The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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Page 24 of 120

ScOTch REPORT Long Live the Queen! S by Ian Buxton cotch whisky appears set for new heights following the launches of two remarkable blends. First out of the box was Diageo’s announcement of a Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee edition to be bottled on 6 February 2012, to mark the 60th anniversary of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Fittingly, this is a 60- year-old blended whisky, presented in a dramatic crystal decanter with a sterling silver collar set with a single diamond. Each decanter will be accompanied by a pair of hand-engraved crystal glasses and a personalised leather-bound artefact book, all housed in a bespoke cabinet made of wood from the royal Balmoral and Sandringham estates. The Queen will be pre- sented with the first of the editions produced, which will not be numbered. Then a further 60 editions will be made available, 57 of which will be for private sale worldwide and three of which will be available for auction. Private sale invitations will take place through- out 2011, leading up to the auction of three bottles in 2012. The decanters available for auc- tion will carry the highly collectible numbers 1, 8 and 60 and will be offered with a reserve price of £100,000 ($165,000). The auction date and location will be confirmed later this year; to register interest in the auction contact diamondjubilee@ The private sale price has been set at £100,000, or the equivalent in the buyer’s currency at the time of sale and all profits, with a guarantee of at least £1 million, will be donated to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which will help “enable tradi- tional craftsmanship to flourish in Britain.” 24 / the tasting panel / july 201 1 Remarkable as such a price point may seem, it was out-stripped only days later by Chivas Brothers’ announcement of their Royal Salute Tribute to Honour edition. Just 20 decanters (containing a full liter of whisky compared to Walker’s 70 cl.) will be offered, again on an individual private sale basis, at $200,000 each “plus local duty and taxes.” Tribute to Honour is also a blend, in this case a mere stripling of “over 45 years,” containing rare whiskies from the Royal Salute vaults at Strathisla distillery. The stellar price is explained by the lavish Royal Salute Master Blender Colin Scott and Garrard Creative Director Stephen Webster with The Tribute To Honour. decoration of the porcelain flagon—as mysteri- ously black as the Walker crystal is clear—for it has been created by leading London jewelers Garrard, decorated in meticulously hand- engraved gold and silver and set with more than 400 black and white diamonds in a design inspired by the ancient Crown Jewels of Scotland. Both companies expressed confidence that buyers would soon be found, citing worldwide interest in products associated with British royal heritage and the global boom in sales of super- luxury brands PHOTO COURTESY OF DIAGEO

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