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Royal Salute 21 vs Blue Label: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Royal Salute 21 vs Blue Label in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whisky is better for You!

Royal Salute 21

  • Nose: Apple, almond, vanilla
  • Palate: Oak, caramel, raisin, baking spice
  • Finish: Long, tobacco, oak spice, smoke
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Chivas Regal 25, Glenlivet 21


The nose has the same apple juice note of every Chivas Regal whisky (Royal Salute is made by Chivas), along hints of almond and vanilla.

On the palate, the Royal Salute hits with oak are first, followed by caramel sweetness, along raisins and just a touch of baking spice.

The finish is long, pleasantly warm, with a bitter note coming from the oak spice, but nothing too severe, a note of tobacco and just a tiny hit of smoke coming late to the party.

Is it good?

The Royal Salute is quite smooth, although flavors are a bit muted with nothing standing-out neither for bad nor for good.

Everything is well balanced, with no off-putting notes, yet nothing particularly interesting to make this whisky unique.

This whisky would be immensely better at 92 proof (46% ABV) as it would add more body to it, along making it more flavorful but Chivas Regal likes to keep its releases at low proof.

Royal Salute 21 facts:

  • Royal Salute is a blend of whiskies made from grain and malt aged for at least 21 years in oak casks before bottling in handcrafted porcelain flagons.
  • Royal Salute was released on 2nd June 1953 as a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day.
  • The name comes from the 21 Gun Royal Salute, which is fired as a mark of respect for powerful dignitaries.
  • At her coronation, the crown of Queen Elizabeth II was set in rubies, sapphires and emeralds. These precious stones remain the basis for the colors of Royal Salute’s handcrafted vessels.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

  • Nose: Oak, dried fruits, berries, citrus
  • Palate: Caramel, smoke, chocolate, malt
  • Finish: Medium, light smoke, dried fruit
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Green Label, Macallan Rare Cask

According to Johnnie Walker only 1 in 10,000 casks is selected to be part of the blend.

It makes me think that Johnnie Walker must have a zillion casks in storage as the Blue Label is everywhere to be found as every duty free store in the world carries a generous stock.


The nose offers oak at first, followed by a light smoky note. There are hints of berries and citrus coming behind.

On the palate, the Blue Label feels creamy, rich in caramel up-front, followed by a malty flavor and a hint of chocolate. There is a bit of smoke making it incredibly rewarding.

The finish has a solid length, light in oak and smoke with a rich dried fruit note.

Is it good?

I would summarize the Blue Label by saying “smooth, smoky and delicious”.

This whisky is incredibly smooth yet quite flavorful with more peat than I was expecting but still just a hint and nothing off-putting for those who are not into peaty whisky.

The Blue Label is remarkably gentle on the palate, very smooth, slightly sweet with smoky cigar-like aftertaste. It does not burn as it goes down easy and nicely.

Just like the Royal Salute, the Blue Label would be incredibly better at high proof.

Blue Label facts:

  • Johnnie Walker is a blend of grain whiskies and a blend of malt whiskies from different distilleries; this is not a single malt Scotch.
  • Blue Label has no age statement. Johnnie Walker does not disclose the minimum aging of the whiskies that comprise the blend.
  • Each bottle of Blue Label is offered in a silk-lined box with a certificate of authenticity and a serial number. It makes a good token!

What do the Royal Salute and the Blue Label have in common?

Both are blended whiskies

Neither the Royal Salute nor the Blue Label are Single Malt Whiskies but blends of whiskies made from grain and malts at various distilleries across Scotland.

Both whiskies are artificially coloured using caramel-coloring. This practice is allowed under the set of rules that govern Scotch Whisky production but some aficionados frown upon it.

What’s the difference between them?

Royal Salute has an age statement

The difference between these whiskies lies in the age statement as the whiskies in the Royal Salute’s blend are aged for at least 21 years while Johnnie Walker doesn’t provide info on the length of aging of the whiskies in the blend.

Royal Salute vs Blue Label: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Royal Salute 21$185
Johnnie Walker Blue Label$200

Royal Salute vs Blue Label: Which is better?

The Blue Label is a more tasty whisky

WhiskeyRoyal SaluteBlue Label
  • The Blue Label is one of a kind, incredibly tasty, yet remarkably smooth and something well worth trying at least once in a lifetime.
  • It does not have an age statement, it’s not a single malt, artificially colored but it’s delicious and incredibly satisfying making a must-try and the best Johnnie Walker Whisky.
  • The Royal Salute is just good, with nothing remarkable or outstanding to make me want to revisit it in the future.

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