Blenders Pride Vs Antiquity Blue Premium Indian Whisky
Today we shall be pitting two giants of the premium admix Indian whisky segment to find out which whisky brand wins this debate. Blenders Pride Rare Premium and Antiquity Blue Extra Premium have both been around for many years, and have established a loyal fan-base. Many might disagree with what we discover today, and many might agree with us at The Whiskypedia.
The premium admix segment is populated by brands such as Blenders Pride, Antiquity Blue, Peter Scot, Rockford Reserve and Sterling Reserve B10. Unlike the value admix segment, this is considered to be a battle established on both aspects – quality and price.
Let’s find out whether Blenders Pride or Antiquity Blue win The Whiskypedia’s battle to be declared the superior Indian premium whisky. First we get to know both brands through an overview of their history, blend composition and market performance over the years before we put them against each other.
Blenders Pride Rare Premium Whisky
In 1995, Blenders Pride Rare Premium was first launched in the Indian market. It is also commonly known only as Blenders Pride, or BP. It is one of the few brands that have reached a level of popularity that has made the initials ‘BP’ synonymous with Blenders Pride whisky.
Blenders Pride was launched as a premium Indian blended whisky. The premium Indian blended whisky segment is an increasingly competitive space. This segment represents the upward movement of many urban Indian whisky drinkers, and a gateway to more premium foreign whisky types such as Scotch whisky and more.
The Blenders Pride blend is a combination of imported Scotch malts with fine Indian grain whiskies. The Scotch malts are luxurious and rare, imported from none other than the Chivas Brothers. The Blenders Pride blend is well-known for its smooth yet immensely flavourful tasting notes. It has established an insurmountable resonance with the Indian whisky lover through their excellent product, and stylish packaging which includes a beautifully designed bottle.
Another key reason behind the brand’s popularity is Blenders Pride price which has made a fantastic product available to the consumers at a reasonable price. This aspect played a pivotal role in the brand’s success in India. Blenders Pride was selling more than 1 million cases annually by 2005, within just 10 years of the brand’s introduction. By 2019, Blenders Pride had amassed an astonishing market share of 63% in their segment, selling more than 7.3 million cases of their product.
Moving on to Antiquity Blue, we try and gain an overview of the other contender for the title of the superior Indian premium whisky.
Antiquity Blue Extra Premium Whisky
With a head-start of nearly three years over their biggest rival, Antiquity Blue Extra Premium was launched in 1992. The brand was created by Shaw Wallace, which later became a part of United Spirits Ltd (USL). Like Blenders Pride Rare Premium whisky, Antiquity Blue Extra Premium also competes with other premium Indian whiskies in the market such as Peter Scot, and Rockford Reserve in some parts of the country.
Antiquity Blue is a blend of single Grain Scotch whiskies from Cameronbridge, and blended with locally produced spirits according to the brand itself. Antiquity Blue has not divulged the nature of the Indian spirits used to blend the whisky.
Packaging for the Antiquity Blue brand was designed by a London-based designing firm, Claessens International in 2008. This firm had previously also designed packaging for other United Spirits brands such as Signature, McDowell’s No.1 and Royal Challenge.
Antiquity Blue has enjoyed a rather subdued commercial outing in over three decades of its existence in India. The latest reports of its sales figures from 2017 indicate that Antiquity Blue sold just 0.80 million cases of their product. These figures include the sales for Antiquity Blue and Antiquity Rare, a slightly more premium expression from the Antiquity stable.
The Superior Indian Premium Whisky
Blenders Pride Rare Premium and Antiquity Blue Extra Premium have been competing with each other since 1995. This was when Blenders Pride had just been launched, and Antiquity Blue had a head-start of three years over their nearest rival. Although head-starts are rather arbitrary, it really goes to show how excellent Blenders Pride has been commercially.
Over the years, Blenders Pride has established an undisputed stranglehold over the premium Indian whisky segment. It is one of the most hotly contested spaces in the Indian whisky industry, and Blenders Pride has a formidable 63% share of it.
On one hand, Blenders Pride exceeded sales of 1 million cases within a decade of its launch, Antiquity Blue had not breached that mark by 2017, nearly twenty-five years after it first debuted.
As of 2018, Blenders Pride has sold more than 7.3 million cases of their product with a growth rate of 15.1%, which indicates a phenomenal performance from the market leader.
If we look at the commercial performance of both brands, Blenders Pride is the clear winner. It is time for us to conduct The Whiskypedia’s taste test to know which premium Indian blend scores higher in terms of quality.
First we taste Blenders Pride Rare Premium, which has a mellow, peaty nose with aromas of dried fruit and leafy grass. The palate is full-bodied, buttery and sweet. There is a wisp of nutty flavours, and the finish is very pleasant. A truly wonderful repertoire of aromas and flavours put together with precision.
We will now pour ourselves a glass of Antiquity Blue, and it has a pronounced acetone aroma with lots of peat. The whisky is peaty, a little harsh and there is that acetone finish again. We failed to pick up on a lot of flavours, but when we tried it with a splash of water, the result was slightly more pleasant than before. The whisky was smoother, although we found the aroma to be off-putting.
The Whiskypedia picks Blenders Pride Rare Premium as the superior Indian premium whisky for its fascinating display for our taste test, and also for being the undisputed king of their segment in the market.