How the Rampur Indian Single Malt came to be known as another 'Kohinoor' from India
From the dusty roads of Rampur to the glitzy shelves of Las Vegas, this single malt from India travelled quite a distance — literally and figuratively — to announce itself to the world of liquor.
From the dusty roads of Rampur to the glitzy shelves of Las Vegas, this single malt from India travelled quite a distance — literally and figuratively — to announce itself to the world of liquor. Within a year of that, malt lovers in the UK, too, were able to receive this big punch in a little package: Radico Khaitan Ltd’s Rampur Indian Single Malt (RISM).
This was how the journey of one more exciting single malt from India began. Today RISM is available in more than a dozen countries including USA, Canada, UK, Germany, UAE, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ghana, etc. Shipments to newer markets in EU and rest of the world are on their way.
The question now that needs to be asked is how could single malt connoisseurs — who are fascinated by the green English meadows, Irish brooks and rivers with adjoining rolling barley fields in the highlands — imagine a world-class single malt born in a little known district called Rampur, in western Uttar Pradesh, India?
For some of them, it must even be sacrilege to even think that in Rampur there could be kilns and warehouses filled with the finest malt whisky soaking in flavour till it’s ready to challenge the finest in the world of whiskies.
RISM is the product of the young and visionary managing director of Radico Khaitan Ltd, Abhishek Khaitan, who has been determined to shatter myths about India and whisky.
Radico Khaitan has been ageing malt at its distillery for a quarter of a century, but was “never in a hurry to launch single malt”.
“Once we felt confident of having a fine product and adequate stock, we decide to venture into our own branded single malt whisky,” says the young liquor tycoon. Abhishek describes Radico’s journey from an idea to the bottled product as “wonderful” where there was great teamwork and dedication from all those involved and associated with the project.
“Once the liquid was ready, the focus shifted to packaging.” Naming the product was easy. As Abhishek says, “The brand name was a no-brainer: it had to be Rampur.”
Proudly, distinctly Indian
A lot of thought went into giving the Rampur single malt a distinctive, Indian identity. “We are very proud of the fact that it is an Indian product. We wanted to highlight the Indian origin in our packaging as well. While the product itself says ‘Indian Single Malt’, the subtle usage of Devnagari script and the silk pouch with embroidery adds to the Indian-ness,” explains Abhishek.
Radico’s spirits are distributed in 66 countries worldwide. The production of RISM is another step to cement the company’s standing as a premium spirits producer in India and abroad.
Delving into this aspect, Abhishek says: “Radico took a conscious decision a couple of years ago not to chase volumes, but to focus on premiumisation of our portfolio. The journey started with Magic Moments vodka, followed by the Morpheus brandy — the most expensive brandy in India — our ready-to-drink Electra, and now Rampur. Our future growth path lies in offering premium products to our consumers for an enhanced and fulfilling experience.”
Touted as the Kohinoor of single malts, Rampur’s global distribution began in May 2016. The makers of this ‘Made in India’ single malt are ecstatic with the response from the discerning malt drinkers.
Quality over volumes
They are, however, being cautious about going overboard with it. Radico Khaitan’s managing director and the company president for international business, Sanjeev Banga, are holding back from chasing volumes. They assert that RISM is a limited release product. First, they would like to ensure that the markets where the product is already launched have adequate stocks at all times.
“RISM is for discerning single malt consumers all over the world. Single malt consumers prefer uniqueness in the taste. They are always keen to try a new malt,” says Sanjeev. Confident of winning hearts of single malt consumers, Sanjeev says their strategy is to promote RISM as ‘liquid to lips and lips to heart’. He is all praise for the RISM blend, which is prepared by “our master blender Anup Barik who comes from a family of blenders, and brings with him decades of rich experience.”
“Rampur Indian Single Malt is different yet pleasing, spicy but balanced. It is Indian,” Sanjeev asserts about Radico Khaitan’s first single malt and the third from India.
Taste speaks for itself
Unlike most Scottish single malts, RISM is not banking on a claim of age to attract malt drinkers. “We are not making any age claim on the product, though it is matured for a very long time in harsh Indian weather conditions. We feel age is just a number and should not cloud consumer opinion. For us, the most important thing is that the consumer should like the liquid and desire to have it repeatedly,” says Sanjeev.
He feels that with the launch of RISM, Radico has taken “the Amrut legacy forward”. According to him, the credit goes to Amrut for introducing Indian single malts to the world.
“India has a huge potential and it’s time we made our presence felt on the world stage. Our Magic Moments vodka is already creating waves globally, so are Indian wines. And, now is time for the Indian single malt,” Sanjeev adds.
With Radico’s brands currently available in 66 countries, Sanjeev thinks it is “quite natural for us to address the global audience with RISM”.
With the extremely positive response to the core expression, there is lot of excitement from consumers, trade and media on the future expressions of RISM.
“We have quite a few expressions lined up in the near future — currently aging in casks — and some of them will be unique as well as exotic-ally Indian,” says Sanjeev.
Abhishek shares that the company will also be launching a special expression to celebrate 75 years of Rampur Distillery. “It is a limited edition product with the finest and one of the oldest malts in our distillery. Not only will the malt commemorate the occasion but also the complementary packaging,” he reveals.
This limited edition expression is targeted for launch early next year.