Post image for Tasting Four Indian “Whiskies”

Tasting Four Indian “Whiskies”

by Oliver Klimek on June 23, 2012

When we met in Scotland for the Malt Maniacs’ 15th anniversary, Indian maniac Krishna was kind enough to bring along four miniature botles as I had told him about my plans to have a comparative tasting of Indian whisky.

By Indian whisky I don’t mean the well-known Amrut that has earned a solid world-wide reputation as a single malt. No, I mean the spirit that makes India the largest whisky producer and the largest whisky market in the world. Just like Amrut is very hard to find in India itself, the regular Indian whisky is practically impossible to find in Europe. The reason for this is that most Indian whisky is based not on grain but on molasess which is not recognized as ‘whisky’ by the European Union as it is actually closer related to rum. And even if this molasses whisky is blended with proper malt whisky, it may not be called ‘whisky’ in Europe and also not in America, to the best of my knowledge.

Let’s give these babies a try:

1. Regular Choice by R.K. Distilleries

42.8% – 28 Rupees (0.39 Euros) for 90 ml

Colour: Dark gold
Nose: Raw spirit mixed with cheap rum.
Palate: Caramel, grapefruit, cinnamon.
Finish: Short and spirity.
Overall: Not much to find in there, it is spirity, rummy and a bit edgy but I couldn’t say there are any really displeasing notes, it is just utterly meaningless.
Score: 35/100

2. Officer’s Choice by Allied Blenders And Distillers

42.8% – 37 Rupees (0.52 Euros) for 90 ml

“Contains permitted natural colour and added flavours”

Colour: Dark amber
Nose: Raw spirit mixed with cheap rum with a whiff of rotten eggs
Palate: Caramel, something vaguely bitter, cinnamon.
Finish: Short and spirity.
Overall: Basically the same profile as before, but the somewhat wierd nose brings down the score even lower.
Score: 28/100

3. Aristocrat Premium by Jagatjit Industries

42.8% – 46 Rupees (0.64 Euros) for 90 ml

“Contains added flavours – Blended with Scotch and select Indian malt spirits”

Colour: Dark amber
Nose: Raw spirit mixed with cheap rum with a whiff of frehsly used gym socks.
Palate: Caramel, something vaguely bitter.
Finish: Short and spirity.
Overall: Again very similar to the others with the nasal off note going into another direction this time. The palate boasts added blandness.
Score: 30/100

4. McDowell’s Diet Mate by United Spirits

42.8% – 47 Rupees (0.66 Euros) for 90 ml

“Blended with Scotch and select Indian malts”

Colour: Dark amber
Nose: Raw spirit mixed with cheap rum with a whiff of rotten eggs
Palate: Caramel
Finish: Short and spirity.
Overall: The rotten eggs are a bit stronger than in #2, but the palate manages to be even blander than #3.
Score: 25/100

Conclusion

Of course I did not expect any of these drams to make in into my Top Dram List. I was mentally prepared for the worst, but the tasting turned out to be not quite as mean. Acutally I was suprised how close all these whiskies are in character. On first taste I could hardly make out any differences, and even after several cross tastings and nosings the nuances remained very subtle.

The cheapest whisky of the four – Regular Choice – won by a small margin because the nose was straightforward and the palate slightly less uncomplex than the rest of the pack. Saving on additives can have its advantages.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: