Oaksmith Gold: A Fine Blended Whisky from Beam Suntory

Just before the lockdown, a friend told me about trying out Oaksmith Gold, a new brand of whisky that has arrived in the Hyderabad market. As a lover of whisky, I do try out different brands all the time, and what he told me was interesting. Oaksmith Gold is a blend of Scotch and Bourbon, but the product has a Japanese touch too. In fact, this brand from Beam Suntory (known in India for Laphroaig as well as Japanese Yamazaki and Hibiki) where aged premium Scotch whisky is added to Kentucky Bourbon, has been crafted by well-known Japanese Master Blender Shinji Fukayo, who was also involved with premium Japanese brands like Yamazaki and Hibiki. Thus the product is a rare blend of East and West.

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Mr. Fukayo wanted to prepare a blend exclusively for India, and he visited our country a number of times, touring different rural and urban venues to understand the drinking habits of Indians as well as the bar food here. The endeavor has been to create a brand that complements the consumer’s palate and provides an entry-level option to premium whiskies. Some amount of Indian grain whisky is also blended into the product. 

The idea of blending Scotch with Bourbon is quite novel giving this whisky a unique taste. It is a product aimed at the taste of Indian whisky aficionados, where whisky is typically enjoyed with soda and water. As per Fukayo, “While making this blend, I wanted to ensure that it resonates specifically well with the Indian audience while being truly international in its spirit.”

The whisky retains a little bit of smokiness from the peaty scotch but it has its distinct woody aroma from the Oakwood barrels of Bourbon. In fact, the product derives its name from the Oak barrels in which the whisky has been aged. The taste felt very smooth and easy to me, which is a hallmark of the work of a master blender. There is a sweetish finish that I could feel too.

The whisky has been launched exclusively for India with plans of making it available in the international market in the near future. The pricing is quite economical too, with a tag of around Rs 1400 for a 750ml bottle in Telangana. This pits this against mass premium brands like 100 Pipers but at a much more pleasant price point. Already there is quite a bit of traction for the brand in the state, which will definitely go up with more awareness.

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