Beam Suntory is trying to have their whisky with just a y and e it too. The spirits powerhouse just unveiled Oaksmith, a blend of American Bourbon and Japanese whisky targeted at the Indian market.
The Oaksmith Blend
“While making this blend, I wanted to ensure that it resonates specifically well with the Indian audience while being truly international in its spirit. I travelled across the country to understand the different food cultures and flavours,” said Shinji Fukuyo, celebrated Chief Blender at Suntory. “Eventually what I saw, heard and tasted, helped me explore a variety of flavour profiles and finalize this harmonious blend which has the best of America, Scotland and Japanese craftsmanship. I am extremely proud as the final product completely reimagines what the future of Indian whisky can be.”
The new range is credited to Fukuyo. The juice is a mix of strong Scotch Malts and sweeter Bourbon whiskey (aged at least four years). Two expressions, Oaksmith and Oaksmith Gold.
“The beautiful blend incorporates years of tradition that the Beam Suntory family upholds while showcasing Shinji-san’s award-winning blending capabilities making it a whisky that, quite simply, no one else could possibly create,” said Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director of Beam Suntory India, in a statement.”
We haven’t tasted a bottle (yet). However, in the promotional materials, the whisky is described as “rich on the nose yet approachable and well-balanced on one’s palate with a bright, smooth and unexpectedly long finish.”
The Indian Market
Even more significant than Beam-Suntory’s decision to cross the streams is the company’s decision to launch a new front in the Indian market.
India is quickly developing into one of the top alcohol markets in the world. The average Indian drank 38% more alcohol in 2017 than in 2010 according to the Wall Street Journal.
And, distillers are taking note. The nation is the site of a developing battle between Pernod Ricard, Diageo, and Beam. Each company has poured billions of dollars apiece into acquisitions, infrastructure, marketing, and development in India.
Recently., the Indian consumer base began to embrace premium spirits. Oaksmith is intended to address this demand.
George Kumekawa, Representative, The House of Suntory, explained, “In recent years, we have noticed a strong trend among Indians to opt for premium and craft gin as their spirit of choice as it has a softer flavor profile which is easier on the throat and refreshing in its appeal – perfect for brunches and refreshment occasions.”