India is the largest consumer of whisky in the world and this means there are a lot options for consumers as each brands vies to get a piece of the pie. Within this muddle, there are 2 brands which compete in the same segment and both have massive annual sales. Royal Stag and Royal Challenge, although similar sounding these ‘royals’ have their own loyalty amongst aficionados.
Seagram’s Royal Stag
Seagram’s Royal Stag is one of the most iconic, and preferred Indian whisky brands. As per The Whiskypedia, Royal Stag was launched in 1995 and it has a blend of imported Scotch malts mixed with the finest Indian grain spirits and was one of the first brands to opt not to reuse their bottles or add flavours to their whisky.
It also holds the distinction of being one of the fastest growing Indian whisky brands, capturing the 1 million cases milestone within 6 years of its initial launch in the Indian market. By 2007, Royal Stag was selling nearly 5.6 million cases annually. Per reports, this iconic brand is redefining success by selling nearly 19 million cases annually.
For customers wanting to upgrade, Seagram’s launched the Royal Stag Barrel Select in 2011. The barrel select offers consumers an extension of Royal Stag whisky with a new packaging.
United Spirits’ Royal Challenge
United Spirits’ Royal Challenge was first introduced in the Indian market by Shaw & Wallace during the 1980s, this blended whisky is a mix of scotch malts and select Indian grain spirits. Royal Challenge was the market leader in the category until 2004 after which it was overtaken by Royal Stag. In 2007, Royal Challenge was trailing in the Indian market, selling 1.2 million cases annually, and the company claims it has been selling 4.5 million cases on their website.
The disparity between the two brands suggests a clear audience preference towards Royal Stag, but let us continue our evaluation of the Royal Stag Vs Royal Challenge debate.
Head to Head
Royal Stag has a smoky smell with hints of fruit. It has well balanced palate and a smooth finish; while Royal Challenge has a strong aroma of molasses and has a long finish with hints of sweetness.
Seagram’s Royal Stag and United Spirits’ Royal Challenge are both leading Indian whisky brands from the mid-prestige premium segment, although the battle between the two ends in favour of Royal Stag by a significant margin.