Whisky complements winter like no other drink. The countless card parties of Diwali, never-ending Christmas celebrations and glitzy year-end revelries — all call for a glass of whisky with your favourite people. Wondering which bottles to stock up on? We have rounded up a comprehensive list.
1. Ardbeg TraighBhan 19-Year-Old
Ardbeg is one of the most famous whisky distilleries in the world and produces some of the finest single-malt whisky around. The peaty and powerful Ardbeg 10 Year is the cheerleader of the pack but the latest launch — a limited edition of its 19-year-old expression, Ardbeg Traigh Bhan (pronounced tri-van) is the one you should be looking out for. This exceptionally rare and ever-changing whisky is matured with a higher proportion of Oloroso Sherry cask which simply means more chocolate and raisin, alongside a distinctive mentholic character. Quite a sublime dram from Ardbeg.
Price: Rs 24,000
2. Indri Single Malt
This remarkable single malt has been tantalizing the senses of whisky connoisseurs and winning accolades ever since its launch. Distilled in Indri, Haryana, it is the first Indian whisky to be produced in three different wooden barrels — ex-bourbon, ex-wine, and PX sherry cask. This lends the dram a gentle warmth and undercurrents of spice. The balance of fruit and vanilla with a lovely barley bite gives it an edge like no other Indian whisky. It’s best enjoyed neat, on the rocks or with a splash of water.
Price: Rs 3,100
3. Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old
If you are looking for a creamy, approachable single malt, then zero in on this whisky from the Glenmorangie Distillery in the Highlands. First released more than 175 years ago, the Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old is distilled twice, creating delicate layers of citrus and floral notes. Maturing for 10 years exclusively in ex-Bourbon American oak casks lends it deep notes of peach and sweet vanilla. It’s bottled when the spirit reaches the perfect balance between sweetness and complexity. This is a whisky that’s easy to get into and easy to share.
Price: Rs 4,971 in Delhi, Rs 5,990 in Mumbai
4. Balvenie DoubleWood 12-Year-Old
The Balvenie is created in a distillery that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both coppersmiths and coopers on site. The 12-year-old expression gains its distinctive character from being matured in two different wood types. Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt. The traditional casks soften and add delicate character while the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour. The final few months in tuns allow the whiskies to marry harmoniously. This is a single malt that has the ability to convert a non-whisky drinker with its deliciousness.
Price: Rs 8,840 in Mumbai and Rs 5,000 in Gurgaon for 700 ml
5. Rampur Double Cask
Radico Khaitan, the makers of Rampur whisky, is the oldest distillery in India, with its start in 1943. The brand exclusively releases single malt whiskies, all distilled in copper pot stills. This particular one is aged in ex-bourbon and sherry barrels from European oak. It’s a remarkably drinkable whisky and the ideal choice for the holiday season. There’s a fruity character with layers of complex spices and dried fruit. It’s balanced, flavourful, aromatic and not wildly complex.
Price: Rs 7,800 for 750 ml
6. Jack Daniel’s Old No.7
Undoubtedly the most recognisable whisky on the face of the earth, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is made to a recipe dating back more than a century. The filtration through maple charcoal for purity and flavour, and then maturation in charred oak barrels gives this dram the classic JD sweetness and oaky flavour which has inspired generations of drinkers to enjoy whisky. Go for the festive pack that’s jazzed up with designs of diyas, fireworks and playing cards. The pack consists of the brand's iconic whisky along with two limited edition whisky glasses. For fans of flavoured whiskies, we recommend the deliciously smooth and refreshing apple-flavoured Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple. This one makes for a great sipper on the rocks or with tonic water as a refreshing cocktail.
Price: Rs 2,100 onwards for Old No.7, Rs 2,300 for Tennessee Apple
7. Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old
Regularly lauded by critics and enjoyed by whisky drinkers, Chivas 12 Year Old is a rich and layered whisky with herbs, honey and fruit leaping forth on the palate. Enjoy it straight, on the rocks, with water, with soda or with ginger ale. It also lends itself well to cocktails such as a Highball or a Rob Roy. By the way, this scotch is the preferred drink for many famous individuals including Frank Sinatra who requested Chivas liquor as part of his backstage rider!
Price: Rs 3,260
8. Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky
This fantastic single malt whisky from Amrut is made with barley grown in India and peated barley from Scotland. That’s why the name Fusion. It's also a cracking whisky, offering up generous helpings of fresh fruit, honey, spice and a good whiff of smoke. Go on the rocks with this one.
Price: Rs 5,100 approx.
9. Wild Turkey 81
Fans of bold and full-bodied whisky will appreciate this new variant from the iconic bourbon brand. The high rye content in the mash bill and the ageing in casks with a heavy char lend this whisky a smooth flavour and deep amber colour without the same heat as the older 101 proof. Wild Turkey 81 makes a great Old Fashioned or Manhattan but can be enjoyed on the rocks too. Expect classic bourbon notes of vanilla, caramel and maple. The winning part is that it’s one of the best bourbons at a very reasonable price.
Price: INR 2,623
10. Akashi White Oak Single Malt
Japanese whiskies are the rage and this particular one is among the most affordable. The maturation in barrels made with oloroso, shochu, bourbon, American oak and pedro ximenez gives the whisky an aroma of nutmeg, black pepper and walnut loaf. It tastes different with every sip but every sip is stunning. It’s best enjoyed on the rocks.
Price: Rs 8,000