By Lauren Jade Hill
It’s within the palatial ground of the Hurlingham Club in London that Royal Salute hosted the launch of the brand’s all-new 21 Year Old Polo Edition in the company of Royal Salute’s director of blending Sandy Hyslop, and Royal Salute polo ambassador Malcolm Borwick; as this role brings together two of his great passions, whisky and polo, Borwick is proud to champion the synergy between the Sport of Kings and the King of Whisky.
In his capacity as the polo ambassador for Royal Salute, Borwick travels the world introducing guests to the prestigious sport in collaboration with the revered whisky brand. As he provides this introduction, guests know they’re in good hands; throughout a polo career spanning twenty years and five continents Borwick has played and captained the England team in over fifty internationals and played both with and against royalty, with an early connection to whisky brand he now champions.
“My first tournament for Royal Salute was the inauguration of the Nine Dragons Hill Polo Club for the Royal Salute Gold Cup in Shanghai,” Borwick tells us, “The tournament was played on a field that the club had reclaimed from the sea and it was the first polo tournament in China for over 3,000 years.” It was then in 2009—following time spent developing the World Polo Platform with Royal Salute—that he took on his new role as a brand ambassador. A highlight of the international events hosted has been the Royal Salute Sentebale Cup in Singapore in June 2017, which raised more than $1.3m. “Prince Harry and I defeated Nacho Figueras in a great match and we as a brand presented the whole event as a perfect expression of luxury.”
“This year marks my eighth year as Polo Ambassador for Royal Salute,” he continues, “but Scotch whisky has been always been ever present in my household. I grew up with a Scottish mother and a whisky-drinking father and every New Years’ Eve was spent in Scotland with all its great traditions of first footing, reels and hot toddies.” And his connection to polo is even more deeply integrated, having had a grandmother who played in the first ever Ladies polo test match in 1924, and a father and uncles who made up the England team from 1902 to 1908.
The bespoke clinics Borwick leads immerse people in the sport so they can understand the synergy between polo as the Sport of Kings and Royal Salute as the King of Whisky. In addition to covering the basics of the game, Borwick gives guests an insight into how to be a good polo attendee, from what to wear and how to cheer to what to drink. This neatly lends itself to his role in endorsing the all-new limited edition whisky from Royal Salute, the 21 Year Old Polo Edition.
“Polo is a noble game of honor, skill, integrity and traditions– all values inherent in Royal Salute,” Borwick says, reiterating the connection between the two, “There is a perfect symmetry between them as they’re intrinsically linked by shared values. Moreover, fans of Royal Salute relate to the luxury lifestyle that accompanies a sport like polo.”
The new blend has been created to enhance that experience, with a more delicate-tasting expression for enjoying outdoors and on sporting occasions. “This is unlike anything we have seen from a Scotch whisky,” he says, “Developed from a combination of fragrant grains and fruity malts aged for a minimum of 21 years by Royal Salute’s director of blending, Sandy Hyslop, it is the first whisky I’m really proud to have had the pleasure to endorse as Royal Salute polo ambassador. Through his passion and craftsmanship, Sandy has worked hard to capture a piece of this elusive sporting magic within the specially blended limited edition.”
This whisky is then housed in signature turquoise porcelain flagons—taking inspiration from the blue sky and green grass of the traditional polo field—which has been embossed with images of polo players in action. “People recognise me on the field thanks to my distinctive red polo helmet, ” Borwick explains, “Royal Salute has embossed this image onto the bottle boxes alongside my signature.”
“Royal Salute has an incredible heritage, launched in 1953 in commemoration of the Queen’s coronation. It is a truly special collection of whiskies all aged for a minimum of 21 years, which is where all other whiskies end. Royal Salute is the marker of momentous occasions, as seen in all of our polo tournaments around the globe.”
Paying homage to the sport it’s connected to, the new Polo Edition whisky was developed to embody the values of polo as a sport and a lifestyle, with strength, balance and finesse. By integrating its connection to this sport, Royal Salute has succeeded in bringing the whisky to the polo field.
The new Royal Salute 21 Year Old World Polo Edition is priced at $140 and available worldwide from September 1st, 2017. masterofmalt.com