Royal Salute launches 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition whisky

Words by
Charlotte McManus

12th July 2018

We talk to the pair behind the latest offering from the luxury whisky brand, director of blending Sandy Hyslop and master perfumer Barnabé Fillion

A rich, rounded and aromatic whisky, and a stellar addition to Royal Salute’s annual Flask Collection, the 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition is a homage to west London’s iconic Kew Palace. The new blend from the ‘King of Whisky’ also marks the inaugural collaboration between Royal Salute’s director of blending, Sandy Hyslop, and leading nose and perfume designer, Barnabé Fillion (who has worked with such high-profile names as Paul Smith, Le Labo and Aesop). The pair had the enviable task of nosing whisky after whisky in Hyslop’s Scotland blending room, before arriving on the perfect blend that evokes the fruits, flowers and leaves of Kew Palace’s Kitchen Garden. The 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition starts with an intensely fruity nose, seguing into a perfectly balanced taste with flavours of sweet honey and scented flora, before ending with a long, smooth finish.

At Kew Gardens, we sampled the outstanding new whisky over a decadent three-course dinner and even got the chance to create our own bespoke blend with Sandy and Barnabé in Kew’s Kitchen Gardens. Afterwards, we caught up with the pair to find out more about the 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition.

How did you first begin working with each other?

Sandy: We launched the first in our Flask Collection, the Royal Salute 30 Year Old Flask Edition last year and it was really well received. When something is already successful, there is a desire to keep delivering bigger and better so the challenge was set early-on to ensure this latest iteration continued to impress.  Barnabé has been Creative Advisor at Royal Salute for many years now, so a product collaboration was a natural next step and something that was really exciting for both of us. This is the first time in Royal Salute’s history that a Master Blender has collaborated with someone else on a new expression, which is pretty special in itself.

Tell us a bit about the process behind the new Flask Edition – how did you go from concept to completion?

Barnabé: The creation of the Royal Salute 28 Year Old Flask Edition was a true collaboration; the coming together of two experts in our respective fields who both had really different viewpoints and perspectives but also a shared common ground when it came to the senses and sensory experience. I came at this project with my creative background and experience in the olfactory and perfume world. My experience and approach was more related to the world of flowers and plants so I felt a real affinity with Kew Gardens – our inspiration for this limited edition – and tried to bring the floral, aromatic, autumnal elements that are so evident in this expression. Together with Sandy’s incredible knowledge of blending whisky and the Royal Salute signature style, we were able to bring our Kew Palace inspiration to life.

Key Palace

Key Palace

Sandy: I think we both complemented each other’s style. My role as Master Blender for Royal Salute is to maintain the family style and ensure the quality and continuity first and foremost. It was a fascinating experience to bring two people together from very different spheres but who were united by a passion and understanding of flavours and the senses.

Were there any challenges along the way?

Barnabé: We quickly learned that we have two very different jobs and speak two very different languages in our usual day-to day! However, together we were able to create a new sensorial language and used our different experiences to make something truly unique.  

What makes the 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition stand out from other Royal Salute blends? 

Sandy: The new Royal Salute 28 Year Old Kew Palace blend has its heart firmly in the Royal Salute family, but it’s complemented perfectly by the inspiration of Kew Gardens and the floral, scented aromatic and autumnal elements. It’s intensely fruity with rich notes of ripe pear and delicate notes of violet, which makes for a rich, round and perfectly balanced whisky with a really lovely sweetness. The finish is deliciously long and there’s a wisp of smoke – there’s no mistaking this is a Royal Salute whisky, but the nuances that the Kew Gardens inspired make it really special and unlike anything we’ve seen before.

For more details about Royal Salute or the new 28 Year Old Kew Palace Edition, visit