As the largest producer and consumer of sugar, it is an irony that India doesn't produce Rums that would put its name on the Rum map and the even bigger one is that most of the million case whiskies from India are produced from molasses, a raw material for rum. How about Old Monk then? Old monk is a Cult more than a Rum and sits high on a pedestal. Well the scenario is changing now and we have rum brands mushrooming or should I say rum culture finding feet in India. Here are the brands you should know:
From the House of Third Eye, the folks behind Stranger & Sons gin, the Short Story rum brings together 4 countries in a bottle, Indian molasses rum and from Jamaica, Trinidad and Dominican Republic.
The latest rum in the Mumbai rum scene, the dark rum is made in Aurangabad with Sugarcane molasses and barrel aged spirits. The bottle says, it has no added sugar.
Translates to secret village, Segredo a Goan white rum is made from cane and jaggery and is a blend of aged (ex-bourbon barrels) and unaged rums. They also have a coffee flavoured variant.
Made by Piccadily Distillery in Haryana, it is India's first pure cane juice rum and their first expression is a 12 year old limited edition aged in ex-bourbon casks and has no addition of colour or sugar in the bottle.
Made in Goa, this spiced rum from Adinco distilleries is unique with its use of local traditional rice, the ukda tandel in the process. It reminds us of once of the earliest cane based spirits; the Batavia arrack made from juice and red rice in Indonesia.
A Spiced Rum from Goa with spices like clove, star anise, Cinnamon etc. all sourced from India. They also plan to launch an aged golden variant soon.
Just like the Short Story, the Two Indies rum is a Indo-Carribean blend and hence the name. The carribean rums come from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana. The rum comes from the house of Amrut Single Malts.
Makazai is a craft rum from Goa. The name translates to "I want" in Konkani. It is available in white and gold variants.
A brainchild of Lalit Khalani a veteran in the molasses spirit business, Rock Paper is a small batch variant from the group and available in 2 styles, a Spiced Golden and the Coastal White Rum
An export-only rum from India for now the Wild Tiger is made in Kerala and comes in a faux-skin of the animal to make the packaging unique. The rum is aged in ex-bourbon casks and is available in variants like reserve, spiced etc.
Ron De Ugar
From the house of Ugar Sugars of Belagavi, Karnataka who have been into distilling since 1961. The Ron De Ugar is premium brand from the house, they call it the handcrafted rum.
Cognac is the world’s best-known brandy. In India Cognac if often associated with Bollywood, “Cognac sharaab nahi hoti” said Rishi Kapoor in Chandni 1989 and then Shahrukh Khan to Kajol in DDLJ 6 years later. If you read between the lines and try to understand the deeper meaning, may be it relates to what the Indian upper classes generally think of the beverage, sophistication. Well Cognac certainly deserves the respect for all it undergoes to come into ones lead free crystal.
Cognac is made from the Ugni blanc grape, double distilled in a special copper pot still called the alembic charentaise and then ages for a minimum of 2 years in oak barrels, either new or in the ones that carried a wine or a wine-based spirit. These days a sherry or a port cask finish is quite common in the Cognac world. The time they spend in the barrel in indicates as VS, VSOP and XO in an ascending order of 2 years, 4 years and 10 years. The years indicate the youngest cognac in the bottle, the oldest may be 5 decades old. This is where the art of Cognac blending comes into picture.
A definitive Guide to Indian Gin Brands Here
The Cognac market in India is most in the Southern states of India, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the blue collared drink locally made brandy (mostly made from molasses) and the upper strata drinks Cognac. So, the following brands of Cognac are available not so readily in India but for the top 3.
Martell: The oldest of the big four in Cognac, the house of Martell was found in 1715 by a Englishman. The brand is now owned by Pernod Ricard and is known for its Borderies focussed Cognac, Borderies being the sub-region where the terroir or the growing environment gives it’s a floral overtone.
Remy Martin: Known for its specialty the ‘Fine Champagne’ Cognac which is a blend of grapes grown in Grande and Petit Champagne the most prestigious regions known for its long-lived Cognacs. It also produces the Louis XIII Cognac, it goes at Rs 3 lakhs plus a bottle.
Hennessy: The market leader of the Cognac world, Hennessy commands a 50% market share globally. It was found by an Irishman, Richard Hennessy in 1765 and today is owned the conglomerate LVMH. They claim to have over 70 cellars in Cognac.
Delamain: Established in 1759, Delamain is one of the oldest and still family run Cognac house. They make only Grand Champagne Cognacs and only XO Cognac which put them in the top tier immediately.
Godet: Found in 1783, this is an outlier of the lot as the house is based in La Rochelle a town in Cognac on the Atlantic coast. Going back in history this was the town where the technology of distillation met the wines of today Back then they called it "Brandwijn" in Dutch which translated to burnt wine.Today Cognac is the greatest of the burnt wines in the world.
