Tatler’s Outing With Royal Salute In Dubai
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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)
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.
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.”
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!