In the pre-Vedic era, Alcohol consumption was called som-ras. In the Harappan civilization, toddy was produced from palm trees and in the Vedic era alcohol was imbibed by Gods and Humans. Som-ras, a form of beer was the drink of gods and was popular among the population as well. If we date back to the history of India, flowers, grains, and fruits were used for the production of alcohol Uncovering the Best Whisky Brands in India.
In the Ayurveda system of medicine, alcohol is considered an integral part and was consumed for its revitalizing effects. In modern India, traditional drinks like toddy and mahua are still popular. These are made from cashews, coconuts, and mahua flowers. India is the third largest liquor market in the world after China and Russia. The rise in urbanization, demographics, and social alcohol consumption are some of the key factors for its growth. Let’s find out the best whisky brands in India.
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Understanding Whisky in India
Rectified alcohol is produced from molasses. The technique used is column distillation. Malt whisky is produced from barley malt that undergoes a process of fermentation, still distillation, and maturation. Molasses is used as the base in Indian whiskies.
The highest malt content is present in premium whiskies and is produced without extra flavours. Blended Scotch and Blended Indian whisky demonstrate a rich malty and woody aroma and taste. Whereas, economy Indian whisky is different from the two as it did not contain malt and woody attributes.
Rectified alcohol used as a base offers multiple benefits. It serves as a common inventory for products such as whiskies and vodka along with giving better uniformity. Additionally, it helps to retain the taste and aroma of premium Indian whiskies.
Best Whisky Brands in India
The distilled spirit segment named Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) includes whisky, brandy, rum, gin, and vodka. Indian whiskies have a distinct identity due to the tradition of blending with neutral alcohol produced from cane molasses to produce extra neutral alcohol (ENA).
But due to changing trends in the recent past, neutral alcohol from grain has also been adopted by most Indian manufacturers, particularly for use in blending premium whiskies. Economy whiskies are made with ENA and flavourings. Premium blended whiskies, besides ENA, can contain Indian and/or Scotch malts, and there are single-malt whiskies that contain only Indian malts.
7 Best whisky brands in India
Imperial Blue is one of the best-selling whiskies that was launched in India in 1997. It is a blend of Indian grain and scotch malts and is appreciated by whisky lovers worldwide. Year by year its success has grown and currently, it is the largest brand by volume.
Johnnie Walker is also considered the epitome of blending. Created in the 19th century, it reflected the style of whiskies. It was created from some hand-selected casks which made them set aside for their quality and flavour. It empowers a unique and powerful character while retaining its smokiness.
One of the best premium blended whiskies, Blenders Pride was launched in 1995. The production of this whisky undergoes a distillation and maturation process. This provides it with a velvety texture and a balanced flavour.
Launched in 1995, the brand was redefined by using Indian grain with Scotch malts. Royal stag does not use any artificial flavour. The whisky is available in different volumes of bottles. The brand was also identified by Pernod Richard and even became its biggest-selling brand in 2011.
Founded by Kishore Chhabria in 1988, Officer’s Choice is one of the largest spirit brands in India. Commonly known as OC, it became the world’s largest spirit-selling brand in 2014. The blending process results in providing a consistent flavour of the whisky.
Launched in 1976, Bagpiper is one of the best whisky brands in India manufactured by the USL. It became the largest-selling brand from 2005 to 2010. It has a malty aroma and a woody texture. The neutral spirit is used as a base and comes in tamper-proof bottles. In the middle east, a bagpiper is exported to 10 countries.
Chivas Regal was founded in 1786 and has been leading the market in Europe and Asia for ages 12 years and older. It is blended from various whiskies and is aged for around 12 years. In 2016, it was recognized as the fourth among the best whisky brands in India.
Understanding the Bio-chemical association of whisky
Whisky is described as a blend of chemicals with each chemical having its own aroma. This may ensure that the flavour of whisky is determined by its chemical constitution. Taste is determined by the trigeminal nerve in the mouth and the nose carries the signals. The olfactory receptors present at the apex of the nasal cavity detect the Armoa. The flavour is the combination of taste and aroma.
Going back to the pre-vedic era, alcohol has a long history in India. Traditionally known as som-ras, alcohol was consumed by Gods and the general public. Ingredients such as flowers, palms, fruits, and grains have been popularly used in India to produce alcohol. In various parts of the country, ancient drinks such as toddy and mahua are still famous.
India is the third largest market globally and has marked significant growth in the industry. Among all the beverages, whisky is mostly consumed and is the hub of the best whisky brands in India.
Made from blending Scotch malt and Indian grains, whiskies are now shifting towards a more neural composition constituting only grains. The best whisky brands in India are distinguished due to their unique aroma, velvety texture, and balanced flavour.
What is som-ras?
Som-ras is a traditional alcoholic beverage that was consumed in the Pre-Vedic culture of India. Not only the general public but according to the Hindu mythology. It was consumed by Gods as well. It was prepared by a blend of fruits, flowers, palm trees, and grains.
What were the traditional alcoholic drinks in ancient India?
Some examples of traditional drinks in ancient India include toddy and mahua. These are primarily made from palm trees and mahua flowers, respectively. These are largely produced in Goa.
Why was alcohol consumed in the Ayurveda system of medicine?
In the Ayurvedic texts, alcohol was consumed in ancient India due to its revitalizing effects on the body.
What is the rank of India in the global liquor market?
After China and Russia, India stands at number three making itself the third-largest alcohol market globally.
What are the factors contributing to the growth of the liquor market in India?
Increase in Urbanization, Social acceptance of alcohol consumption, and change in demographics are some of the key factors determining the growth of the liquor market in India.
How is rectified alcohol produced?
Rectified alcohol/Neutral alcohol is produced from molasses. It undergoes a process known as column distillation.
What is the base used in Indian whiskies?
The most commonly used base in Indian whiskies is molasses.
What makes premium blended whiskies distinct in terms of aroma and taste?
Premium blended whiskies like scotch and Indiam premium whiskies has a malty and woody aroma due to the presence of malts.