For Those About To Rock...
Updated: Mar 20
We Royal Salute you. Ok, you have be an AC/DC fan for that to land*.
Royal Salute recently launched the 21-Year-Old The Richard Quinn Edition, the first of a new collection celebrating the world of couture and the rising star fashion designer from which the bottle takes its design inspiration and name. In true luxurious fashion, the new whisky was unveiled at The Library, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur's contemporary fine dining restaurant.
The first thing that struck me was Royal Salute's iconic porcelain bottle adorned by Quinn's signature petals and thorns motif. Available in black and white, the flagon portrays a bold yet sophisticated statement.
The limited-edition whisky follows suit, crafted to offer elegant floral noted with a rich and indulgent finish. Royal Salute's master blender Sandy Hyslop used 31 fine malts (one for each year of the designer's age at the time of the blend's release) to create a beautiful whisky that I believe appeals to a wide range of palates.
On the nose, I uncovered an inviting fruity aroma reminiscent of peaches, apricots and orange zest before ending with distinct floral notes. I can't quite pinpoint what those floral notes specifically were, but they gave the whisky a gentler, more approachable profile. A sip sans water reveals notes of apricot, hints of tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple, and chocolate and spice. The spice actually plays out into the finish, coming full circle as the whisky leaves behind a long, floral sweetness at the end.
To coincide with the launch of Royal Salute's latest limited-edition whisky are The Library's new spring-themed tasting menus, designed by its executive chef Wai Look Chow to complement a range of Royal Salute's 21-year-old blends. "This next chapter of The Library reveals Spring Sensations; fresh seasonal flavours incorporated into vivid creations with combinations of the sometimes unexpected.", chef Wai shares. "In designing the menu, I was struck by inspiration of fresh spring blooms and ingredients with a piquancy that endears an awakening of the senses, topped off with the fine pairing of Royal Salute blends."
The Library's new spring menu was created to complement a trio of Royal Salute whiskies, starting with Irish Traighenna Bay oysters served with ginger and ikura. The plump oysters' natural sweetness and salinity were offset by ginger and mirin and enhanced by ikura, pairing well with Royal Salute Signature Blend's citrus notes.
Joues de boeuf – three-hour braised wagyu cheek served with fries batonnet – also paired delightfully with Royal Salute's The Malts Blend, which played off the beef's savoury melt-in-your-mouth quality with a rather sumptuous yet sweet note.
The meal came to an end with a fresh treat – a Migaki ichigo crumble served with a Madagascar vanilla bean chantilly and paired with Royal Salute's The Polo Estancia, a limited-edition whisky bearing a malbec finish. The influence of wine adds a certain boldness and depth to the whisky that really brings out the taste of the Japanese strawberries and the elegance of Madagascan vanilla.
Available from March until June, The Library will offer two Spring Sensations tasting menus at RM350++ and RM450++, with the enticing option to pair the meal with a flight of Royal Salute 21-year-old whiskies at an additional RM150++.
The Post-Dinner Cocktails
As if a dinner pairing with a selection of Royal Salute whiskies wasn't enough, local bartending legend Shawn Chong was present to mix up three specialty cocktails – two from Royal Salute's global recipe playbook and one of his own original creations.
Two cocktails – petals and thorns and fashion royalty – were designed to show off the Richard Quinn edition's dynamic flavour profile. Petals and thorns, which uses red grape shrub and pandal-infused mango tea, amplifies the fruity and floral notes of the new limited edition whisky. It's a nice, light sipper to start or end the day with.
On the other hand, fashion royalty was a slightly more potent potable. Served in a Glencairn glass, the drink's use of bay leaf sherry cordial and a mixture of tonic water and soda drew out the gentler, spicier notes of the Richard Quinn edition.
Shawn's drink, awesomely called Porcelain Cane, takes a different route. Opting for Royal Salute's Signature Blend, Shawn used Okinawan black sugar, sweet vermouth and umami bitters to create a delicious sweet and savoury concoction that I definitely remember ordering more than once.
*This is actually fitting because both Angus and Malcolm Young were born in Scotland despite being known for forming Australia's greatest rock band.