Top 5 Whisky Brands to Try Now

From single malts to blended whisky—all under Rs 5000

Sayoni Bhaduri

India’s love affair with whisky is legendary. India is the biggest consumer of whisky in the world with over; in 2014 India single-handedly polishes off approximately 1.5 billion litres of whisky annually, according to 2015 report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This number is predominantly driven by Indian brands and Indian made foreign liquor, better known as IMFL. Imported premium whisky brands make up for a very small percentage of the 1.5 billion litres. The good news is that the numbers are on an incline.

The trouble with imported whiskies is that the excise policies make it exorbitant and as a result prohibitive to invest in a bottle of good whisky. Many Indians never end up going beyond the desi whisky brands.

Also Read: Your Guide to All Things Whiskey

This World Whisky Day, we think it is a good time to introduce to some value-for-money contenders in the good quality whisky space. Two of the five are award-winning Indian single malts of exceptional   quality. These whiskies are not just good value but also are a doorway to tasting, exploring and appreciating the very diverse and vast world of whiskies.

Amrut Indian Single Malt Whiskey

Amrut Distilleries is modern India’s first distillery to create a single malt that has defeated global whiskey big wigs. The Amrut Greedy Angels 8 Years old has even made it to Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible  2019 as the Asian Whisky of the Year. it shook the world. Since the inception of Amrut single malt in 2004, they have grown leaps and bounds improving and innovating—they have more than 15 expressions! 
Made from barley sourced from Rajasthan and Punjab, Amrut Indian is their most easily available expression in India. It is aged in ex-Bourbon casks, which helps with a caramel and toffee flavour profile evolve in the whiskey. The taste or palate is big and bold with hints of obvious Bourbon profile.

Paul John Indian Single Malt - Brilliance

Another award-winning Indian single malt whisky distiller, Paul John has its state-of-the-art distillery in Goa. Following the tried and tested method, the brand established Paul John internationally before launching the whiskies in India. The six-row barley used, again, is from north India, which allow more protein and fatty acids to be part of the whisky and as a result incorporates more flavour in the amber spirit.
Paul John Brilliance has scintillating notes of warm spices mellowed with honey and caramel notes. The mouthfeel and taste is in sync with the aromas, in addition to the beautiful vanilla and cocoa finish.

Also Read: Whiskey-based Cocktails for a Happy Weekend

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Of all the whiskeys the island of Ireland produces, Jameson is the leader in terms of popularity and market share in the world. The journey of the whiskey started in 1780 and till date Jameson Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey made from five grain whiskeys and is aged for a minimum of four years on oak barrels. These oak barrels are sourced from US and Spain, ex-bourbon and ex-fortified wine respectively, that add the distinctive spice notes to the whiskey.  
Unlike the intensity of single malts, Jameson Irish Whiskey has a lighter flavour profile reminiscent of floral notes mixed with pepperiness on the nose. The floral notes continue on the palate blending in with vanilla and warm spices.

Also Read: All About Cocktail Bitters and How to Use Them in Cocktails

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s is not a Bourbon!
All it means is that even though, the whiskey production process is exactly the same as a bourbon but since it is distilled in the state of Tennessee, it has to be a Tennessee whiskey. In Jack Daniel’s case it is the town of Lynchburg, Tennessee where founder Jasper Newton Daniel first bottled the corn-based whiskey 150 years ago.
Jack Daniel’s has a growing fan following in India primarily because of the taste that is all about vanilla and caramel. A fairly simple flavour profile, but it does has the ability to evolve as it opens up in the glass.

J&B Blended Scotch

It’s a question that everyone has asked, what does J&B stand for? Justerini and Brooks. Justerini was a love-struck Italian who travelled to England only to meet with young George Johnson to start a business. Two generations later, they met Alfred Brooks to formally become J&B. The duo later goes to the first man to commericially blend whisky, Andrew Usher, to create the first ever J&B blend.
Today J&B Rare is a Scottish whiskey, hence called a Scotch, made by blending 42 different single malts and grain whiskies sourced from Speyside region. The blend offers subtle fruitiness to the whisky and the complex blend ensures that it can be savoured on its own or in a good whisky.

Here is LF's DIY version of an Old Fashioned recipe renamed Classico:
Top 5 Whisky Brands to Try Now

Featured image, Jameson Irish Whisky and Jack Daniel's:


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