My recent one week stint at Bangalore gave me the chance to get my hands on a few local whiskies, some of which aren’t either available in Australia, are scarce and rare or just costs dearer.
Roaring its way into the month of October is a whisky that has both aesthetics and a name that keeps up to its regality. The Royal Ranthambore takes its inspiration after the National Ranthambore Park, a place once home to the kings of yesteryears; now a national reserve where India’s tigers roam free and wild. It comes as no surprise that the majestic tiger takes spot as the expression’s mascot with the coordinates of the park neatly detailed on their labelling. The bottle has a Hibiki like styling, multi sided but with a longer and skinnier body with narrower faces and a cap that at first seems authentic cork but isn’t; the design however doesn’t fall short of style with its good looks! [First impressions – Check!!]
Chipping away on the surface, the whisky is a ‘Scottish – Indian’ blend with its Scottish half made from 100 % malted barley. There aren’t any details to its origins nor the type of aging other than it being sourced from different geographical regions. The Indian half isn’t exactly Indian and isn’t exactly whisky too (if we were to go by true definition). However the lack of clear demarcation of what constitutes an indian whisky makes this slip through the cracks. The distillers leverage neutral grain spirits infused with oak to serve as the remaining portion of the blend. These spirits are near pure alcohol (95%+) with no inherent flavours serving more as a buffer to the entire concoction. [Second impressions – faltering]
On to the meat…
ABV : 42.82%
Eye : Burnished | Non Natural, colour added (INS 150a)
Nose : Honey and vanilla with a hint of burnt butter and roasted almonds. Charred melons begin to evolve with time, fused with subtle nuances of golden raisin are followed by ginger peels, white pepper and a touch of earthiness.
Taste : Sweetness emanating from the grain, in addition to layers of vanilla shortbread, a whiff of eggy custard with a mild spice that is accompanied by slices of charred melons and faint herbal notes.
Finish : Sweet and tropical | Short finish
This expression delivers a pleasant nose with layers of sweetness initially; the palate also starts strong though almost one directional and soon shows weakness. There are a few earthy, herbal notes but nothing really to cheer about. The Scottish malts selected for this blend seems to have been chosen well; but the use of neutral spirits has introduced a lack of substance and evidently watered down the final spirit.
For what it’s worth, the 180ml bottling comes in at around 590 INR (10 AUD), expensive knowing you are only getting part of the real deal! And to be honest the whisky did seem quite compelling at first, might as well have given similar priced whiskies a run for their money. But it’s the follow through that fell face first which was the let down here. Kinda dissapointing!
4 Comments Add yours
The bottle certainly looks classy!
I’ve tried a few of these whiskies over the years & they can vary quite a bit.
They may not be legally whisky over here but they are definitely legal in India & sell in their millions, giving a revenue stream to the Scottish Distilleries that supply the malt.
All the big conglomerates, Diageo, Pernod Ricard et al have their own versions.
I always enjoy trying them out.
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This comment is not regarding the review. You are doing a great service to people like us by documenting and maintaining this blog.
I have recently converted from whisky to brandy. Will you be able to add few brandy also to your reviews? Quality brandy reviews are rare on the web.
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Thanks Albin! I haven’t really explored Brandys nor Cognacs but wouldn’t mind if the opportunity presented itself! 🙂
Thank you for reading my comment and replying.