Here are some of the disruptors and quiet entrants to the single malt segment in India over the past year.
Words like craft and provenance now dominate the whiskey industry. While some of these new entrants were the epitome of trickery, others silently advocate innovation and provenance. Interestingly, the point of origin of whiskeys has diversified over time, and for good reason – today you have a wide range of choices to choose from. On that note, here is the best new single malt whiskey to try right now. While some have branched out from older offerings, the others are new picks that would pleasantly surprise you.
With regard to India’s ever-expanding whiskey-consuming population, the largest spirits company Diageo has recently launched a new range of locally made craft spirits (from the Ponda distillery in Goa) – Epitome Reserve and Godawan. The second edition, United’s Epitome Reserve, a ‘peaty’ single malt, was launched in November last year. This limited edition offering from the Diageo India portfolio, with just 3,600 bottles – each numbered, is an attempt to expand the craft spirits industry.
Along with the colorful packaging and cask finish, the bottles bear the signature of Master Blender, Mahesh Patil. Made from six-row barley from the Himalayas and aged for seven years in an ex-bourbon cask, the whiskey is finished in a Cabernet Sauvignon wine cask. The rarity of the single malt makes it a collector’s item. You will find it in Goa, Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Dubai.
Price in Goa: Rs 8,000
The second locally made craft spirit, Godawan is the first craft spirit in the Diageo portfolio. It pays homage to Rajasthan’s heritage and seeks to raise awareness about environmental conservation and the native bird of the desert – Godawan, or the great Indian bustard. The whiskey is distilled from six-row Indian barley, matured at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and finished in a unique cask architecture with exotic Indian botanicals.
The creation speaks of innovation in whiskey making, and the attractive packaging sparks curiosity for its cause. Godawan is currently available in Rajasthan, Delhi and Dubai.
Price in Rajasthan: Rs 5,275
Glenmorangie: a cake story
Glenmorangie launched the limited edition ‘A Tale of Cake’ whiskey here in October last year. A tribute to the work of pastry chef Dominique Ansel, this version of one of the most emblematic single malt whiskeys in the world celebrates the joy of a moment of cake – shared between a grandson with his grandmother, and a father – incidentally Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Whiskey Creation at Glenmorangie — with his daughter. The icing on the cake, deliciously, is that the whiskey is finished in barrels of Tokaji dessert wine – a Hungarian sweet wine. Whiskey not only goes well with cakes, but also makes delicious cocktails. It is available in Mumbai and Gurgaon.
Price in Mumbai: Rs 12,500
Bowmore 15 Year Old from Beam Suntory is an understated entrant to the classic Scotch single malt segment from the Islay region. Particularly appealing to peated whiskey lovers looking for that extra fruitiness and sweetness, this edition from Bowmore is sure to attract attention. This rich, dark amber-colored whiskey spends its final three years in Oloroso sherry casks. With the backbone of fruit and peat, this award-winning whiskey targets new-age whiskey drinkers. You will find it in Bangalore, Mumbai and the NCR region.
Price in Mumbai: Rs 12,210
One of the newest and most admired single malts is Indri-Trini, launched by Piccadily Agro. The whiskey takes its name from the village where it was born and has already received numerous international awards and accolades. Indri also refers to the “indriyas” – the five senses. The word “trini” refers to the three wooden barrels in which the malt is aged. These are first fill bourbon, old French wine and PX sherry casks. It is distilled from six-row Indian barley grown in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Price in Mumbai: Rs 5100
One of Asia’s most awarded whiskeys comes from Taiwan and is called Kavalan. This single malt was officially introduced to the Indian market recently. Kavalan is made in a state-of-the-art distillery on the outskirts of Taipei and is surrounded by mountains and streams as well as tropical weather conditions. The ideal conditions contribute warmly to the complex flavors of the whisky. It is an absolute must for whiskey lovers around the world.
Price in Mumbai: Rs 17,250
Macallan 18 years Double Cask
What makes the Macallan 18 special is the aging in two types of barrels: Oloroso sherry and American oak. Notes of vanilla and butterscotch from the American oak barrel and specially selected, handcrafted barrels seasoned with dry Oloroso sherry give it a harmonious finish. The color is rich in amber honey, and denotes notes of dried fruits, caramel and ginger. It is available in Delhi and Mumbai.
Price on request.
A second salvo from the Glenmorangie stable, in March this year the iconic brand launched a new phrase, ‘X’. This new version is aimed at cocktail lovers, and is specially designed for mixing. It aims to capture the young and growing cocktail culture in India. The single malt is produced in consultation with the world’s best bartenders. New charred oak barrels give the whiskey a spicy, rich and full-bodied texture. Although there is no age statement, he is confirmed to be over eight years old. The ease of mixing it with tonic and cola makes it a fun single malt to try. Available in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Price on request.
Spectrum Amrut 004
India’s iconic single malt, Amrut, introduced the third batch of the limited-edition expression, Amrut Spectrum 004, in late 2021. The base single malt whiskey was aged in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in custom barrels. barrels. Additionally, four different staves (new American oak stave, French limousine oak, ex-Oloroso sherry cask and ex-PX sherry cask) give the whiskey a multi-layered flavor profile. Only a few bottles of this whiskey are available, that too only in Bangalore.
Price: Rs 13,000
Radico Khaitan’s Rampur single malt range only gets better with each new expression. Although this new one is only launching in the travel-retail segment, it is a whiskey to pick up on this upcoming trip to Delhi Duty Free. The name “Trigun” refers to “the harmony of three”, as the whiskey is aged in three different types of casks.
It is first aged in American bourbon barrels to reach the profile of an Indian summer. The whiskey is then transferred to champagne casks to add a layer of freshness, before being refined in Bordeaux Sauternes casks. The latter brings sweetness, with a citrus-based tint and fruity aromas. The whiskey has a high alcohol content by volume of 59% and is packaged in the characteristic style of the Rampur range – in a handcrafted silk pouch inside a drum.
Available at Delhi Duty Free, the Rampur Trigun will soon be rolled out to other global duty free shops including Dubai.
Price without taxes: 200 USD