The Indian appetite for oak and spice has only grown in the past few years – paving the way for award-winning blends and experimentative expressions of whiskey. We’re sipping our way through a few quality bottles – old and new – each worthy of an addition to your home collection.
Cask to bottle – the process of producing the perfect pour of whiskey is challenging. However, several distilleries in India have mastered the art – presenting the country’s vast malt aficionados with the most diverse range of flavour notes – vanilla, caramel, citrus, chocolate, and more. In part, this could be why the sales of homegrown ambers – especially single malts – have shot up considerably in the past few years.
Some pay homage to the country’s heritage – taking cues from ancient techniques and sourcing ingredients exclusive to its landscape. Many have even gone on to win awards, garnering acclaim from critics and connoisseurs across the world. And whether you’re a seasoned sipper or a beginner on the lookout for something closer to home – there’s plenty of options to choose from. Here’s looking at a few Indian whiskeys that are on our radar.
Check out our complete guide to whiskies in India
Quality Indian whiskeys that are worth a shot
Amrut Little Greedy Angels 8-Year-Old
Having helmed the single malt revolution in India, Amrut Distilleries is an icon in its own right. The brand’s whiskies are some of the most coveted around the globe. Adding to the lineup is the new release of the Little Greedy Angels Chairman’s Reserve series. Reportedly the first ever peated single malt – this amber is matured in bourbon barrels. The payoff is hints of burnt coffee, vanilla-cream custard, and demerara sugar on the nose. Every sip, meanwhile, is reminiscent of tropical fruits, salted caramel, honey, banana, and peat. The finish is refreshing and the texture is silky.
Price: INR 23,999 approx.
Paul John Single Malt Pedro Ximenez
Marked by quality single malts straight from the sunny sands of Goa – Paul John is a popular name in connoisseur circles. The brand has an extensive selection of ambers – each upping the ante on what a whiskey can be. The Pedro Ximenez expression is no exception – marked by the dessert sherry casks it’s aged in. The dark copper pour offers notes of fig, apricot, and bananas on the nose. Every sip, meanwhile, is reminiscent of sweet barley, butterscotch, dry fruits, and Christmas cake. The finish is long, with hints of chocolate fudge and orange peel.
Price: INR 11,500 approx.
Rampur Double Cask
Championing India’s diverse, rich heritage – particularly its royal days – Rampur Distillery has produced some of the country’s most quality malts. Their Double Cask expression is a testament to their near 75-year legacy. Hand-crafted, non-filtered, and aged in European oak sherry and American ex-bourbon barrels – the delicate whisky pours a dark honey. Every sip is reminiscent of rich sherry, nuts, apple cider, and tropical fruits. There are hints of cocoa and nutmeg as well, culminating in a long and smooth finish.
Price: INR 8,000 approx.
Kamet Single Malt
From the brand that brought India a rare cashew gin – Peak Spirits – comes a quality whisky that is named after India’s third highest peak in Uttarakhand. Matured in ex-bourbon American oak, historic ex-sherry casks, and ex-French wine oak – it pours a deep copper. On the nose are hints of vanilla, raisins, caramel, spice, and oak. Every sip is reminiscent of chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, and dried fruit, leading to a long and complex finish. There’s a certain lingering sweetness to the experience of savouring this one.
Price: INR 5,000 approx.
Translated to “the senses,” in Sanskrit, this award-winning malt is smooth and flavourful. Distilled in the Himalayan foothills, it is underlined by six-row barley that’s grown in Rajasthan for centuries. Manually harvested and selected for malting, this whisky is fermented and aged in ex-bourbon, ex-French wine, and sherry casks. On the nose are hints of caramelised pineapple, oak, vanilla, honey, and sweet cherry. The pour is sunset, with notes of nuts and wood in every sip.
Price: INR 5,000 approx.
New on the whisky block – this amber comes from the brand that boasts of nearly 60 years of production experience. Distilled in Jammu, GianChand is a nod to the founder of the company Dewan Gian Chand as well as local traditions and folklore. On the nose are hints of apricots, gingerbread, and prunes. Every sip, meanwhile, is reminiscent of candy, white pepper, vanilla, and bitter chocolate. Complex and flavourful, this one’s as smooth as they come.
Price: INR 4,490 approx.
From the home of one of India’s most popular rums (read, Old Monk) comes this complex whisky that uses water straight from the Himalayas. Aged on oak barrels for an undisclosed period of time, the pour is a golden-amber. On the nose are hints of honey, citrus, and caramel. Every sip, meanwhile, offers hints of oak, apples, nuts, toffee, and spice. The finish is mellow. This one makes for easy drinking.
Price: INR 4,000 approx.
Which of these Indian whiskey bottles are you adding to your repertoire?
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