Premiumization and aging are two buzzwords that are subtly enhancing India’s Scotch experience. While all scotch makers rely on aging process to deliver finest products from their distilleries, its only Dewar’s that pioneered the double-aging process to create another level of scotch experience. Giving a low-down on the USPs of Dewar’s Double-Aging process, to commemorate World Scotch Day on July 27, Anshuman Goenka, Marketing Head, Bacardi India, tells Bishan Kumar that the time is ripe for the consumer to embrace this changed profile
The rise of the cocktail bar culture, the evolving palate of the Indian consumer, the thrust on the double-aging process as also the premiumization of Scotch, are all portends of an impending whisky revolution in the country. This in essence is the four emerging trends that are driving the Indian Scotch whisky story, explains Anshuman Goenka, Marketing Head, Bacardi India Private Limited. Sharing his master class insights on the industry which is set to celebrate World Scotch Day which falls on July 27, Goenka sets the tone for an insightful interaction. He says: “The Indian consumers’ palate and his or her perception of Scotch have evolved rapidly. Consumers no longer want to stick to the conventional Scotch on the rocks and are looking for enhanced consumption experiences. This is reflective of the rise of the cocktail bar culture in India.” “We launched the Dewar’s premium range of 12, 15 and 18-year-old blended Scotch variants last year. These were launched with signature serves that cater to the evolved palate of the Indian consumers, by offering a range of premium and invigorating cocktails.” Blessed with having extensive stock of single malts belonging to John Dewar & Sons at Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, the Deveron and Royal Brackla, the company uses up to 40 different single malt whiskies in its blends, from all over Scotland, as well as different grain whiskies. Not many whisky connoisseurs know about the double-aging process. Anshuman explains the process, “The Dewar’s double aging process was pioneered by A.J Cameron, the first master blender of John Dewar’s & Son’s in Aberfeldy distillery. Double- aging is an extra step that our blenders take to ensure smoother liquid to the lips. It also ensures an additional flavor to the whisky.
An extra step
Unlike most competitors which age, blend and bottle, Dewar’s takes an extra step, (at an additional cost),
to age the liquid again after blending it. “We age, we blend and we age again,to ensure that all blends seamlessly marry with each other and give a smoother taste. That is why Dewar’s is ‘Double Aged for Extra Smoothness.’
The extra step that the brand takes comes at an additional cost because of the complexity of the scotch production, he explains. “We need more resources, special warehouses, more manpower, additional maturation & extra casks.
However, Tommy Dewar’s perfected his whisky to be miles better than competition.” On what is so special about the double-aging process, Anshuman explains: “The
double aging process adds another layer to the production process of whisky, which gives extra time for the blends to marry with each other and seamlessly complement each other. Double aging allows for this time for these reaction to take place, and the result is a liquid with heightened honey and fruity notes, and a decrease in the intensity of ethanol on the nose. It has a tangible effect on the liquid, making it smoother for the consumer’s palate.” The Indian market’s response to this process has been delightfully encouraging. Dewar’s Indian consumers appreciate the liquid’s quality and honey and fruity notes. The most popular markets for Dewar’s in India is Haryana and Telangana.
Barrels play an extremely important role in aging. “For our double aging process, we use ‘exhausted’ ex-Bourbon barrels from the U.S. These casks have reached the end of their single malt maturation lifespan, so we use them as marrying vessels for our blends. This process takes place in central Scotland at our maturation warehouses, where our single malts are also steadily aging over time,” reveals Anshuman.
Being one of the world’s largest Scotch brands with an RSV of over $514Mn, Dewar’s features in the top 10 scotch whiskies globally. India presents an exciting growth opportunity by virtue of being the world’s largest whisky market by volume. “It is also a market that has high entry barriers which are breaching slowing but steadily. While we currently do not have a substantial share, we have very recently begun our journey within premium scotches with Dewar’s 12, 15, 18, 25 & 30 variants.”The company will
shortly be launching its malts collection on the back of Aberfeldy 12 and 21 as well, and Anshuman is confident that it will make an impact in the short and long-term on how the category operates. “We have segmental leadership across premium rums, super premium vodkas amongst other categories and are keen to bring that experience in premiums spirits to whiskies in India,” he shares.Giving an overview of the Indian whisky market, Anshuman says undoubtedly whisky is the spirit of choice in India which consumes close to 48% of the world’s whisky by volume.“While whisky as a category is
showing a slowdown in volumes, the acceleration in value, this clearly calls out the fact that the discerning Indian consumer is looking at the premium spectrum of spirits. Scotch as a segment, within whisky is growing by 12% value YoY ahead of the whisky category which is at 4%.” Globally, one of the prevailing trends within spirits is Premiumisation. In an evolving market like India, where people are demanding an elevated and different experience, the potential for imported spirits such as Scotch is definitely expected to get more attractive with international Scotch brands looking to enthrall the Indian palate with global taste profiles, he reveals.