From single malts to blends, here are India’s Top 7 whisky brands on a global high
Did you know that some of the world’s largest and most popular liquor brands are based in India? India produces 13 of the world’s best-selling whisky brands (including the top four in 2020) ranging from budget drinks to award-winning blends and luxury single malts.
Here are the top Indian whisky brands that are trying to make a mark globally
If you enjoy your drink, then Goa is the place to be. Not only has the sunshine state become a hub for craft spirits in the country, but it has also curated interesting experiences that go all the way from tasting whiskey, sipping beer, and sniffing gin to decoding Goa’s very own local feni.
India’s Paul John stepped up a notch again with a stellar single malt in 2021, Mithuna. I received two sample bottles (50ml) earlier this year, and I need to tell you that I enjoyed them. This is an unpeated, not-chill-filtered single whisky. It is matured in virgin American oak (the way folks following the Scotch model say “new”) and finished in ex-bourbon casks, before bottling at 58% ABV (116 proof)
Throughout a global pandemic, Brexit hassles, and the end of an international tariff war whisky brands and distilleries large and small have continued to launch exciting new releases. I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to try a few of them, doing my job as best as I can.
Paul John Pedro Ximénez Select Cask Whisky Review and Tasting Notes
Something sweet to start December on; the Paul John Pedro Ximénez Select Cask single malt whisky. Sherry reminds me of December and my Dutch grandmother. During the festive season, she enjoyed a late afternoon sherry on the patio. They were usually quite sweet, and in my mind, the smell of sherry became associated with Gauteng summer evenings, purple Hydrangeas, bright red Poinsettias and long chats.
Whisky is the most consumed spirit in the country, and now, we have access to some high quality tempting, luxurious labels that are all proudly, made in India. Here’s a list of some of the most expensive single malts released in India over the last couple of years, as compiled by Vinayak Singh of The Dram Club.
Drinks International is among the world’s most respected alcohol-related magazines. Being a part of a prestigious list like this one is a brilliant achievement for the two Indian brands. While Amrut’s parent company, Amrut Distilleries, had been in the liquor manufacturing business for more than five decades before they launched their single malt, for Paul John founder Paul P John, it was a stunning vindication of the bet he made in the 1990s as a first-generation alcobev manufacturer to move away from making biscuits and setting up a distillery.
The Little-Known Indian Whiskey That Beat Out the World’s Best
Paul John’s newly-awarded Mithuna whisky is the product of India’s west coast, where Indian and Portuguese cultures intermix for a kaleidoscope of culture and flavours. Now delivering one of the world’s top drops, as voted by Jim Murray, Goa sits aside some of the great American and Scottish whiskies in the hallowed halls of his hugely-influential Whisky Bible.
Paul John Whisky – Brilliance & Bold by The Finest Cut
John Distillery – the brains behind Paul John whisky – has been running since 1992 and is currently the third largest whisky brand in India. However, much of this output is comprised of molasses style Indian whisky; very little of which is either seen or consumed outside its home country.
However, recognising the growth in the premium spirits market, the distillery moved into producing single malts in 2006. The Paul John whisky range is named after the distillery’s chairman and has taken the world by storm, with a bespoke collection of high quality whiskies.
Paul John Mithuna Indian Single Malt Whisky by Whisky Monster
We first heard about Paul John Mithuna in September 2020, when it was announced as the World's 3rd Finest Whisky in 2021. Lucky for Paul John, this whisky was the only whisky that wasn't released as of the day. The winner Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye and Stagg Jr were already well gone and sold out. It took a few months, but we are finally about to see Mithuna on the shelves in a few weeks.
Paul John Nirvana (40.0%): Here is the newest addition to Paul John's portfolio... It is their new entry-level single malt whisky with an incredibly low price tag intending to carve out a permanent space for itself in the cocktail scene. Like all their other expressions in the distillery's line-up, it is distilled from six-row barley grown in the north part of the country in the Himalayas. Nirvana uses unpeated malt only, is matured in ex-bourbon barrels, and bottled at 40%. Many thanks to Sazerac Company and Koray Kaan Özdemir a.k.a. Whisky Monster for providing us this sample bottle for the review.
Paul John PX Select Cask is one of the new expressions from Paul John Distillery that is placed next to Paul John Oloroso Select Cask. Both whiskies are now additions to Paul John’s Select Cask range which is composed of Classic Select Cask and Peated Select Cask.
In 2017, Paul John launched their zodiac series of limited release whiskies named and blended to match the characteristic features of the Indian zodiac. The first in this series was the virgin Kanya (Virgo) and meant to be an “earthy, feminine [and] sensuousness” single malt. D’Souza used barrels that were a minimum of seven years old and bottled non-chill filtered it at 50% ABV.
In 2018, Kanya was named the Best Asian Whisky in Jim Murry’s Whisky Bible.
Ein Weihnachtsgeschenk aus flüssigem Gold: Paul John Christmas Edition 2018
Der extra für das Weihnachtsfest selektierte Whisky reifte dabei in ehemaligen Bourbon-Fässern und wurde anschließend in Oloroso Sherry-Fässern gefinished. Neben der leichten Rauchigkeit entfalten sich wundervolle, üppige Noten von Pflaumen, getrockneten Datteln und Nüssen. Ein Single Malt Whisky der mit seiner Aromenvielfalt perfekt auf das Weihnachtsfest abgestimmt ist.
It’s good fun! This is a young Sachin Tendulkar scrapping away on a dusty wicket!
In fact, Mr Paul P. John – we salute you. I reckon for this price you should get yourself a bottle. It’s good fun. Its youth shows, but it comes out fighting. This is a young Sachin Tendulkar scrapping away on a dusty wicket.
Beautiful balanced and filled with warming notes. Love it!
A beautiful mix of black pepper, cream cheese, white pepper, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, red apples and fried banana in a sweet batter and a good dose of powdered sugar on top…
The finish is medium to long in length with creamy notes, warm oranges, chocolate and fudge pieces. A complex dram and one that is beautiful balanced and filled with warming notes. Love it!