Royal Salute made headlines in 2021, when it announced its first ever Couture Collection.

“When we first launched the Couture Collection with the 21 Year Old Richard Quinn Edition in September 2021, we were entering the world of fashion for the first time, explains Royal Salute Global Marketing Director, Mathieu Deslandes.

The new line of collectable whiskies from the British Scotch whisky distiller served to celebrate cutting-edge creativity in fashion. To help breathe life into the inaugural expression, Royal Salute engaged Quinn, a rising star of British couture. Now, the distiller is back with a second collaboration.

But taking it a step further, Royal Salute’s House of Quinn by Richard Quinn, of which only 200 decanters will be made available, is also being offered as an NFT. The progressive nature from a marketing and branding point of view of Royal Salute is certainly worthy of discussion.

Mathieu Deslandes
Royal Salute Global Marketing Director, Mathieu Deslandes

After all it is a rarity to see a brand so steeped in tradition and royal lineage collaborate so effectively in engaging with the modern world across genres. Royal Salute has constantly pushed the art of blending into new, creative, and ambitious forms, and who better to shed light on the subject than Mathieu Deslandes himself.

In this exclusive interview with AugustMan, we discuss the importance of evolution and collaboration in the world of ultra-luxurious whiskies with the Royal Salute Global Marketing Director.

Let’s start with this second collaboration between Royal Salute and Richard Quinn. What are you hoping for personally with this second edition for such an ultra-limited and luxurious whisky?

The inaugural expression paid tribute to Richard Quinn’s vibrant signature style. I hope that this second expression born from our collaboration with Richard Quinn, which celebrates the craftsmanship that shapes fashion and couture, will further cement Royal Salute as a contemporary luxury brand and that we will be able to continue celebrating cutting-edge creativity in fashion with those who share our desire to push craft beyond expectation.

From a marketing lens, do you feel that in today’s luxury market, it is important for brands to evolve to cater to consumers who have more discerning tastes and also varied interests, that stretch beyond just Scotch whisky?

Of course, for a brand to remain relevant, it is essential to evolve in line with consumers’ wants and desires, but it is our fundamental belief that we must stay true to our brand values of delivering exceptionally crafted blended Scotch. Taking both of these elements into consideration, we are constantly looking for new ways to connect with existing consumers, reach new demographic and audiences, and ensure that anyone sharing our passion for innovation and contemporary creativity can be a part of our enchanting brand world.

Royal Salute Richard Quinn

Couture and fashion are areas where the worlds of whiskies and fashion have crossed paths. Are you surprised at how well received these collaborations have been accepted by consumers?

We are very pleased with the response from consumers to this collaboration and we are honoured to be able to play a part in celebrating Richard Quinn as an acclaimed British fashion designer and his beautiful collections. Richard Quinn has been a genuine and collaborative partner to kick-start our Couture Collection and cement our brand in the world of fashion, and I fully believe that the authenticity of the relationship has come across in the two expressions that we have released since the start of our partnership with him and has contributed to the success of our launches so far.

It is important for brands to always keep ahead of the curve, is this why Royal Salute is also collaborating with Blockbar for an NFT as part of this new collection?

Innovation is at the heart of Royal Salute, and we are constantly exploring new ways to push the boundaries of exceptional Scotch whisky. NFTs open up a whole new world for the spirits industry, bring a range of opportunities for whisky collectors and allow us as a brand to connect with our audience and create moments of wonder in a new way. We worked with Blockbar for the first time in December 2021, when we dropped our very first NFT, which was incredibly successful and selling within seconds, so we were keen to find another opportunity to partner with them again.

The Royal Salute House of Quinn by Richard Quinn is a highly collectable new Scotch whisky expression and with only 200 editions released, it felt like the perfect occasion to drop an NFT. Exclusively for this drop, decanter 001/200 will be signed by Richard Quinn, and in addition, it is exceptionally rare that ‘#1’ from any collection is ever released for purchase as we usually keep these for archive purposes, making this an even-more desirable collector’s item.

The Royal Salute House of Quinn by Richard QuinnFrom a marketing aspect, are you excited to see the luxury and whisky market evolve along with these newfound trends and perhaps even communicating Royal Salute’s brand values to a new audience?

Absolutely! We are all consumers first and so we know from a personal perspective that new trends, opportunities, and ideas are exciting and so it’s natural that this follows through when we consider the marketing of a product or brand. For a long time, the whisky category was surrounded by a certain perception of traditionalism, however we have seen a shift in recent years, and the contemporary expressions and partnerships we build are all designed to evoke enchantment in new moments of consumption and engage with the new luxury consumer.

Still, it is the whisky that afficionados and collectors gravitate towards. Do you find yourself in a fortunate position with Royal Salute being one of the most prestigious and leading brands in the segment?

In everything that we say and do, we hope to illuminate the senses and spark an emotion, to make any interaction with Royal Salute an enchanting experience. For some that might come from tasting the whisky itself, and for others it might come from adding a rare, limited edition, beautifully designed crystal decanter to their collection that they will treasure for a long time.

Where do you see the category innovation for Royal Salute progressing to?

The innovation for the category is limitless and we are constantly looking for new ways to push the boundaries of crafting exceptional Scotch whisky. Whether it’s with unexpected collaborations, like the one with Richard Quinn, going into the metaverse with NFTs, or on a production level, for example using one-of-a-kind cask finishes, there’s still so much to explore and we look forward to expanding the Royal Salute world with innovations that authentically spark emotion for our existing and new consumers.

And what other exciting realms do you foresee Royal Salute stepping into in order to emotionally engage with consumers in the near future?

Our commitment to celebrate the power of creativity will continue long into the future and we’re constantly exploring different routes to do so. I can’t give too much away on our upcoming releases, but we are looking to further establish ourselves within the creative world and reach new audiences, whilst continuing to celebrate our heritage, so stay tuned!

(Images: Royal Salute)

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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