Daru has a picture of a lion on its label and a map of India on its reverse but — surprise! — it’s actually a Canadian whiskey. “Inspired” by the flavors of Indian whisky and created by the two children of an Indian emigrant, the brand dates back to 2020. The brand’s only bottling is a three year old whiskey aged in Canadian oak which is filtered through activated charcoal before bottling.
Most Indian whisky classically resembles Scotch, but Daru clearly strikes out on its own for inspiration. A sweet nose quickly reveals notes of fresh corn — and then caramel corn — along with expressive notes of butterscotch and cinnamon. The whiskey almost feels like it has had baking spices directly added to it, even more so on the palate, which is expressive with sweeter nutmeg, gingerbread, vanilla, and caramel notes. The finish finds room for some toasted coconut, more caramel corn, and a conclusion that wavers between cotton candy and cinnamon rolls.
All of that is to say there’s not a lot of whiskeyness to this experience, which may or may not be what you’re looking for in this bottling. To my palate, the collection of flavors evokes Indian food far more than Indian whisky — so, at the very least, it’s making me hungry.