The Indian whisky category is experiencing rapid expansion in the U.S., showcasing remarkable new releases that consistently hit the market. One particularly intriguing addition is the latest single malt offering from Diageo India, named Godawan. Godawan introduces two distinct expressions: 01 “Rich and Rounded” and 02 “Fruit and Spice.” Crafted at the Alwar distillery in Rajasthan, which falls under the ownership of Diageo India, these whiskies feature a mash bill comprising six-row malted barley grown in the region. Unlike Scotland’s temperate climate, the maturation process occurs in an environment where temperatures often reach around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, the whisky experiences a significantly high evaporation rate, known as the angel’s share, and matures at an accelerated pace.
The 01 Rich and Rounded whisky undergoes maturation in PX sherry casks before being transferred to bourbon barrels, which have been treated with two Indian botanicals: Rasna and Jatamansi. These botanicals serve sensory purposes rather than impacting the flavor directly. The bourbon barrels, previously used to mature Godawan for five years, are emptied and filled with a mixture of water and the aforementioned herbs and left to rest for approximately three weeks. The whisky is then placed in these barrels for finishing up to two months. According to the distillery, the resulting whisky offers a palate of raisin, sultana, fig, and apricot, followed by mature wood, caramel, and a buttery essence reminiscent of baklava.
In a departure from convention, the 02 Fruit and Spice variant undergoes a final maturation period in cherrywood casks, a wood type seldom used for whisky maturation—although there are precedents such as Teeling and Method and Madness. Having had the opportunity to sample this whisky, we found it to possess luscious fruit and floral notes on the palate, complemented by a hint of spice and roasted coffee beans on the finish.
Godawan, Diageo India’s innovation in artisanal single malt whisky, is proof that India is the next emerging destination for quality single malts as well as artisanal craft spirits. Each bottle of Godawan can be traced back to a cluster of barley farms in Rajasthan, ensuring transparency and authenticity of the product and gets its provenance from extreme temperatures which lend it a rare & subtle complexity, and a unique taste. The whisky is not just a testament to the region’s craftsmanship and ingenuity, but also commitment to sustainability and preservation of the land it comes from – and it begins with the Great Indian Bustard.”Vikram Damodaran, Chief Innovation Officer, Diageo India, says
While these whiskies are relatively new to the market, you may be able to find them available for purchase through websites such as Drizly, depending on your location.
“When it comes to premiumization, we, at Diageo India, believe in constant disruptions to up the ante. We believe that our consumers deserve better. We also know that modern affluent Indians are looking for luxury that makes them feel rooted and enriched. Godawan is a product borne out of this belief. It will help our consumers discover an Indianness hitherto unknown – rich and meaningful. Godawan – the spirit of the desert – will redefine the way Indian single malts are perceived globally with its truly world-class story and flavour.”Shweta Jain, Chief Business Development Officer, Diageo, says,
More about Godawan
Godawan, Diageo India’s artisanal Single Malt Whisky, is crafted in, its provenance inspired by, and dedicated wholeheartedly to this Rajasthani ethos – of beauty in scarcity, and sustainability. The heat of over 100°F combined with six-row barley, which requires lesser water, helps create a whisky with an incredible depth of flavour, and a rich and complex character. The aridity means the “Angel’s share” is higher than average in Godawan – leaving behind a whisky with stunning taste profiles, which are finished in special casks selectively curated with Indian botanicals.
We proudly call ourselves “The Spirit of the Desert” – the spirit of Rajasthan with its culture, people and ecology which permeates in the character and flavour of our liquid. With Godawan, we doff our hats to the artisans and the innovators who are defining modern Indian luxury that is sustainable, that is ecologically conscious, and truly nurturing of the land it comes from.
Diageo India is the country’s leading beverage alcohol company and a subsidiary of global leader Diageo Plc. The company manufactures, sells and distributes an outstanding portfolio of premium brands such as Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White, VAT 69, Antiquity, Signature, The Singleton, Royal Challenge, McDowell’s No1, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan and Godawan, an artisanal single malt whisky from India. Headquartered in Bengaluru, our wide footprint is supported by a committed team of over 3000 employees, 39 manufacturing facilities across states and union territories in India, a strong distribution network and a state-of-the-art Technical Centre. Incorporated in India as United Spirits Limited (USL), the company is listed on both the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India. For more information about Diageo India, our people, our brands, and our performance, visit us at www.diageoindia.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, http://www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practices.