The Scotch whisky segment is an exceedingly popular category in the Indian market, and with a growing number of options, the Indian Scotch whisky lover is truly spoilt for choice.
While nowadays many whisky drinkers are open to new experiences, and continue to experiment with new brands, a significant proportion of them are loyalists who owe a strong allegiance to their drink of choice.
Two such brands from the entry-level segment among Scotch whisky brands in India are Seagram’s 100 Pipers, and Teacher’s Highland Cream, two brands that have dominated the sales figures in India for over a decade.
Both 100 Pipers and Teacher’s Highland Cream are blended Scotch whisky expressions, and have been involved an intense battle for the numero uno status in the Indian market.
While over the years 100 Pipers successfully dethroned Teacher’s as the leader in sales figures, let us take a much closer look and have a detailed comparison between the two heavyweights to ascertain which one deserves to be the undisputed Scotch whisky champion of India, both critically and commercially!
100 Pipers Deluxe Blended Scotch Whisky
100 Pipers is a brand that originates from Scottish legend, and derives its name from a common adage in the land of Scotch whisky that ‘when you taste a good whisky, you hear a piper play, but when you taste a truly exceptional whisky, you can hear a hundred pipers play’.
The brand itself was established in 1949, but has quickly developed an enormous footprint across many countries worldwide, including making impressive headway and dominating the Scotch whisky segment in many countries. It is one of the most popular Scotch whisky brand in Asia and South America overall, and the number one in Thailand, India and also some European countries such as Spain and more.
The 100 Pipers Deluxe Scotch whisky and the 100 Pipers 12-Year-Old complete the brand’s core range of blended Scotch whiskies.
Teacher’s Highland Cream
100 Pipers is fairly new to the market as compared to Teacher’s, which was established in 1884 by William Teacher’s in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. It took William Teacher years to develop a proprietary blend that he deemed fit to carry his family name.
Over the years, the Teacher’s brand grew in stature but only entered the overseas market after Prohibition was lifted in America. Over the years, the brand continued to grow by opening the Ardmore Distillery in 1898, and acquiring the Glendronach Distillery in 1960. The Teacher’s brand changed ownership a handful of times in the 1990s, briefly owned by Allied Domecq and is now owned by Beam Suntory.
The Teacher’s core range also includes the Teacher’s 50, a 12-Year-Old blended Scotch whisky released to honour India’s 50th Independence Day; and the Teacher’s Origin, a blend with a higher proportion of malt whiskies.
Choosing the best
Both the standard expressions from 100 Pipers and Teacher’s whisky, the Highland Cream expression are no-age-statement blended Scotch whiskies.
100 Pipers Deluxe Blended Scotch and Teacher’s Highland Cream both carry an alcohol strength of 40% ABV, the standard limit for all Scotch whiskies.
The 100 Pipers blend is created using a number of fine malt and grain whiskies, with the fingerprint whisky being sourced from the Alt a’Bhainne Distillery in the Speyside region of Scotland. This lends the brand a truly appealing and fruity flavour profile with the grain whiskies helping create a delightfully smooth drink.
The Teacher’s blend is based on the fingerprint whisky supplied by the brand’s Ardmore distillery located in the Highlands region of Scotland. Around 30 more whiskies are added to the Teacher’s blend to achieve a product consistent with what William Teacher deemed fit to carry the Teacher’s name.
As standard, entry-level Scotch whiskies, both 100 Pipers and Teacher’s Highland Cream are two robust blends, although recent market indications have tipped the scale in the favour of 100 Pipers. Although commercial figures hardly do justice to the quality and taste of a whisky, the numbers and reviews go hand-in-hand in this case.
100 Pipers’ elegant, fruity and complex drink edges out Teacher’s Highland Cream, which without a doubt continues to be a very popular drink.
Both Scotch whiskies are crowd favourites, although in our opinion, the 100 Pipers expression would be a much stronger recommendation.