By Reya Mehrotra
Rice and liquor have an age-old relationship. From rice beers to different types of rice whiskeys, the cereal crop is of great value in the liquor industry. When it comes to rice whiskeys, the choice of place from where the rice is sourced from is very crucial. Most countries source it locally and this makes rice whiskey unique to the region it belongs to.
Recently, beverage alcohol company Diageo India ventured into 100% rice whisky with United’s Epitome Reserve, which is made with locally-sourced rice from the northern frontiers of Punjab. Once the rice is procured, it travels over 2,000 km to be matured in Goa in bourbon casks over three years, and then finished in PX Sherry and Cherrywood casks in a 50-year-old warehouse. Epitome Reserve is India’s first-ever small-batch, artisanal craft, 100% rice whisky. The limited-edition whisky was launched in an exclusive batch of 2,000 numbered bottles.
The whisky—which is best consumed neat, on the rocks or with a dash of water—is a blend of woody flavours, vibrant characters of rich dried fruits, sweet toffee caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and spicy notes. “We are delighted to announce Diageo’s foray into the ‘Craft’ segment with the launch of the limited-edition Epitome Reserve. This launch strengthens our commitment to our premiumisation strategy, riding on brand renovation and innovation. A blend born in India from start to finish, we are confident this limited-edition craft whisky will resonate with our consumers in creating experiences they will cherish,” says Deepika Warrier, CMO, Diageo India.
The bottle comes in a handcrafted maplewood box that brings to life the ethos of the banyan tree. With subliminal shades of green and teal, it is meant to be a keepsake. The brand has honoured the craftspeople by mentioning their names on the pack, a first for any brand. It also comes with an Indian Master Blender’s signature, a personalised nod to the connoisseurs of true craft.
Available in very select outlets, Epitome Reserve’s price is available on request and is on a par with Diageo India’s Luxury Global Scotch portfolio.