Most distilled spirits that are labelled as “whisky” in India are a form of Indian-made foreign liquor, commonly blends based on neutral spirits that are distilled from fermented molasses with only a small portion consisting of traditional malt whisky, usually about 10 to 12 percent. Outside India, such a drink would more likely be labelled a rum.According to the Scotch Whisky Association’s 2013 annual report, unlike the European Union (EU), “there is no compulsory definition of whisky in India, and the Indian voluntary standard does not require whisky to be distilled from cereals or to be matured. Very little Indian ‘whisky’ qualifies as whisky in the EU owing to the use of molasses or neutral alcohol, limited maturation (if any) and the use of flavourings. Such spirits are, of course, considerably cheaper to produce than genuine whisky.” Such molasses-based blends make up 90 percent of the spirits consumed as “whisky” in India,although whisky wholly distilled from malt and other grains, is also manufactured and sold.

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