These small groups gather over weekends and engage in sharing experiences and information, and indulging in tasting exquisite single malts. Welcome to these new age single malt whisky clubs that are springing up across India.
So why single malt whisky clubs? Hemanth Adapa is part of the Single Malt Amateur Club (SMAC) in Bengaluru and he explains, “One of the primary reasons why I believe that single malts have gained prominence over the last few years is the fact that the age group of the consumer has shifted; previously a preferred dram for the age group of 45 and above, has now moved to 30+ . Disposable incomes from this generation are relatively high and so is their exposure to these premium spirits owing to the increased travel footprint of the global desi. The cohort also tends to experiment more as single malts offer a huge range to choose from, be it a fruity aperitif from the lowlands or a pungent peaty whisky from Islay there are options for almost all palate preferences. The very large whisky consumer market from India is just realising the quality and assortment not only from the Scottish warehouses but also the Asian trendsetters such as Kavalan, Yamazaki, Hibiki and of course, our own Amrut and Paul John.”
It’s reported that India consumes nearly 50% of the world’s whisky so it’s not surprising that people (men and women) here are now going the single malt way. “Single malts have gained a high acceptance across the country with both discerning connoisseurs as well as new entrants to the world of whisky. People are enjoying malts in various moods, moments and in different styles,” says, Sandeep Arora, Director – Spiritual Luxury Living Pvt. Ltd. and Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Cask Spirit Marketing LLP.
However, single malts are not like your regular blended whisky and require a certain amount of knowledge to appreciate these well-crafted fine spirits. And this is where these amateur single malt whisky clubs come in. People who love the single malt or are getting to know it, have started to meet to understand this world of spirits better. Added to that are single malt-tasting sessions held by professionals which teach people how to savour them.
No two single malts are alike and getting together over a single malt is not just a great way to interact and make friends but also opens up doors to a new world of spirits. Single malt whisky clubs in any city have members ranging from 10 to more than 50 but what brings them all together is not just the passion for the single malt, but also the passion for learning and discovering.
Today, the access to single malts is far higher thanks to travel and an influx of international brands into the country. With amateur single malt connoisseurs on the rise, it’s not surprising that single malt clubs are much sought-after.
How to savour a single malt:
1. Choose the right glass: Pick a large rounded glass with a stem so it allows the aroma of the whisky to build. Never pour more than one-third of whisky in the glass as the vapours need space to accumulate.
2. Nosing the glass: Every single malt is made with a certain process and in order to appreciate the spirit one must appreciate the bouquet. Take the first whiff over the rim after the whisky has had a moment to settle into the glass and the vapours accumulate. Rest it again and then take a second whiff over the rim. Lastly, swirl the glass gently below your nose and take the third whiff.
3. Sipping method: When you take the first sip, allow the spirit to linger in your mouth so that the taste and aromas work together and give you the full experience.