Whisky is called 'a gentleman's drink' for a reason. It is one of the smoothest alcoholic beverages that has an acquired taste, which seasoned aficionados swear by. Whisky is a distilled drink made from fermented grain mash and aged in wooden casks or oak barrels. While a host of international whisky brands are now easily available in India but you can find many good ones being manufactured in our own lands too. Here are our top picks for some of the uncommon but great whisky brands in India that are worth a shot.
The Best Indian Whisky Brands
1. Royal Ranthambore - Heritage Collection
Radico Khaitan Limited (RKL) is one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in India. Royal Ranthambore - Heritage Collection is an ode to yesteryear rulers and represent Indian royalty. It is crafted from different bespoke blended malt scotches from various regions of Scotland. The rare scotch grain is made from 100% malted barley blended with oak-infused Indian grains. It has a prominent woody note that lingers on even after the first sip.
2. Paul John Oloroso Select Cask
The award-winning Paul John Oloroso Select Cask is manufactured in Goa and is popular all across the globe. The single malt leaves a meld of sweet and sour notes of dark chocolate with a citrusy finish that transports you to a beachside.
Yaksha is a premium whisky from the house of Blisswater Industries. It is inspired by the fusion of the mystical Soma-infused ingredients with premium Scotch from the highlands of Scotland. Currently available exclusively in Goa, it will soon be available in other parts of India as well. Yaksha is a rich melange of the finest Indian grain spirits and quality malt and scotch that is 5 years aged in first-fill bourbon barrels made of American Oak. The whisky is charcoal filtered to create a refined texture for smoky finish. The blend exudes soft smokiness and hints of honey and dates.
4. Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky
Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky is manufactured in by Amrut Distilleries in Bengaluru. It is a blend of Scottish and Indian barley. The blend offers a mash-up of fruity, citrusy spice and vanilla-chocolate flavours with a surprising finish of marmalade.
5. ICONiQ White
Allied Blenders and Distillers (ABD) Ltd. recently announced the launch of its new whisky "ICONiQ White". In a bold new step for the Indian alcobev industry, the brand was first launched first in ABD MetaBar - the organization's presence in the metaverse. ICONiQ White is a blend of imported Scotch malts aged in bourbon oak casks, blended with select matured malt and finest Indian grain spirits. The fruity and nutty aromas of the blend complement its woody character.
GianChand is the first premium single malt whisky from the house of DeVANS, which has been named after the company's founder, Dewan Gian Chand. It is a delicate Indian malt with a pineapple drop candy sweetness carried hand-in-hand by barley and a firm vanilla backbone softened by thin oils that ensure the tannin build. The flavours in the premium single malt have been optimised by unique systems developed over decades while the ideal Jammu weather & topography has also played its part in the process. Although, the casks have matured for several years in high heat, the oak involvement is gloriously restrained, allowing the fragile malt and exotic fruit notes space to perform.
7. Sherry Platinum Premium
The exquisite and velvety flavour of Sherry Platinum Premium Whisky, introduced by Alcostar Distillery in Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh in July 2020, has caused a sensation. It is a refined and exquisite blend of malted whisky, carefully aged in oak casks to imbue it with a distinctive and captivating taste. Its flavour profile is a harmonious combination of Indian grain spirits and imported Scotch malt, resulting in a remarkable liquid. Whether consumed neat or mixed with water, soda, or ice, Sherry Platinum's warm and pleasant taste provides a velvety smooth sensation on the palate. The finish is long and satisfying, leaving a warm and comforting feeling in the mouth.
Best Lesser-Known International Whisky Brands In India:
Barrhead's One Whisky is a premium single malt Scotch whisky that is made from the finest Scottish barley and pure spring water, and is aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak casks to achieve its rich and complex flavour profile. With its smooth and mellow taste, Barrhead's One Whisky is the perfect choice for those who appreciate the finer things in life.
9. Scottish Leader
Scottish Leader is a young brand born in 1976, spearheaded by a female lead blender! Scottish Leader is a blend of over 30 different scotches, malts and grain whiskies and is matured in oak barrels. The whisky has a golden appearance with big, full nose aromas of subtle sweet smokiness, with fruity hints of malt, sherry and oak. Full bodied, rich flavours of toffee and nuts, with a well-balanced blend of silky, smooth and spicy describes this premium whisky. The finish is an aromatic and satisfying one with a long smokey finale.
Scottish Leader has also won some prestigious awards:
World Whisky Awards - Silver 2021
International Wine and Spirits Competition - 92 Points 2022
International Spirits Challenge - Silver 2022
10. Jura Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Founded in 1810, the distillery is located on a remote island 60 miles off the west coast of Scotland. It is the only distillery on the island and one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. The island community of 212 islanders are dedicated to making Jura unique and the best it can be. Jura's distinctive taste comes from blending peated and unpeated whisky to give this island malt its distinctive taste. The bottle is specially designed with its rounded edges to withstand the treacherous journey from the island to the furthermost corners of the globe. The trademark 10-year-old malt whisky is for the modern drinker and offers smooth and smoky with sherry sweetness. It is crafted in exceptionally tall stills and matured for 10 years in America White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and the fresh sea air.
Double Gold - San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Gold - World Whisky Awards
Gold - Bartender's Brands