New Indian whiskies

Two single malt Indian whiskies were unveiled in London last night (May 14).

John Distilleries, one of India’s largest spirits companies, introduced Brilliance a 46% abv (alcohol by volume) whisky made with unpeated Indian barley and Edited, also 46%, which has 15% peated Indian barley in its blend. They were both aged in once used Bourbon casks.

There are just 2,000 bottles of each expression available globally and the whiskies are priced at £38.50 and £42 respectively in the UK.

The whiskies are available through Speciality Drinks in the UK, strictly on allocation. Most of the allocated is expected to go to restaurants and bars to gain visibility, trial and build awareness for Indian whisky.

Master distiller Michael John d’Souza and executive vice president, overseas operations, Sanjay Paul, were in London for the launch.

Asked if the whiskies are being launched in India, Paul said there would be a “soft launch” but the “single malt market has not evolved in India as 90% on Indian whisky was molasses based. It is a bit early,” he said.

The whiskies were six or seven years in the making, very much the project of the quietly spoken d’Souza, and the peated version was called Edited because there were so many samples looked at before a final blend was agreed.

Brilliance was light and elegant with a lingering finish. With water the whisky opened and flourished with citrus and floral notes. Edited had a light peaty/iodine note as expected from the 15% peated barley.