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AC Black Whisky (India)

Review: AC Black Whisky    78.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published November 03, 2013

AC Black Whisky is blended and bottled by Jagatjit Industries Limited located in New Delhi, India. (Jagatjit Industries Limited was established in 1944 by Mr. L.P. Jaiswal in the erstwhile State of Kapurthala under the patronage of its Maharaja Jagatjit Singh.) In addition to whisky, this company also produces Rum, Gin and Vodka, and is currently the third largest IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) producer on the sub continent. According to their website, AC Black Whisky is produced from a blend of imported scotch malts and selected Indian spirits. That same website tells me this is a semi-premium IMFL spirit which is:

“… Positioned around a man’s desire for pleasurable things in life and a high desire for achievements projected through “Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” …”

Like you, I was curious about the phrase, “Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai”. When I pushed the phrase through ‘Google Translate’ it gave me the loose translation, “Anything can happen“.

However, I also discovered that Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” is the name of a prominent play written by Indian Bollywood actor and playwright, Anupam Kher. His Hindi production is said to be a about a man who should not have achieved success; but who defied the fates and succeeded anyway. Based my understanding of Anupam Kher‘s autobiographical play, I believe better translation for “Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” would be “Your destiny may be anything”. This speaks to the idea that our station in life is not preordained, but is instead an act of our own will.

This implies that the producers of AC Black Whisky are speaking to young upwardly mobile professionals in India (and perhaps abroad) with the message that they can succeed despite what obstacles the fates may have placed in front of them, and AC Black Whisky is a spirit which embodies this ideal.

AC Black

In the Bottle 4.5/5

As you can see from the provided graphic, the Ac whisky is attractively bottled and packaged in a manner which is very reminiscent of Johnny Walker Black. The producers of the whisky are in fact drawing a direct parallel to the iconic Scottish blend making the statement. “This is our Black Whisky!”

Such packaging seeks to elevate the brand, and present it as an alternative choice for the upwardly mobile professional. It is clever marketing, although it remains to be seen whether the AC Black can live up to its packaging.

In the Glass 7.5/10

Although AC Black has an attractive amber hue when poured into the glass, one cannot help but notice the lightly astringent notes of younger whisky  scents which rise into the air. There is also what appears to be an accent of cane in the breezes which perhaps speaks to the source of the ‘selected Indian spirits’ which have been blended with scotch malt in this whisky’s production.

The result is a honeyed aroma featuring a mixture of malty whisky-like scents (butterscotch, honey, sandalwood and oak spice) with a very light back drop of rum-like cane syrup flittering through the breezes as well. These breezes above the glass however, seem out of balance. The youthful cane seems slightly at odds with what appear to be an older (and more oaky) malt whisky.

Note: For those who do not know, in India, it is quite common to blend neutral (vodka-like) cane spirit with domestic or imported grain spirit in the production of whisky. This is not an uncommon occurrence unique to India, as this practice is also followed in some Caribbean Countries (Guyana for instance) and based upon my interpretation of U.S. regulations is also legal in the United States for the production of their domestic Whiskey.

In the Mouth 47/60

The impressions I received in the air above my glass seemed well reflected by the flavour of the whisky as I sipped it. The spirit seems to express a duality of sorts across the palate. I taste what appears to be a young, cane-like spirit within an older malt spirit which features flavours of butterscotch and oak spices with hints of chocolate and nougat. The whisky carries the vibrancy of youth through the palate, and carries perhaps a little more sweetness forward than I would personally prefer. I decided quite early in my tastings that the AC Black was best when mixed with ice and soda.

To that end, I mixed myself a couple tall drinks and found the results were quite acceptable. Sometimes a spirit is not meant for sipping, but that does not mean it cannot be enjoyed fully with friends and family on a lazy evening in the backyard or while watching a televised movie.

In the Throat 11.5/15

The AC Black Whisky has a rather short exit which carries a thin burn down the throat. A cloying butterscotch sweetness lingers, and the finish reinforces my conclusion that the AC Black is a mixing whisky rather than a sipper. It should be noted that when mixed in a tall refreshing cocktail, these features disappear entirely.

The Afterburn  8/10

The AC Black was a very interesting whisky for me to sample. I always love to taste and analyze spirits from other parts of the world. This is only the third whisky from India I have reviewed, and I think it would be fair to say that any judgements I make should be understood in that context. For my palate, the AC Black did not come across as a sipping spirit, rather it was a mixing whisky meant for the tall cocktail. In that forum, the whisky tastes quite nice, and I would not hesitate to serve tall AC Black cocktails to friends and family.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

Suggested Recipe

SAM_0995 AC GingerBlack Ginger

2 oz  AC Black Whisky
wedge of lime
lots of ice
3 oz Ginger-ale
Mint sprig for garnish

Add AC Black Whisky and Ice in a tall glass
Squeeze a healthy dollop of lime from the wedge over the glass
Complete with Ginger-ale
Garnish with a fresh mint sprig in the glass

Enjoy Responsibly!

As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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