Luxebook May 2023

including the launch of AMAZE Trilogy – an exclusive club bottling that was exceptionally rated by over 90+ industry experts. The “Leap of Faith Tour”, he recalls was another interesting event, a whisky trail conducted in Goa meant exclusively for the club.“We brought together 50 members from across India on the leap day of 2020 for the release of the first single-cask whisky for India by Paul John.” Rao credits the SMAC’s members whose enthusiasm and support led to the success of each of their whisky events held over the years. As the whisky culture in India continues to evolve, Rao shares his desire to be a part of this change. “We want to remain at the heart of this change and play a catalysing role in making single malt whisky more inclusive and accessible. We hope to reach out to folks who hesitate to express themselves and give our members something that they can enjoy and appreciate.” Whisky Appreciation Clubs One of the major aspects for launching a whisky club is to help garner appreciation for the spirit.While many –more than half of the Indian population (adults) enjoys and appreciates whisky, not too many of them understand the complexity of the spirit. And so one can’t truly appreciate anything without being fully knowledgeable about it. However, change is rampant, and there exists a group of beginners and enthusiasts looking to understand and learn about whisky, with a little help from whisky clubs. Nikhil Agarwal might not completely agree with the name “whisky appreciation clubs”. He does nonetheless believe it to be the number one motivation for most whisky clubs. “I’m not sure if I’ve heard that whiskey clubs are also known as whiskey appreciation clubs, but they (whisky clubs) certainly do that (garner appreciation for whisky). Most clubs have one motive in mind which is to get people to taste more whisky and then also educate them along the way,” adds Nikhil Agarwal.“The idea is to share that knowledge with as many people as possible. And when people come for these tastings and experiences, their palette evolves, they certainly evolve in terms of what they like to drink.” Having been in the industry a fairly long time, Hemanth Rao points out the growing popularity of whisky clubs over the years, where said clubs work on trying to engage enthusiasts through their love for whisky. “There are more than a few clubs in India today and they are all engaging enthusiasts in their own unique way. Members and whisky enthusiasts are not shy today they will want to evaluate what every platform has to offer; all for the love of the spirit.” SMAC itself has seen quite a shift with a growth of membership. “When we started this (club), it was just a few friends hanging out together but now it’s grown multifold. We have seen a spike in memberships and not surprisingly it’s not from only the metros, the rest of India has begun to chip in. The taboo around the spirit will take some time to be replaced by educated appreciation; but the transition is afoot.” Bowled over by Bowmore - whisky launch Indri Trini Tasting Event 18|LUXEBOOK|MAY 2023