A connoisseur-grade usquebaugh doesn’t have to burn a hole through your pocket. In fact, the best in the business have bottles priced at Rs 7,000 or less. We’re sipping our way through the most affordable premium whiskeys.
Quality ambers are often tied to prices steeper than the Everest. These occupy the top shelves of stores, boasting of long maturation periods in the finest oak – worthy of being saved for that long-awaited promotion or engagement. And while there are plenty of smooth whiskeys that come at a premium, several popular brands have expressions that go down like a dream without breaking the bank. The best part? This list has only grown over the past few years. Here’s looking at a few options that we turn to for our everyday on-the-rocks ritual.
Check out our complete guide on whiskies in India.
Premium whiskeys that will only set you back by Rs 7,000
Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
From the brand that’s known for crafting the world’s best-selling single malt whisky – Glenfiddich’s 12-year-old expression is flavourful, complex, and affordable. It’s aged carefully in American bourbon, Spanish sherry, and oak barrels – which give it a golden pour and soft finish. Every sip is reminiscent of peach, wood, and butterscotch. On the nose are hints of wood and fresh pear. Besides being a stellar addition to any home bar, this single malt is also perfect for gifting. Need we say more?
Price: Rs 7,000 approx.
From the house of Brown Forman – which also happens to be the name behind Jack Daniel’s – Woodford Reserve has the reputation for being the first to make fine bourbon in 1812. The whiskey pours a brilliant honey amber and is perfectly balanced – with every sip featuring over 200 flavour notes, from spicy and creamy to fruity and oaky. In particular, you’ll discover hints of oranges, cocoa, caramel, cinnamon, mint, vanilla, honey, and tobacco – each of which contribute to its long, silky finish. Like most bourbons, this one works well when added to cocktails but is just as delightful when sipped neat.
Price: Rs 7,000
Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
With the reputation of producing some of the world’s most flavourful, modern whiskeys – Teeling is a popular feature on many connoisseurs’ home bars. Their flagship expression lies at the heart of this reputation. Made with a blend of malt and grain whiskeys – the amber is aged in ex-bourbon barrels and casks that held American rum. Post this, it is rested for about 12 months. The payoff? The aroma of cut grass, orange blossom, apple-pie, blackberries, rose petals, and all spice. Every sip, meanwhile, is reminiscent of lemon curd, vanilla, and cinnamon. The finish is creamy, lively, and fresh. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of this one.
Price: Rs 7,000 approx.
Ardbeg 10 Year Old
Having been in the business of distilling smooth malts since 1815, Ardbeg is wildly popular in whisky circles – particularly amongst peat aficionados. Their 10-year-old expression lives up to the reputation, having won the World Whisky Of The Year title in 2008. It pours a light gold and has the aroma of peat with notes of lemon, dark chocolate, menthol, black pepper, baked pineapple, and pear. Every sip is reminiscent of cinnamon-spiced toffee, smooth buttermilk, ripe bananas, currants, cappuccino, and toasted marshmallows. This gives way to hints of dry espresso, aniseed, and toasted almonds – complete with a long, smoky finish. If that doesn’t spell quality, we don’t know what does.
Price: Rs 6,800 approx.
Adding a touch of homegrown goodness to this roundup – Amrut is known for its luxurious whiskies. Having pioneered the single malt revolution in India – the malts here are as smooth as they come. Their latest – Kurinji – is no exception and is an ode to the exuberant and elusive Kurinji flowers – which grow in the hills of South India and bloom once in 12 years. About 8,100 bottles capture the spirit of the purple phenomenon. On the nose are notes of jasmine and honeysuckle, with hints of coriander, white pepper, and spring water. Every sip, meanwhile, is reminiscent of candied ginger, vanilla, peach, pear, honey, nutmeg, and ginger. The finish is lingering, with notes of spiced oak. If you enjoy a good collector’s whisky, this one’s worth investing in.
Price: Rs 6,000 approx.
X By Glenmorangie
Those who enjoy a good whisky cocktail (Sazerac, anyone?) will enjoy sipping on this expression – which hails from one of the world’s most popular, luxurious whisky brands. Aged in bourbon casks and new char oak casks, this young single malt comes with notes of vanilla, pear, honeysuckle, creme brulee, chocolate fudge, and orange sherbet. The rich, distinctively sweet flavour makes for a smooth sipping experience. Not to mention, it fits right into any boozy creation.
Price: Rs 5,000 approx.
Aberfeldy Scotch 12 Years
For over a century, Aberfeldy Distillery has been crafting smooth malts – building a wildly popular reputation in whisky circles. The 12-year-old expression is aged in handmade oak casks – with every sip being reminiscent of lively fresh tangerines and nectarines, fudge, cherry, pineapple, toast, raspberry, and cocoa. On the nose are hints of spices, vanilla, and smoke. The finish, meanwhile, is full and smooth – lending this premium whiskey well to being added to old-fashioned cocktails as well as a sazerac. It also shines in a hot toddy. Soft, creamy, and flavourful, this one makes for easy drinking.
Price: Rs 5,000 approx.
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