As roughly a million Indians hit ‘crazy rich’ levels of wealth (see our blog the quality of luxury tipples being sold in India is ascending to world class levels. As we approach Diwali and demand for Indian single malts roars, Bobby Ghosh adds to the festive cheer by informing us that “…a few weeks ago an Indian malt whisky, Indri Diwali Collectors Edition 2023, was named best in show at the Whiskies of the World Awards, beating out competition from better known brands of scotch — as well as American bourbon and single malts from several other countries.  And it’s not a one-off, either. In little over a decade, several brands from India have made their way onto the shelves of liquor stores all over the world.”

So, what explains Indian single malts’ rise to global fame? For starters, India has now become the largest export market for scotch (exported from Britain). If you add to that domestic whisky production, you have world’s largest market for whisky. Combine that with Indian entrepreneurial spirit and you have a recipe for world class single malts. Mr Ghosh writes, “Malt whiskies are on an especially hot streak in India: Vikram Damodaran, chief innovation officer of Diageo India, reckons sales in this segment have grown sixfold to 300,000 cases a year in less than a decade. But here’s the twist: The hottest brands in that category come not from Scotland but from much closer home. Indian brands, like Amrut, Paul John and Diageo’s own Godawan, command premium prices that until recently were the privilege of the likes of Macallan, Lagavulin and Talisker. And what’s more, the Indian brands are now traveling abroad, taking advantage of the growing international taste for fine whiskies from nontraditional sources. They are earning rave reviews from arbiters of whisky taste in Europe and beyond.”

In addition, as Indian food – and thus Indian restaurants – become popular in the West, these restaurants serve as convenient venues in which to showcase India’s finest tipples. The Japanese whisky manufacturers should be watching this space carefully.

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