High-end whisky unveiled in China, with $2,700 price

Tue Dec 7, 2010 8:43am EST
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By K.J. Kwon

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - A special aged Scotch whisky blend aimed at wealthy Chinese connoisseurs and their growing passion for top-end liquor has just been unveiled in Beijing.

The strong, smoky aroma and high alcoholic content of whisky may not be the easiest of drinks to appreciate, but Asians, particularly in South Korea and China, have been increasingly drawn to the tipple, accounting for around 20 percent of the 3 billion pound ($5 billion) a year industry in 2008.

China has shown the highest growth in Scotch whisky over the last 20 years with 22 percent annual compound growth by volumes. Vietnam, Russia and India have posted the next biggest growth rates since 1990.

But it's the growing passion of wealthy Chinese for high-end whiskies and liqueurs that inspired the Royal Salute whisky group to launch their most-aged blend, the 62 Gun Salute, in the Chinese market, unveiling it Monday.

"Well, certainly the taste is very smooth. It's got sweetness, it's got richness and fruitiness and the Chinese love that sort of powerful, rich taste they're associating with Royal Salute because it's a mature Royal Salute market out here," said Colin Scott, Royal Salute's master blender.

"But this really takes them several stages further into the mystery and magic of Scotch whisky," he told Reuters Television.

Scott was responsible for choosing the whiskies to blend, each aged for a minimum of 40 years. The end product is a complex and rich combination of flavors and aromas.

Housed in a hand-crafted decanter made by Dartington Crystal, the whisky features a Royal Salute crest painted in liquid 24-carat gold, along with a 24-carat gold plated collar and a crystal stopper set with a 24-carat gold plated crown.   Continued...

<p>A waiter is reflected in a mirror as he pours Scotch whisky from luxury brand Royal Salute into glasses at a launch ceremony for the release of the '62 Gun Salute' series in central Beijing December 6, 2010. The luxury whisky is selling at 15,000 yuan ($2,260) per bottle, with the launch consisting of a 'British Royal banquet' where 62 guests will fire 62 guns. REUTERS/David Gray</p>