A Whisky to Save India's Critically Endangered Bird

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.27 - 2024 10:12 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
In an innovative move for wildlife conservation, Godawan whisky was launched to support the endangered Great Indian Bustard, with backing from the Jaisalmer royal family.

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In India, it's time for whisky to shine, especially when it comes with the promise of aiding the survival of a critically endangered bird.

That bird is the Great Indian Bustard, known as GIB or godawan in Hindi, which faces the threat of extinction. This large bird, one of the heaviest that can fly, is native to Rajasthan's dry scrublands but has been pushed to the brink of extinction due to hunting.

Today, the GIB population has dwindled to just about 120 in India.

Godawan whisky came into being in early 2023, aiming to combine the pleasure of sipping a fine single malt with the cause of saving the GIB.

Produced in Alwar, Rajasthan, this artisanal whisky is made from locally sourced barley and crafted using water-efficient methods. It's flavored with a mix of Indian botanicals, offering notes of raisin, fig, apricot, and caramel.

Royal Partnership

Chaitanya Raj Singh, a descendant of the Jaisalmer royal family and a social entrepreneur, plays a pivotal role in promoting Godawan whisky and its conservation mission. In partnership with Diageo, the brand's parent company, efforts are underway to safeguard grasslands for the GIB, enhancing their chances of survival.

Singh draws a parallel to the successful conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger in India, expressing hope for the GIB's future: "This conservation initiative is a step in the right direction. And we hope that we will be able to save the bird… the way it happened for the tiger."

The whisky, known for its smoothness and a hint of smokiness and spice, pairs exceptionally well with red meat, reminiscent of red wine's compatibility.

Singh recommends enjoying it alongside laal maas canapés, a contemporary take on Rajasthan's traditional mutton curry, a dish with royal origins that complements the whisky's rich flavors.