“Too much of anything is bad, too much of good whisky is barely enough,” wrote Mark Twain. While fellow-writer C.S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Two great minds, two great drinks, both in search of perfection. The search for the perfect whisky stops at Single malt Scotch, and tea perfection is found in pure, premium teas from celebrated tea estates.
Like many great stories, the journeys of tea and scotch start in the hills.
Famous for its high hills, and deep valleys that drop into mysterious lochs, the Scottish Highlands have wooed many a royal, writer, and poet. The story of Scotch whisky begins here. Whisky was developed from an old Scottish drink called usage beatha (water of life) around the 15th century.
Today, Scotch whisky is a large contributor to Scotland’s economy with 38 bottles of Scotch being shipped overseas every second.
Of all the types of Scotch whisky, Scotland is most proud of Single malt Scotch. It’s where whisky meets perfection. Single malt Scotch is the king of all whiskies; its unique flavour is reminiscent of soulful landscapes and echoing bagpipes.
Speaking of Scotts and hills, it was a Scottish botanist by the name of Robert Fortune who introduced the Chinese tea plant to India in the mid-1800s. The British East India Company wanted to compete with the Chinese tea market and needed to find a region whose climate and altitude were conducive for growing tea. The Darjeeling mountains that overlook the Himalayas, the high Assam plateau that drops into the Brahmaputra river, and the Niligiri hills of the Western Ghats presented the British with precisely that.
The rest really is history: The hills are now home to tea bagans (gardens) and India is one of biggest consumers of tea in the world. A day without tea or a street without a tea shop is a rare occurrence.
Pursuit of Perfection
To have the honor of being labeled a Single malt Scotch, the whisky must be from a single distillery, the drying of the malt must be done through peat-heated smoke, the distillation processed only in pot stills, and the maturation done solely in oak casks. The art of manufacturing Single malt Scotch is carefully preserved to make sure that it retains its authenticity.
In the case of premium quality tea the method behind plucking and processing is key. It must be pure and unblended tea, organic, loose leaf, whole-leaf, hand- plucked and high-graded as per industry standards.
The Darjeeling black tea, grown 4,000ft to 6,000ft above sea level, is amongst the highestgraded teas in the world. It includes grades like SFTGFOP and FTGFOP (fine tippy golden flowery orange pekoe) or far too good for ordinary people, as tea connoisseurs say.
The most coveted is the Darjeeling Second Flush tea that is harvested between June and midAugust. It is loose leaf, hand-picked tea and processed in the Orthodox way and not the Cut Tear and Crush (CTC) process used for lower grade teas.
Among the teas from the Western Ghats, the Nilgiris Oolong tea is the reigning queen of handpicked and hand-sorted teas and undergoes the least amount of oxidation, keeping it as pure as possible.
Add water and take a sip- to bring out the best in Single malt Scotch and cup of premium tea.
Malty, well-rounded and smooth, with a taste distinct to its distillery, the Single malt Scotch is the best whisky in your bar cabinet.
When it comes to adding premium tea to your larder, India has much to offer from green, white, black, and oolong tea.
For instance, the Darjeeling Second Flush has a muscatel flavour that cannot be replicated by any other tea in the world. Assam tea has a rich malty flavour. As for Niligiri’s Oolong, it’s wonderfully aromatic and light.
Flawless in quality and flavourful in taste are words that best describe the Single malt Scotch and a Premium cup of tea. Why settle for anything else when you can choose the best?
Tea scoop: Did you know that
The Indian Tea industry is the second-largest employer of the country?
Darjeeling Tea is the first product from India to receive the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag?