If you want to enjoy best whiskies of the world, you need to try Scotch whisky. The reason is simple: Scotland is the birthplace of the world’s finest whiskies.
They are made using centuries-old recipes and methods. Each Scotch whisky has unique taste and flavor. Scotch whisky comes in various types too.
Above all, the only whisky distilled in Scotland can officially be called ‘Scotch’. Even the most expensive Indian-made whisky is not Scotch.
The word Scotch is a Geographical Indication for whiskies made in Scotland. The term ‘Scotch’ whisky is protected under international laws.
To help you enjoy whisky and appreciate various flavors of this Scottish drink, I am listing my top 10 favorite brands of Scotch whisky.
This List helps us pick 10 of the best scotch whisky brands in India which are reasonably priced.
Please note that rates I have mentioned are only indicative. Prices of various brands and their variants can be higher or lower, depending upon where you buy.
Top 10 Scotch whisky Brands in India
1. Glenfiddich (Rs 3,100 to Rs.2 million)
Glenfiddich is the world’s best selling single-malt whisky. It is categorized as Speyside single-malt whisky and is a very popular brand worldwide.
There are over 27 variants of Glenfiddich whisky, each crafted in a manner that is unique to the distillery.
Glenfiddich matures its whiskies for a minimum of 12 years. Whenever you taste Glenfiddich, you are consuming one of the finest Scotch whiskies of the world that has been crafted using traditional techniques and recipes of nearly 250 years.
2. Laphroaig (Rs.3,500 to Rs.600,000)
Admittedly, I am partial to Laphroaig Scotch whisky. I rate all variants of Laphroaig as the best of what Scotland has to offer.
Laphroaig calls itself “the most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies.” The claim is somewhat true. Laphroaig is matured for at least 10 years and comes in various variants.
It is a single-malt Scotch whisky. The cheapest variant in India is priced around Rs.3,500 while rare and expensive varieties can cost up to Rs.600,000.
3. The Dalmore (Rs.5,200 to Rs.575,000)
The Dalmore has various variants, all crafted carefully to delight any whisky lover. The Dalmore is available as Highland Malt and Single Malt whiskies.
This lovely Scotch whisky is distilled and matured with unique processes. These techniques, used for nearly 200 years lend The Dalmore whiskies their unique rich tastes and flavors.
In India, a bottle of The Dalmore would cost you nearly Rs.5,200 while expensive variants sell for as much as Rs.575,000.
4. Chivas Regal (Rs.2,500 to Rs.175,000)
For most Indians, the brand Chivas Regal is associated with luxury. Chivas Regal is an excellent whisky by all means but a very common brand.
It is a blended whisky- meaning it consists of different whiskies such as Speyside, Highland, single-malt and others blended abd matured together in casks for a minimum of 12 years.
Chivas Regal is now easily available since its owners, Ricard Pernod has extensive operations in India. The cost of a bottle depends upon maturity and rarity of the whisky.
5. Famous Grouse (Rs.1,500 to Rs.21,000)
Famous Grouse is yet another popular Scotch whisky consumed in India. Famous Grouse is also a blended whisky.
It is considered as a standard whisky and is crafted by blending several types of malt whiskies and maturing them up to six months.
Famous Grouse is a Scotch whisky that was awarded the Royal Warrant by the British government. It also ranks among the most widely exported whiskies of Scotland.
6. J&B Rare Blend (Rs.13,000 to Rs.65,000)
If you have not tasted J&B Rare Blend, you could be missing out on one of the finest yet standard Scotch whiskies of the world.
J&B Rare Blend consists of 42 different Scottish grain and malt whiskies. J&B Rare Blend is often considered by many to be the topmost selling brand of blended whiskies in the world, though the accolade is disputed by some.
For the price it is definitely expensive in the Indian market. But you can always ask some relative or friend to pick up a bottle from the Duty Free at slightly lower rates.
7. Cutty Sark (Rs.11,000 to Rs.49,000)
Till today, Cutty Sark remains among my top favorite Scotch whiskies. Cutty Sark is a blended whisky made by mixing and maturing different malt and grain whiskies of Scotland.
What makes Cutty Sark so special? Cutty Sark finds mention in several novels and books as the favorite whisky of the main character.
Popular novelist James Hadley Chase mentions Cutty Sark in many of his books. Other authors including Stephen King and Haruki Murayami among others also mention Cutty Sark Scotch whisky in their novels.
8. Black & White (Rs.17,000 to Rs.53,000)
Black & White Scotch whisky is the only whisky that is seen in many Hollywood movies. It also remains the favorite Scotch whisky of several renowned Hollywood actors.
Legendary and fictional secret service agent, James Bond, can be seen sipping Black & White Scotch whisky in some movies too.
Black & White comes in a distinctly colored green flask. It is a blended whisky crafted with as many as 60 different malts and grain whiskies matured to perfection.
You get Black & White Scotch whisky in two variants, 1974 and 1960. The older one is more expensive since it contains rarer and highly matured whiskies.
9. Johnnie Walker (Rs.2,750 to Rs.48,000)
Almost everyone in the world has heard of Johnnie Walker brand of Scotch whisky. The most famous in India is Johnny Walker Red Label followed by the slightly pricier Johnnie Walker Black Label.
All Scotch whiskies of the Johnnie Walker range are categorized by label colors. Hence you have Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Green Label, Gold Label and Double Black Label.
Additionally, Johnnie Walker’s other famous whiskies include Aged 18 Years and Swing. In 2016, over 156.6 million liters of Johnnie Walker range of Scotch whiskies were sold.
It is the only Scotch whisky brand available in almost every country where alcohol is permitted and is famous among booze smugglers too for the high price it fetches in the black market. Johnnie Walker is a blended Scotch whisky.
10. Vat 69 (Rs.20,000 to Rs.45,000)
Vat 69 features in several Bollywood regional Indian movies where heroes, heroines and villains are seen consuming this famous Scotch whisky.
The reason for its popularity in Indian movies was possibly due to the catchy name and unique flask shape and color.
Vat 69 is actually a blend of some 40 different malt and grain whiskies from Scotland. Though it does not undergo prolonged maturation in vats, the blend of 40 whiskies lends it the unique flavor and taste.
There are four different variants of Vat 69 available in India while a couple of more can be found in select foreign markets.
According to various sources, whisky accounts for over 67 percent of alcoholic drinks sold in India. Whisky is also world’s most widely consumed alcoholic drinks and the third most popular beverage after water and tea.
There are many advantages to your health if you consume small amounts of whisky daily or once a week. Scotch is the best type of whisky because they are crafted using traditional methods and matured in wooden casks.
Scotch whiskies have a distinct flavor and taste. They are also rich in essential nutrients. Though expensive, Scotch whiskies provide excellent value for your money. And finally: drink and enjoy responsibly.