7 Whiskies Under Rs 2000 You Can Upgrade To
India may be the largest consumer of whisky in the world, but typical Indian whiskies leave a lot to be desired from. Brands like McDowell’s No 1, Officer’s Choice, Royal Stag, Bagpiper, are some of the largest selling made in India brands. By now you should know the truth about these Indian whiskies, which are primarily neutral spirit based and not malt.
If you’re looking for a serious upgrade in your whiskies but are very wary of spending too much, then this should be your go to list. They may not be in the same league as the Glens of the world but they’re good quality whiskies which deserve more credit than they get now. What makes them so great is the fact that they’re great to sip on themselves as well as great for cocktails.
Did you know some of these brands are 100% Scotch but bottled in India? They are imported in India in bulk by the barrels and then bottled locally. They’re better known as Bottled In India whiskies. This help brands save on excise duties which in return reflects in affordable retail pricing which helps you, the buyer!
Teacher’s Highland Cream
Even though original whisky production started in 1830, the Teacher’s Highland Cream brand was registered only in 1884. Today most of the production of this whisky is out of Ardmore Distillery. Global spirits and alcohol conglomerate, Beam Suntory, has been bottling Teacher’s in India for more than 10 years now. It was a prudent decision on their part, since the whisky has become the biggest selling brand for the company.
Price: Rs 1925
Jim Beam is one of the best known Bourbon brands out there. It is best known for its vanilla and honey notes which come from the time spent in American oak. In mid 2014, Beam Suntory’s whiskey brand Jim Beam started bottling their flagship bourbon in India. Jim Beam, as of now, is also the only bourbon which is bottled in India.
Price: Rs 2030
This Scotch is named after the famous clipper ship. The light hued whisky blend predominantly consists of Speyside single malts. It also finds itself mentioned in many novels over time. Cutty Sark too is being bottled in India. This is the first ever for the brand as well.
Price: Rs 1400 (Delhi)
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Our parents’ generation swore by this whisky, VAT 69 is one of the oldest imported whisky brands available in India. It is blend of approximately 40 malt and grain whiskies. In 2010, parent company Diageo decided to relaunch the brand with a new look and packaging to take on competition from brands like Teacher’s and 100 Pipers, both of which are also BII.
Price: Rs 1820
Black Dog is a 132 years old Scotch brand. It was introduced in India by United Spirits Limited, now under Diageo, when they bought it in 1993. They’ve been bottling in India from that time onwards, becoming a name to reckon with in the regular imported whisky brand.
Price: Rs 1820
100 Pipers was originally a brand owned by Seagram’s which came under the purview of Pernod Ricard when it was bought over. 100 Pipers along with bottled in origin Chivas Regal and their other brands like Royal Stag and Blender’s Pride have made it possible for the company to be a major player in the Indian whisky segment.
Price: Rs 1925
Maqintosh Silver Edition
The only Indian whisky to make this list is from Bangalore-based Amrut Distilleries. MaQintosh is a blended whisky made with grain whisky and Amrut Fusion. It has caramel, citrus and fruit notes which makes it a pleasure to drink. Alas, availability is scarce; if you find a bottle at your local wine shop make sure you grab it.
Price: Rs 937
Prices mentioned are for Mumbai only, unless specified otherwise.