Well, whiskey has been around for quite a while now, but it made its way to India in the nineteenth century during the British Raj. And that is when Indian people welcomed this drink with open arms. So much so that now whiskey is considered one of the best and most popular alcoholic drinks in the country. And when we talk about popularity, well, whiskey’s popularity in India is undoubtedly unmatched. That’s because recently, India became the largest global market of scotch whiskey. Can you believe it? Not only that, India is the largest whiskey market by revenue, even leaving the United States behind.
Looking at this much craze for whiskey in the country, many brands have jumped onto the scene to capture significant market share of the Indian market. But as we all know, only a few of these brands have been able to please Indian whiskey lovers over the years. And today, we are going to talk about some of these brands on this list of the top 10 best whiskey brands in India for 2023. So yeah, if you find that intriguing, then keep on reading because it is going to be a lot of fun. Here we go.
List of Top Whiskey Brands In India
1. Paul John
Starting off in the iconic streets of London in 2012, who would’ve guessed that Paul John Whiskey would find its calling in the bustling city of Bangalore? This trailblazing brand from John Distilleries (yeah, the same geniuses behind the top-selling Original Choice) offers a taste that is a sweet symphony of caramel and honey nut. And wait, there’s more, its secret recipe uses a concoction of Indian malted barley, fresh fruits, oaks, and salt. A trip to Goa’s sunny shores where their single distillery is located might give you clues as to why this Indian whiskey ages like a fine Scottish one. A big shout out to Goa’s fairly warm and pleasant weather for that!
2. Imperial Blue Whisky
Next up is Imperial Blue. Kickstarted by Seagram in 1997 and then taken under the wings of the giants, Pernod Ricard and Diageo, in 2001, this brand knows how to blend quality with affordability. Whether you’re a cocktail enthusiast or someone who likes their whiskey straight up, Imperial Blue is up for the challenge. Oh, and did anyone mention their iconic “Men Will Be Men” campaign? It’s almost as legendary as their blend. Cheers to Imperial Blue for making every sip count!
3. Blenders Pride
Stepping onto the scene in the late 90s, Blenders Pride from Pernod Ricard India decided it wasn’t here to play, it was here to lead! With its unbeatable combination of top-tier blend and pocket-friendly prices, it’s no wonder that this brand has the “Pride” in its name. The crowning jewel here for them is for sure the “Blenders Pride Reserve Collection.” With sales skyrocketing and hitting over 1 million cases annually, this collection is what whiskey dreams are made of. As modern whiskey lovers turn towards premium tastes without the premium dent in their wallets, Blenders Pride is clearly their drink of choice.
Amrut Whisky has been redefining the Indian single malt scene since 1948. Once focusing on spirits made from molasses, thanks to India’s massive sugarcane production, they’ve since turned a new leaf. In 2004, they shook the whiskey world by launching India’s first single malt in Glasgow, before even introducing it to their home country in 2010. Why, you ask? Pramod Kashyap, the brain behind Amrut’s global reach, believed that the elite of India was all about those foreign single malts. But times changed, and the new-age Indians looked for quality over the tag of origin. The result? A skyrocketing rise in the love for Indian whiskies.
Now, hold onto your glasses, whiskey lovers. Rampur Whisky is stealing the spotlight with every sip. Their most recent dazzleris surely the unveiling of Jugalbandi #3 and #4, part of their iconic Jugalbandi series, at The Whisky Show in London. These limited-release, cask-strength marvels are evidence of Rampur’s dedication to top-tier quality and ground-breaking ideas. Earlier, they’ve also graced us with the Sangam World Malt Whisky, a melody of flavors from old and new worlds combined. With the first two Jugalbandis flying off the shelves, whiskey lovers are buzzing with anticipation for what’s next.
6. Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker, that iconic Scotch Whisky brand we all know and love, has once again shown why they’re leading the pack in the whisky scene of the country. And in 2023, Johnnie Walker did something that took everyone by surprise. Well, they introduced the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami! Now, this wasn’t just another blend to add to their collection. Nope! It was a groundbreaking fusion of the brilliance of Master Blender Emma Walker and the culinary genius of none other than Chef Kei Kobayashi. When you mix that level of whisky expertise with top-tier culinary magic, you get a drink that is simply mind-boggling. But before you rush to get a taste, remember, this is Johnnie Walker we’re talking about. They’re not just in the game to create flavors; they’re here to craft experiences. And that is the prime reason why they deserve the spot on the list of the top 10 best whiskey brands in India for 2023.
7. Royal Stag
See, way back in 1995, Seagram decided to introduce this brand to us folks in India. It got so popular that, by 2000, Pernod Ricard said, “We’ll take it from here!” and they bought it right away. Now, just to give you a glimpse of its success, Back when Pernod Ricard got its hands on it, they were selling about 125,000 bottles every month. Fast forward to 2014, and boom, they’re selling a whopping 1.6 crore bottles every year. What’s their secret? Well, it’s all in the mix! They blend Indian grain spirits with some super-fancy imported Scotch malts. And then, they let it sit in oak casks for at least three years. This gives it a sweet caramel-vanilla-spicy taste. So next time you sip on some Royal Stag, remember all the love and care that’s gone into that bottle!
Next up is Antiquity whiskey. Shaw Wallace brought this beauty into our lives in 1992. It’s a blend of Indian and Scotch malt whiskey with some high-quality grain spirit. Then, they let it chill in American oak casks for at least three years. This gives it a rich flavor that’s deep and mellow. They have this version called Antiquity Blue too, and oh boy, it’s a treat! It smells like a mix of fruits, sweets, and vanilla, and tastes like honey, caramel, spices, and even a bit smoky. You can drink it straight, on the rocks, or mix it into some cool cocktails.
Now, here comes the big player, McDowell’s. It’s not just big in India, it’s a global sensation. Just to give you an idea, they sell a jaw-dropping 30 million 12-bottle cases every year. That’s like, a lot actually! They introduced McDowell’s No.1 Reserve Whisky in 1968, and ever since then, it’s been a favorite. You might have seen it in some Bollywood movies or even seen their name shining on cricket grounds. They don’t just stop at whiskey, though, they also offer brandy, rum, and even some ready-mix drinks.
10. The Glenlivet
Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about The Glenlivet. Some call it “the original single malt”. Why? Because this beauty has a history dating back to 1824 from the Speyside region of Scotland. Yep, it’s that old! And it was the first Scotch whiskey brand to have ‘Glen’ in its name. Even the famous writer Charles Dickens recommended it! Today, it’s the top-selling single malt Scotch whiskey in the US and second in the world. Every year, they produce about 21 million liters of this golden drink. It has this smooth, round, and slightly sweet taste, which can be enjoyed in many ways like neat, with water, on the rocks, or even in cocktails. Whenever you’re sipping on The Glenlivet, just remember you’re tasting a piece of history. And that is exactly why many people have begun to love this special whiskey. However, it is a little more expensive than the others, but in our opinion, it’ll be worth spending a little extra for the bottle of the absolute best whiskey in the Indian market.
There you have it. If you are a true whiskey lover, and you want to always know about the best brands that sell top-notch quality whiskey in the country, then we hope this post helped you in some way.
Santosh Kumar, He is a SEO + Blogger have 12 years of experience in writing tutorial, informative and product reviews topics.