Less than two years after its launch as India’s first international blended whisky, the Oaksmith range from Beam Suntory has won two of the most prestigious accolades at the 13th Annual SIP Awards in California, USA. While Oaksmith Gold won a gold, its blend variant Oaksmith International won a Double Gold. SIP awards are unique and highly regarded because it is the only internationally recognized spirits competition where consumers make up the judging panel. The Oaksmith whiskies beat out competition from more than 1000 brands from 49 countries.
The awards come on the back of both whiskies, being recognized with bronze awards for quality, value and packaging at the 4th London Spirits Competition. The judging panel here was made up of alcohol industry experts. Says Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director, Beam Suntory India, “It is a moment of great pride for our whisky brands Oaksmith Gold and Oaksmith International to receive a grand recognition at both SIP Awards and London Spirits Competition. These awards are a true honor and testament to the very reason Oaksmith was launched in India – to be a brand of choice for all, while continuing to offer a premium experience to our Indian consumers. We are extremely delighted that both blend variants’ Oaksmith Gold’ and ‘Oaksmith International’ performed so well at these global award platforms.”
Beam Suntory India, part of Beam Suntory, which is a subsidiary of the Japanese consumer goods company, Suntory famous for whiskies like Yamazaki and Hibiki, launched the Oaksmith range of whiskies in December 2019 as part of its India growth strategy. The company got its world-famous Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo to create a whisky suited to Indian taste, using traditional Japanese blending techniques. He, in turn, travelled around the country, understanding the taste, culture and palette of India.
Fukuyo used a blend of matured Scotch Malts and American Bourbon aged for at least four years in oak barrels to make a whisky that is rich on the nose and well-balanced on the palate, with a bright, smooth and long finish. The oak barrels, which render the whisky its ageing and smoothness, were also the inspiration behind the brand name Oaksmith and the round label on the bottle (which represents aerial view of the oak casks). The two blend variants, Oaksmith Gold and Oaksmith International come in a unique six-sided hexagonal bottle with bevelled edges and a tall neck which subtly cuing Japan and are an ode to Japanese craftsmanship.
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