I was recently invited to cover the Foundation Polo Challenge at Santa Barbara Polo Club on behalf of Lussorian. As the guest of premium Whisky brand Royal Salute we were flown by helicopter from downtown LA over the Santa Barbara coast to a secluded polo pitch, which was being used as an impromptu helipad. On the way we flew over Reagan`s resting place and where they test fired the Apollo rocket motors. Rosario Dawson a rising Hollywood starlet graced the rear of the helicopter while I lived a life long dream by taking the shot gun seat. This helicopter was a doppelganger for the iconic Airwolf (from the 80`s series) but without silent mode and various assorted lethal weaponry!
From the helipad we were then ferried by a luxury Audi limo through to the main Polo Club, which took all of 3 minutes and during which we were, sniffed, poked, prodded, and tested for explosives by various individuals who looked straight out of Men In Black, but who I presumed were Secret Service or similar. The security was as tight as a gnat`s bottom and rightly so given the luminaries attending this auspicious event.
Armed with a VIP pass I was herded along with other press via the red carpet, where disappointed photographers humphed at the nobodies who had just breezed passed them. Shortly afterwards the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge arrived and were immediately swamped by snapping lenses and baying crowds – they graciously posed and smiled before slipping away to the main marquee for lunch. Thankful for my anonymity I quietly sloped off to my lunch placing. Later I found out that my ugly mug had featured as a background blob on the 10pm BBC News. How fickle fame is!
Other celebrities taking lunch, included model Molly Sims wearing a cutout lace dress. Jennifer Love Hewitt was there and polite to a fault after accidentally stepping on my toe. Billy Zane, Rob Lowe and Nicolette Sheridan were also spotted. With lunch sold at $4,000 a ticket it was good to hear that proceeds were donated to charity.
Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge was statuesque in a Jenny Packham dress which she matched with taupe L.K.Bennett ‘Sliver’ sandals and a gold clutch bag. The newly weds bravely laughed and smiled through assorted speeches – god they must have the patience of saints……
Giada De Laurentiis Food Network celebrity chef, cooked up a delightful three course menu of California chopped salad with parmesan frico and marinated giant shrimp, followed by sweetcorn lasagne with blistered tomatoes and roasted asparagus, and strawberry meringue trifle or tarragon merlot truffle and toffee truffle for dessert.
Royal Salute`s latest super premium whisky was proudly displayed within the venue. The previous evening, at a dinner hosted by the Duke of Argyll I was able to sample Tribute to Honour, a limited release of 21 bejeweled bottles, with each individually numbered flagon containing a blend of rare whiskies priced at $200,000. Flavoursome but powerful stuff!
Lunch over with and a couple of slugs of Royal Salute inside me, I slipped on the shades and watched the respective Polo teams warm up. A fellow blogger quietly jested to me that I looked secret service, umm more like silver service I thought!
My knowledge of Polo is de minimus and truth be told my expectations were low. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the pace and skill of the game, whilst the Duke of Cambridge managed to bring it home for England with a virtuoso performance for team Royal Salute beating team Audi 5-3. As I watched the Duchess present the Tiffany crafted trophy to her husband, a lady with wind tunneled features ambled over to me and wheezed `secret service?` Now in possession of a full on complex I retreated to the sanctuary of the waiting helicopter!
To purchase a bottle of Tribute to Honour, applications should be directed to Giaia.Rener@pernod-ricard.com
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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