Chivas Brothers CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures on new chapters within the company and industry

The chairman and CEO talks about the highly-anticipated blends and how they reflect the times we live in.

Chivas Brothers CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures (Photo: Chivas Brothers)

The slice of Seoul visible from a window at the Four Seasons Hotel embodies the spirit of the South Korean capital. In the not-too-far distance, the austere, expansive grounds of the 14th-century Gyeongbokgung Palace sequester it from the contemporary world of skyscraping steel and glass that strives to rival the stature of the surrounding mountains.

These contrasting elements — nature, history and modernity — coalesce rather than collide, depicting an almost impossible coherence. The entire scene calls to mind the Taegukgi, or the South Korean flag, which features a blue and red yin and yang symbol framed by four black trigrams, collectively signifying harmony and movement.

Outside of Scotland, Royal Salute might have been hard-pressed to find a more suitable venue to launch new expressions of its 21 Year Old range. Produced by the Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers, the self-styled King of Whisky was created in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and was christened after the 21-gun salute, or royal salute, that honoured the occasion. While Speyside is the birthplace of numerous such nectars, Royal
Salute immediately distinguished itself by producing labels with a minimum age of 21 years, starting where others end, as most average an age statement of 12 to 21 years. The 21 Year Old label that marked Her Majesty’s ascension to the throne was a blend of the rarest Scotch whiskies in the world and has achieved the impressive feat of being in continuous production since then.

An international cohort was invited to celebrate a new chapter for the range: for the first time, two expressions were introduced to stand alongside The
Signature Blend. A whirlwind itinerary of heritage venues, superlative settings and immersive experiences portrays the upholding of tradition and the embrace of ambition. This dualism, like the yin and yang, are values familiar to both Royal Salute and the city of Seoul.



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