Hine: Found in 1763 and based in heart of the Grande Champagne , Hine is know for its vintage Cognacs and specially "Hine Early-Landed Vintage Cognac" the barrels of which are aged in the damp cellars in Bristol, England. This English connection goes back to Thomas Hine who was originally English.
Louis Royer: Found in 1853, the brand is located in the town of Jarnac on the banks of the Charente river. You can't miss their logo, the Bee which stands for hard work and perseverance resulting in honey just like the committed hands which go into craft an exquisite Cognac
A. De Fussigny's : Made in a distillery that dates back to 1814, ADF was born in 1987. They do not have their own vineyards but work with farmers and distilleries sourcing grapes from the Grande and Petite Champagne to make a Fine Champagne Cognac.
Albert De Montaubert: Albert de Montaubert, moved to the Cognac region in 1842 to pursue his passion for viticulture and many years later, Albert’s great-grandson Pierre Barrier had the idea to start a brand to honor his ancestor. Thus, the Albert de Montaubert & Fils label was started in 2002, celebrating the skills and ingenuity of the people who have been tending to the vines in this region for over 200 years.
READ MORE ON BRANDS OF INDIAN MALT WHISKIES here
BELOW BRANDS ARE AVAILABLE IN INDIAN DUTY FREE SHOPS AT AIRPORTS
Otard: Made in the building Chateau de Cognac where Francis the 1st the initiator of the French renaissance was born, Otard was found in 1795 by Jean Baptiste Otard. He was the Mayor of Cognac until his death. The brand is owned by Bacardi now. This Cognac ages in cellars which are at the level of the Charente river with very high humidity and dry cellars over ground which give more blends for the final.
Camus: A family owned company found in 1863, Camus starting 1990s emphasizes on Borderies and also have a 100% Borderies XO Cognac which is their signature. They are also one of those have wine aged expressions in their repertoire.
Courvoisier: Being the only official supplier to Napoleon , Courvoisier has basked in the glory of the title ‘Brandy of the Napoleon’ ever since. They were also the Cognac to toast the ‘unveiling’ of the Eiffel tower.
The Happy High's Ajit Balgi is a Cognac Educator accredited by BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel Du Cognac), he is one of the 90 in the world and the only India based wine educator with the accreditation. " I ain't a Cognac expert yet but I love to imbibe the wonderful spirit, its provenance, its history, I sip at a time." says Balgi.
Imported Wine Brands in India with Mumbai Prices
India is a whisky drinking nation with many Indian whiskies on the world’s top-selling list (by volumes), however, the world does not consider it whisky and so do the finer palates of India as most is made from molasses or a mix of molasses made spirit which is cheaper and grain spirit. Nonetheless India has begun to make a mark in the fine whisky world, and it all started with Amrut a decade back. Here are the Single malt whiskies from India for the discerning.
Made in Bengaluru, it broke into the world whisky charts when Amrut Fusion was adjudged the 3rd best single malt in the world in 2010.
Paul John named after the founder is made in Goa and was launched in 2012. The Paul John Kanya was the best Asian Whisky of the year in the whisky bible recently.
Master Distiller: Michael D’souza
Made by Radico Khaitan a liquor major, Rampur is distilled in Uttar Pradesh and is a single malt. Like the first two malts, Rampur too took the outside in approach where it was launched for the foreign markets before it came to the country.
Master Distiller: Anup Barik
Woodburns - Tale of Oak
This is made at Fullarton distilleries; Goa and they call it the contemporary Indian whisky. Their mixed drinks and cocktail focussed approach seems to be working.
Master Distiller: Aman Thadani
From the house of Mohan Meakin know for the Old Monk rum, Solan is perhaps the best kept secret to the malt whisky fans in India. The distillery in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh produced Solan No 1 a malt whisky for decades and has recently launched the Solan Gold a single malt.
Peter Scot Black
Makers of Hercules Rum and Peter Scotch whisky, the Bengaluru based House of Khoday set foot in the Indian single malt category with the Peter Scot black and launched it at a much higher price point than the pioneers in the scene.
Inspired by Mount Kamet in Uttarakhand, Kamet is the latest entry to the Indian single malt scene. Working with different casks for aging including ex-wine.
Master Distillers: Surrinder Kumar, Nancy Fraley
Made in Haryana in the namesake town; Indri Trini is three wood aged whisky, ex- wine, PX and bourbon casks. It is made by Piccadily distilleries, the largest independent manufacturer and seller of malt spirits in India.
GianChand is a premium Single Malt Whisky with a unique character which it owes to the place it hails from- Jammu. The malt is named after Dewan Gianchand the founder of Devans Modern Breweries Ltd.(1961) and a pioneering industrialist from Jammu & Kashmir. The company has grown from a liquor bottling unit in its initial years to one of the leading manufacturer of malt spirit & beers in the country.
Ugar, 4 year old
A single malt from the Belagavi, Karnataka is aged for 4 years. It comes from Ugar Sugar works (found in 1939) who started their distilling business in in the 60s.
Imported Wine Brands in India with Mumbai Prices