Pakistan produces 20 year old malt whisky

Daily Telegraph said:
Pakistan brewery produces Muslim world's first 20-year whisky
By Isambard Wilkinson in Rawalpindi
Last Updated: 1:29am GMT 26/02/2007

The Islamic republic of Pakistan has won the distinction of producing the Muslim world's first 20-year-old malt whisky.

The Murree Brewery in Rawalpindi, founded in 1860 to make ale and spirits for soldiers during the British Raj, is the only producer of whisky and beer in a constitutionally Muslim country.

Despite a torrid history in which it has been burnt down by Muslim protesters and temporarily shut down in an Islamist purge, the Murree brewery has survived against the odds and has previously produced celebrated eight and 12-year-old single malts.

"Few distilleries in the world, even the high-end ones in Scotland, produce 20-year-old malts," said Minnoo Bhandara, the Parsee businessman whose family has run the brewery since the creation of Pakistan at the partition of British India in 1947.

Officially, the 20-year malt will be true to its name of "Rarest".

Under Pakistani law it cannot be drunk by 97 per cent of the country and it cannot be exported.

But the production of the rare whisky has coincided with an unprecedented debate in Pakistan about the prohibition on drinking alcohol. In 1977 the former prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, bowed to the demands of Islamic political parties and imposed an alcohol ban on Muslims.

Since then the brewery has officially been catering for the three per cent of Pakistan's population that comprises of the non-Muslim communities of Christians, Hindus and those of Mr Bhandara's Zoroastrian faith.

However, the ingenuity of thirsty Pakistanis means that rather a lot of the 660,000 gallons of beer that Murree produces every year and the 110,000 gallons of whisky that is stored in its cellars reaches a Muslim clientele.

"I think 99 per cent of my customers are Muslim," said Mr Bhandara, who is an Oxford-educated MP.

The official punishment sanctioned by the Koran of 80 lashes with an oil-soaked whip has never been applied.

The unexpected debate on drinking was sparked earlier this month by Ali Akbar Wains, a maverick parliamentarian, who suggested in the national assembly that by banning the "minor evil" of alcohol, the government had helped the "major evil" of drugs to flourish in the country.

The call to legalise drinking alcohol was taken up by the likes of Mr Bhandara, who has long battled against the so-called "Teetotalitarian" state.

Mr Bhandara said that the debate was "one of the best things that has happened to this country." But he sees little hope of progress. "The subject of drinking will stir up a hornet's nest," he said, adding that Pakistan will maintain its ban on exporting alcohol.

In the coming months Murree beer will be available in Indian restaurants in Britain under the slogan "Have a Murree With Your Curry" after a deal struck with a Belgian brewer to produce the drink under licence.
'Empire-exported drinking culture helps in fight for liberty over totalitarianism.'

Well, looks like time to do a little more colonising, no?


If any Arrsers goes out to Pakistan, they should consider themselves duty-bound to find out and then report back on this thread!

SLR (Not to be confused with SLR Boy).
It's worse than wife beater- it makes you declare Jihad


Pakistan also manufacture sub-standard squeeky bagpipes. put them together with the whiskey and you can understand why loads of them are going to Afghan on jihad. Their heads are pure mashed man.


reminds me of when we were offered a whiskey in Egypt. The bottle claimed proudly it was made from only the finest grapes !
Who can forget "Genuine Old Hong Kong Queen Victoria Black Dragon Scotch Whiskey (sic)". I wish i'd kept the bottle and thrown away the spirit!


Book Reviewer
The Sikhs used to smuggle Indian whiskey (Star Whiskey if I recall?) over into Pakistan at great risk and for nice profit. Filthy muck, it was around 30 proof.

If you got nicked with it God help you. This in a country where, at the time, you could stroll into a chemist shop and buy morphine.


Some mad man got hold of some Iraq whisky and vodka only diffrence
seemed to be the colour .Tasted better than cyclume and alchol gel but only just :thumleft:
Good job there's an export ban. Don't want Tescos or Morrison's ever selling it.

It'll definitely bugger up your oxygen sensor.

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