Best Indian Whiskies

If you’re never tried an Indian whisky then you’re probably not alone but you want to rectify that before their prices follow Japan and Taiwan into the stratosphere. India produces a lot of ‘whisky’ the bulk of which is made from molasses (like rum) and can’t be sold here as whisky, three distilleries break that mold.

Amrut based in Bangalore and Paul John based in Goa are both firmly established and producing spectacular whisky already, Rampur (based unsurprisingly in Rampur) is the new kid on the block but producing very drinkable, if so far uncelebrated whisky.

Paul John Peated Select Cask Indian

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4 out of 5

8 reviews

Paul John Peated Select Cask is cask strength, bottled at a pleasing 55.5% and showcases the distillery house style beautifully within waves of delicate smoke. Think recently extinguished campfire, iodine, lemon, unripened bananas, leather and dried grass. There's an oddly vegetative, mineralic peat with hits of citrus, grilled fish and oatmeal cookies. If you're not ready for the wildly varied single casks, or just looking for a gold standard cask strength then either this, or the unpeated Classic Select Cask would be a great place to go exploring

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£59.95

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Paul John Brilliance Indian

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3.9 out of 5

46 reviews

A nice exotic alternative to Scotch. For a standard entree bottling with a affordable price, Paul John Brilliance has quite a lot to offer from the get go and only improves with oxidisation so try to save some for later. On the nose you'll find grainy notes, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves on the nose with a layer of citrus in the background. The pallate is extremely pleasing; gentle sweetness, cocoa powder and nougat contrast against tropical-fruit, blood orange and mango. The finish is a little short and slightly astringent, think coffee grinds and sandalwood.

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£31.8

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Amrut Indian

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4.2 out of 5

36 reviews

This ex-bourbon barrel matured single malt is made from malted barley grown at the foot of the Himalayas in the northwestern Indian Punjad provinces. While the Amrut Fusion was the whisky that awoke the west to quality coming out of India, Amrut Indian single malt is the one that stole our heart. Aromatic spice and ripe fruit are present in abundance, look for intense barley and cereal notes bolstered by almonds, cashew and aprocot, there's a spicy rum note and fresh home grown chilli. The finish is pure fruit however, apples apricots and red berries. Delicious and almost unreasonably affordable. Matured in a combination of new American Oak and ex-bourbon casks before bottling at 46%, it has the strength and the depth of flavour to properly showcase both the distillery and the quality of Indian single malt whisky.

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£42.95

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Paul John Classic Select Cask Indian

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5 out of 5

5 reviews

An unpeated release from Paul John, produced by Goa's John Distilleries and bottled in 2013 at cask strength. Paul John Classic Select Cask is the standard Brilliance turned up to 11 and bottled at a stunning 55.2% ABV. Despite the relatively high ABV you'll find virtually no alcohol burn it's that well integrated. You'll find all the wonderful young whisky notes of grass, grain and green apples bolstered by tropical fruits that you'll find in Brilliance but there's an exotic, creamy tarte taste added to the mix that mellows and rounds with water. The woody notes are far more prominat as well, look for tobacco, leather, allspice and freshly cut sawdust. The distillery has been going from strength to strength since first hitting our shores in 2012 and this consistent high quality is exactly why.

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£55.95

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Paul John 6 Year Old 2009 (cask 522) – Single Cask (Master of Malt)

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5 out of 5

1 reviews

If you're going to go cask strength there are a number of bottles on offer, and Paul John has a number of their single cask whiskies on offer (officially only two per market at a time though this seems to not always hold true) but if you're going to go anywhere we'd recommend Paul John 6 Year Old 2009 (cask 522) bottled for Master of Malt and exclusively found there. It's easily the best single cask on offer at the moment, think oatmeal with butterscotch cocoa and fennel with just a hint of anise and toasted brown sugar. The finish is Toffee pudding all the way down. Matured in a first fill bourbon barrel from October 2009 to May 2016, bottled this whisky at cask strength, without any chill-filtration or additional colouring whatsoever.

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£147.95

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Amrut Fusion Indian

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4 out of 5

147 reviews

Amrut Fusion is perhaps the most instantly recognisable of India's global offering, as well as the leading cause of heart attacks at blind tastings in Scotland. While it's fallen out of favour compared to some of the more recent cask strength and unusualy whiskies produced by the distillery Amrut is, like the neighbouring Himalayas, well worth exploring. The nose is solid oak, spice, honey and vanilla. In the mouth you'll discover an explosion of flavors, sherry accents coexisting with hints of chocolate, pepper and caramel. Amrut Fusion is peated so expect a decent although surprisingly well integrated note of smoke throughout.

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£42.42

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Rampur Single Malt

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3 out of 5

16 reviews

It's not a superbly complex whisky but what it does it does very well, and at such a reasonable price point this is a potential permanent candidate for the world whisky shelf

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£43.55

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Paul John Bold Peated Indian

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4.3 out of 5

27 reviews

Paul John Bold is one of the standouts of the Paul John flagship drams, unlike the edited which contains only 15% peated spirit Bold is the real thing, fully peated. On the nose you'll find fragrant toasted barley, dried grass, smoked kipper and a beguiling mixture of manuka honey, citrus peels, green apple and red licorice. This mouth-melting malt has the most profound aromas that rush in like waves. At first sublimely silky and peppered with oak-like honey, and just when you think you have a handle on it, a second wave of smoky fills the upper palate, leaving a tidal wave of molasses, peat smoke and spicy tannins. Lastly the finish is strong leaving behind a smoked almond and spiced mocha. Gold star

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£36.98

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Amrut Cask Strength Indian

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4.1 out of 5

15 reviews

Amrut Cask Strength is bottled at a whopping 61.8% ABV. And yet if anything this is a particularly well balanced whiskey with powerful notes of dark chocolate, caramelised biscuit, blood orange peel and bitter sweet oak and leather. This single malt results from the assembly of several bourbon casks. If you're going to have only one Indian whisky in your collection you could do far worse

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£59.95

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The secret to the high quality of Indian whisky is the climate, maturation is a matter of time and temperature as the wooden casks breathe the suck up and then expel the liquid inside. In a country like India temperature highs, lows and their fluctuations lead to a far faster maturation, and rate of evaporation (above 10%) versus Scotland (2%).

The result is whisky worth talking about, generally characterized by cinnamon and honey notes. A blind tasting of the Amrut Fusion held in Glasgow had the experts had citing nearly every region of Scotland! Even after the shocking unveil no one could deny it was sublime. If you get the chance reach for a single cask, some of these are truly stunning.