whiskies.

As we sniffed, swirled and took a sip from the four taster glasses in front of us, Peter Prentice, Royal Salute VIP Relationships Director, walked us through the history of Scotch from the 1800s, “the key time of Scotch with the cognac industry suffering a sudden demise”, to the first Royal Salute whiskey launched by Chivas Brothers.

(Related: When Prince Harry Played Polo At The Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup In Singapore)

Royal Salute 21 Year Old; Beach Polo; Union Of The Crown; and Stone Of Destiny
Royal Salute 21 Year Old; Beach Polo; Union Of The Crown; and Stone Of Destiny
Tasting notes by Master Blender Sandy Hyslop
Tasting notes by Master Blender Sandy Hyslop

As the story goes, Samuel Bronfman of Chivas Brothers presented the 21 Year Old Scotch to Queen Elizabeth at her coronation on June 2, 1953. It was aptly named Royal Salute, after the 21-gun salute of the coronation, and came packaged in a wooden box. For a whiskey to be aged for 21 years at a time when the world was barely recovering from the crash of Wall Street and the Great Depression was no mean feat. Since then, there have been the Royal Salute Coronation Cask; Beach Polo; Union of the Crown; Stone of Destiny; and 62 Gun Salute, each a tribute to the British crown in one way or the other.

(Related: Why Royal Fans Believe That Meghan Markle Has Already Given Birth)

Tasting shots of the single malts set against a backdrop of thyme and mimosa
Tasting shots of the single malts set against a backdrop of thyme and mimosa
Breaking down the essences in blend
Breaking down the essences in blend

Follow the trail

The next day, the tasting trail moved to the desert for perfumer Barnabé Fillion’s Olfactory Studio which took us through the five key single-malts in Royal Salute 21 Year Old: Strathclyde, Longmorn, Glen Keith, The Glenlivet Nadurra and Strathisla. “What we are doing is what I call an ‘anatomy of a blend’”, explained Fillion, as he let us compare the aromas of the whiskies with floral and herbal perfumes—“because 95 per cent of everything you taste is happening in your nose”—and tangibles such as fossils, ceramics and artist Marcin Rusak’s Perishable Vase.

Drawing parallels to the evolving nature of things and its complexities with Marcin Rusak’s Perishable Vase
Drawing parallels to the evolving nature of things and its complexities with Marcin Rusak’s Perishable Vase
Malcolm Borwick’s toast to friendships and partnerships
Malcolm Borwick’s toast to friendships and partnerships

Toast in the desert

A food pairing and a toast of Royal Salute whiskey cocktail by polo champion and Royal Salute World Polo Ambassador Malcolm Borwick in the beautiful courtyard of Bab Al Shams Desert Resort sealed the deal for the afternoon.

(Related: British Polo Day In Singapore)

Bright and early after an evening at the desert, we geared up for Borwick’s Polo Clinic—brushing up on the strokes: Offside; Nearside; Neckshot; Tailshot and Openshot.
Bright and early after an evening at the desert, we geared up for Borwick’s Polo Clinic—brushing up on the strokes: Offside; Nearside; Neckshot; Tailshot and Openshot.
Getting into the heat of things with a faux match—It was an even 1:1 score
Getting into the heat of things with a faux match—It was an even 1:1 score

In the line of the ball

First on the ground and then on a haystack for height, and while one is quite pleased with the progress, having managed to make some contact with the ball, you get on the horse. Between securing oneself on the saddle, bending down just enough to have a go at the ball, keep your balance and not hurt the horse in the process, that contact percentage falls to a near zero—and all this while the horse is just walking.

 

Easier imagined than done, regardless of one’s love of horses
Easier imagined than done, regardless of one’s love of horses
Royal salute Whisky cocktail, a poten mix of Royal Salute 21 Year Old Whisky, centifolia rose essence, barley water, Indian teas and lemon oil
Royal salute Whisky cocktail, a poten mix of Royal Salute 21 Year Old Whisky, centifolia rose essence, barley water, Indian teas and lemon oil

But the purpose of the clinic is “basically taking yourself out of your comfort zone and doing something different for the first time” shares Borwick. “What we do at the polo clinic is try to take people out of the grandstand and put them on the field.”

“A Polo handicap is a passport to the world. That’s Winston Churchill’s quote but it has proved to be true”—Malcolm Borwick
“A Polo handicap is a passport to the world. That’s Winston Churchill’s quote but it has proved to be true”—Malcolm Borwick

And it did instil a new respect for the game in a newbie as we witnessed the British Polo Day friendly match later that day. As Borwick said, “You watched the game today closely because this morning, you had a go and you saw how hard it is. It gives you an iota of respect of what’s going on in the field.” Cheers to that!

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Drinksroyal salutedubaiwhiskeypolo

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