Let's talk whisky – smooth, intriguing, and bursting with flavours! Forget the whole 'gentleman's drink' stereotype – because whisky is about fun and flavour, not labels. Crafted from fermented grain mash and aged in wooden casks, this distilled delight is a global sensation. From local gems to global sensations, our list celebrates the diversity of this distilled art. Our list isn't confined to borders-it's a global exploration of the best whiskies that transcend stereotypes. From local treasures to international wonders, these uncommon picks promise a delightful sip every time. Get ready to savour the spirit, no judgments, just joy. Here's to a whisky adventure that's easy, engaging, and absolutely delicious!
The Best Indian Whisky Brands NDTV Food Recommends (In No Particular Order):
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 represents 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 have also played their 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.
8. Royal Respect Premium Whisky
Royal Respect Premium Whisky is a new entrant in the Indian spirits market, launched by Khemani Group, a renowned name in the industry. The whisky is a blend of Scotch malts and Indian grain spirits, resulting in a smooth, flavourful, and sophisticated drink. The whisky has a rich amber colour and a pleasant aroma, with hints of vanilla, honey and oak. The taste is well-balanced, with a smooth and mellow mouthfeel, and a lingering finish. The whisky is suitable for any occasion, whether it is a celebration, a relaxing evening, or a social gathering. Royal Respect Premium Whisky is available in four sizes, ranging from 90 ml to 750 ml, and is priced affordably, making it a great value for money. The whisky has also roped in Sharad Malhotra, a popular TV actor, as its brand ambassador, who represents the brand's commitment to excellence and charisma.
Indri, an award-winning Indian single malt whisky, is celebrated for its quality and unique character. The bottle features a stylized eye, symbolizing the five senses it engages. Aged in bourbon, French wine, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, Indri offers a balanced and complex profile with aromas of mint, cocoa, and smoke. The palate is a mix of fruity, spicy, and malty notes like banana, lemon, and chocolate. The warm finish, with hints of oak and marzipan, completes the experience. The Indri Diwali Collector's Edition 2023 recently clinched the 'Best in Show, Double Gold' award at the Whiskies of the World Awards, highlighting the excellence of Indian single malts.
10. Golfer's Shot 18 Hole
Golfer's Shot 18 Hole Whisky by Alcobrew Distilleries is a perfectly blended imported Scotch malt and finest Indian grain whiskies, and matured malts aged in oak casks. The palate is enhanced by lovely apricot notes, as well as overtones of dry sherry and buttery butterscotch. This incredible trip concludes with a lengthy, woody aftertaste with aromas of cinnamon and the refinement of matured malts aged in chosen oak casks. Crafted by the Master Blender, this one-of-a-kind mix combines the peak of Scotch malts with Indian counterparts, as well as grain spirits, all aged in meticulously selected oak barrels. The ultimate result is a magnificent elixir designed for the discerning connoisseur and trendsetter, demonstrating the Blender's daring in pushing limits.
Best Lesser-Known International Whisky Brands In India (In No Particular Order):
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.
12. 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 describe 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
13. Bushmills 12 Year Single Malt:
Bushmills 12-Year Single Malt Irish Whisky has a smooth, mellow personality and has been aged in barrels that previously held bourbon and sherry for at least 12 years. The Bushmills 12-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky is full-bodied and dark amber, making it both complex and approachable. The mild flavour glides through your mouth and throat, all the way down to win your heart.
14. 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 furthest corners of the globe. The trademark 10-year-old malt whisky is for the modern drinker and offers smooth and smoky 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
15. Cutty Sark
Enter the world of Cutty Sark, a timeless blended scotch whisky that pays homage to the renowned clipper ship sharing its name. The bottle showcases a captivating depiction of the ship in full sail, capturing the essence of velocity and elegance. Within lies a whisky that is gentle and velvety, offering delightful hints of herbs, florals, and custard on the nose. The palate unfolds with a harmonious blend, presenting rounded and balanced flavours of barley, citrus, and spice. Concluding with a warm and malty finish, accompanied by a subtle touch of chocolate, Cutty Sark proves to be a versatile and effortlessly enjoyable whisky that lends itself well to savouring neat, on the rocks, or as a key ingredient in creative cocktails.