Singing with notes of oak and smoke – some of the world’s most flavourful ambers are the products of single distilleries. And if an on-the-rocks ritual is your idea of a good time, we’ve got a few delicious single malt recommendations – all under INR 5000. Budget spirits have never tasted this smooth. By Eshita Srinivas
Deemed the creme-de-la-creme of the whiskey world, single malts are often delegated to the top shelves of stores. These ambers are often mistaken for being from a single barrel. However, in actuality, they refer to drams from a single distillery that are made from 100 percent malted barley. This allows the whiskey to spotlight a distillery’s unique characteristics while amplifying all the flavour notes – fruity, nutty, spicy, or sweet – that a bottle of this spirit brings with it.
Naturally, they make for an easy, yet intense and luxurious sipping experience. That said, since these malts often cost more than bourbons and blends, a dram is often reserved for special occasions and elaborate cocktails. An indulgent sip, however, doesn’t always have to break the bank. Of late, a host of flavourful options from some of the biggest names in the game have paved the way for single malt sips that are as flavourful as they are economical (read, under INR 5000!). Here’s our pick of must-haves.
Elevate your dram ritual with these single malts under INR 5000
X By Glenmorangie
Crafted in consultation with top bartenders, this single malt comes from one of the most popular and luxurious whiskey brands in the world. X by Glenmorangie is made for mixing and has a sweet, rich flavour that makes for a refreshing addition to cocktails. Every sip is reminiscent of vanilla, pear, honeysuckle, orange sherbet, and chocolate fudge. This is done through a combination of whiskey aged in bourbon casks and new char oak casks. If you enjoy a good sazerac, there’s no finer whiskey to invest in.
Price: INR 4,971 approx. in Mumbai (700 ml)
Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky
A popular homegrown brand, Amrut offers some of the finest whiskies in the country. Their Fusion single malt is complex and thickly oaked, with a smoky flavour that works well when had neat. It takes a while for this to transform into full-blown peat but the flavour is worth the savour time. You’ll also notice hints of vanilla, fruit, spice and chocolate fudge. This single malt also won the World Whiskey Of The Year title in 2019, making it quite ideal for your home collection.
Price: INR 4,000 approx. in Bengaluru (750 ml)
This amber comes from the Isle of Islay – believed to be the birthplace of whisky. Laphroaig is known to produce some of the most flavourful whiskies in the world and their Select expression is no different. A unique blend of five specially-selected casks – Oloroso Sherry Butta to American Oak – every sip of this complex single malt is reminiscent of smoke and spice, cut through by sweet undertones. Best when served neat, this is an excellent gateway to peated whiskies and a must-try.
Price: INR 4,000 approx. in Delhi-NCR (700 ml)
Based in Orkney, Scotland and owned by popular Scotch brand Chivas Brothers, Scapa promises unique, quality whiskies. Their Glanza single malt is matured in American oak and finished in casks that earlier housed smoky, peated whiskies. This, the brand states, makes the amber a gentle introduction into the world of peated whiskies. That aside, every sip offers fruity, sweet notes of peach, pineapple, vanilla, and caramel. The finish is long, with a smoky touch. If you enjoy your malts with subtle flavours, this one’s for you.
Price: INR 4,700 approx. in Delhi-NCR (700 ml)
The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
Known for their classic Speyside malts that come with the promise of quality malts. In fact, Glenlivet happens to be the world’s second biggest single-malt brand, with a reputation for being home to some of the oldest single malt Scotch whiskies around. Naturally, their 12-Year-Old expression is a must-try. Pale gold when poured with notes of honey, peaches, pears, vanilla and smoke – the single malt is matured in European and American oak casks. Well-balanced and smooth, the finish on this is long and warming with hints of ginger and hazelnut. This makes for a quality addition to any home bar.
Price: INR 3,000 approx. in Delhi-NCR (750 ml)
Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
With the reputation for being home to the world’s best selling single-malt whisky resting on its shoulders, Glenfiddich takes its barrels and maturation processes seriously. Naturally, their 12-Year-Old rendition is flavourful and complex, to say the least. Aged carefully in American bourbon and Spanish sherry barrels before being paired and matured in oak barrels – this is as balanced as a single malt can get. Every sip is reminiscent of fresh peach, butterscotch, and delicate wood. That aside, it pours golden and has an elongated, soft finish. If flavour is what you’re after, this single malt might just be the one for you.
Price: INR 3,000 approx. in Delhi-NCR (700 ml)
Bowmore 12 Year Old
Reportedly Islay’s first distillery, Bowmore offers perfectly balanced single malts. The 12-Year-Old expression is complex, with notes of lemon and sweet honey complementing an underlying peaty smokiness. Every sip is also reminiscent of dark chocolate. The finish is long and mellow and pour is a warm amber. If you’ve just started out on your single malt journey, this might be a good bet for your dime.
Price: INR 3,000 approx. in Delhi-NCR (700 ml)
Ardmore Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Known to produce easy-drinking whiskies that are an ode to its home – the Scottish Highlands – Ardmore’s Legacy expression is a lightly-peated single malt that’s sweet and refreshing. It pours a light golden and every sip is reminiscent of vanilla, charcoal, honey, and spice. On the nose, meanwhile, are hints of cinnamon and toffee. The finish is lingering and full-bodied, with a silky mouthfeel that makes for a delightful sipping experience.
Price: INR 2,500 approx. in Delhi-NCR (700 ml)
Glengoyne 12 Year Old
Known to produce unpeated Highland single malts that are matured in the Lowlands, Glengoyne promises quality sips. The barley here is dried by air and never peat. Their 12-Year-Old pours a rich gold and offers notes of toffee apples, cinnamon, spice, ginger, orange, and shortbread in every sip. On the nose, meanwhile, are hints of honey, lemon, oak, and coconut oil. The finish is intense yet well-balanced, with hints of sherry – making this award-winning single malt a must-feature in any home bar.
Price: INR 4,000 approx. in Delhi NCR (750 ml)
Bushmills 12 Year Old
An Irish brand that’s known for producing whiskies that are layered, with several nuances – Bushmills 12 Year Old is matured mainly in former Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. It pours a deep amber and every sip is reminiscent of sherry, dark chocolate, and spice. Gentle and approachable, the dried fruit aroma in this one is unmissable. This full-bodied, complex whiskey is one of the best under Rs 5000 and works well if you’re just starting out on your single malt journey.
Price: INR 3,500 approx. in Delhi NCR (700 ml)
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This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India