Brands like Royal Salute and Hennessy X.O are setting the stage for the next evolution of spirit appreciation with unique casks and limited-edition decanters.

When Torquhil Ian Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll ‒ one of Scotland’s oldest families, whose lineage is connected to the ancient High Kings of Ireland ‒ puts his name behind Royal Salute as its brand ambassador, you can be rest assured that the brand is not mere marketing hyperbole, but rather a statement of fact. Like its name suggests, Royal Salute was created in 1953 to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation; and like all royal monarchs, there can only be one.

Only One

Scotland’s most prestigious and well-aged blended whisky range, Royal Salute has marked each significant event in the lives of the British Monarchy to date and is unique in having only ever used whiskies aged at least 21 years in its blends. It is this unique commitment to quality and tradition that has given rise to the informal motto, “We Begin Where Others End”. Hence, its launch of a Cask Programme giving whisky aficionados the opportunity to purchase an entire cask from Royal Salute’s esteemed vault at the historic Strathisla Distillery in Scotland is an undeniable flex for whisky connoisseurs.

Established in 1786, Strathisla is the oldest working distillery in the Scottish Highlands and arguably the most beautiful. Beneath the iconic twin pagodas, the copper stills have a distinctive shape that determines the unique character of every drop of Strathisla spirits. With only 21 casks available at once, each cask is meticulously blended, matured for a minimum of 21 years, and then selected for the Cask Programme, making each rich, fruity and full-bodied whisky a rarity and a one-of-a- kind whisky.

Giving whisky collectors access to Royal Salute’s unparalleled inventory, master blender Sandy Hyslop had a selection of 21 special casks ‒ each containing meticulously blended whiskies of such exceptional maturity that the Duke himself was happy to give his stamp of approval. “Only the most exceptional casks will be selected for the Cask Programme and each is specially numbered to reflect their scarcity,” he says. Indeed, the first 21 casks released are notable house blends, ageing from 24 to 33 years including some incredibly rare oak casks, expertly crafted by Hyslop.

According to Royal Salute’s Brand Ambassador, Anna Mitchell, eight of the newly launched casks are available in Singapore, and the rest are distributed in select markets around the world. The Cask Programme was unveiled at a private invitation-only experience for select collectors, Enter the Kingdom Experience. The event showcased not only the rare casks, but also intricate blends from the Royal Salute collection ‒ including the Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute (reserved only for royal occasions), the Royal Salute Wedding Edition, as well as the Royal Salute 51-Year-Old from the Time Series, which is matured for over 52 years.

Each guest on the Cask Programme will have special access to exclusive samples of unique cask-strength whiskies and be invited to choose their preferred one. Upon purchase, the client can personalise the flagon and boxes for bottling of their chosen cask. This includes selecting the colours, the embellishments of the bottle and even the patterns created. Each cask is the only one of its kind in the world and will no longer be available once sold. As each cask is unique, the estimated number of bottles per cask and individual pricing information are available upon request.

Cognac Meets Couture

Bridging street and luxury in a unique celebration of the legendary blend’s impact on culture, Hennessy X.O’s newest artistic collaboration with world-renowned British designer Kim Jones wraps a beloved tipple in high artistry. In a first for the Maison, Jones created a special collection featuring a Masterpiece decanter, collectible sneaker and limited-edition bottle.

Known for tapping artists, directors and architects, Hennessy X.O entered the world of couture for the first time this year, continuing its run of highly coveted artistic collaborations with a different approach. Encased in an aluminium second skin, the aesthetic element is the lynchpin of the collaboration. The structure of a “ready-to- wear” version of the Hennessy X.O Limited Edition decanter showcases the bottle’s signature shape while evoking a couture silhouette from the fertile mind of Jones.

The designer joins Frank Gehry, Cai Guo- Qiang and Ridley Scott in celebrating the cultural and artistic resonance of Hennessy. “I’m fascinated by the rich heritage of Hennessy, a household name behind which artisans have spent hundreds of years creating this special cognac,” says Kim Jones. “Storytelling is very important for me regardless of what I’m designing or who I’m collaborating with ‒ I want my designs to educate and inspire people through the stories they tell.”

In addition to the limited-edition decanter, Jones also designed the HNY Low sneaker. Crafted in an LVMH shoe factory in Italy, the limited edition is inspired by early basketball shoes. Made of cognac-coloured nubuck leather, the shoes take on a patina over time, a reference to Hennessy’s precious eaux-de-vie. The underside of the rubber sole features an imprint of cognac grape vines and the Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones logo. The initials KJ and the Hennessy bras armé emblem discreetly adorn the heel. “It’s a glass of cognac in sneaker form,” the designer says. The shoes are presented in an oak box evocative of the barrels where the cognac matures.

Jones also created a unique piece, revisiting the Hennessy X.O Masterpiece carafe by crafting a resolutely couture sculptural work. Produced using 3D printing technology and finished by hand, the carafe has been made in just 200 pieces. Like a second skin, a titanium casing encapsulates the bottle, evoking both the couture technique of draping and the way in which Hennessy bottles were carefully hand-wrapped in tissue paper at the turn
of the 20th century to protect their labels. The gradient of hues in the decanter, reminiscent of the eaux-de-vie perfected by eight generations of master blenders, was specially selected by Jones to recall the shades of cognac. To serve this exceptional cognac without losing a drop, he has also designed a special fusil in the same amber tones.

According to the Knight Frank luxury investments index, rare whisky has risen in value by an incredible 564% over the last decade, the kind of number that most investors can only dream of. Cask whisky in particular has been a win-win investment in recent years, with even the casks from the least lucrative distilleries showing an increase in value of 5.13% a year. The best-performing casks showed a growth of 19.88%.

Targeted specifically at the collector market, Cognac is becoming a popular choice for collectors. According to Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, “Aged spirits like Cognac are finding favour with people who are maybe unhappy with the price of Scotch whisky.” In fact, Cognac house Camus recently launched a special limited-edition diamond-embellished Baccarat crystal decanter.

A selected number of the S$460 limited-edition Hennessy X.O Limited Edition is available in Singapore exclusively at Crystal Wines. Contact


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The Next Evolution of Spirit Appreciation Features Royal Salute and Hennessy X.O
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