India has long fought for its title as a producer of great Whisky, and one that it is still having to strive for, despite the award winning malt that is made there.
Indian distillers have been in the Whisky market since 1982.
Amrut and Paul John have been producing Whisky for decades, and yet they still only largely sell to an international market, to the point that they are in the craft distillers category there.
And while their international competitors have been given accolades left, right and centre, it has taken a while for these brands to be recognised for how good they are.
This is surprising, considering that more Whisky is consumed in India than in any other country.
What is “Whisky”?
The trouble these brands have is competing against the other kind of “Whisky” in India.
This is the stuff that gets labelled “Whisky” but is distilled from molasses and sells for a lot cheaper. It isn’t premium and it isn’t what we would regard as malt.
There is still a lot of poverty in India despite the fact that it is developing incredibly quickly and also has the most billionaires of any country.
This means that the demand for cheap, easy to produce spirits is high.
Has this altered our perception of what Indian Whisky is on the whole?
Decades in the Game
But on the whole, it has taken their brands a lot longer to be recognised for their quality than others.
New brands from Scotland and Ireland are popping up all the time, but in India the growth hasn’t been as fast, or as rewarding.
The fact is, the single malt being produced at Amrut, Paul John and others, is good quality and some of the best malt around, yet it doesn’t get the airtime it deserves.
The reasons behind this are not entirely clear, but India certainly isn’t the first place you think of when you think of Whisky.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that people’s own prejudices stop them from putting the two together, especially for high quality malts.
The West tends to look at India as an impoverished nation that doesn’t share our ideals, but that is a narrative that should be challenged, and why shouldn’t we in the Whisky industry, lead the charge?