Few people know rice gets better with age - but Tilda is looking to change that with the launch of Vintage Basmati.

The company said it was following in the footsteps of rice farmers who would sometimes store and age rice if they knew the crop had been particularly good.

A small amount of rice from 2006 was set aside after it was identified as an exceptional crop. It had been aged to deliver a “more separate grain, with an extraordinarily nutty aroma and naturally sweet flavour”, said Tilda, adding that this made it a good accompaniment to strong flavours such as game and red meat.

Rolling out to Waitrose this week, Vintage Basmati is being sold in golden bags inside black, gift-box-style packaging at £4.99 for 500g - a considerable premium over Tilda’s standard pure basmati rice, which currently retails at £2.56 for 500g at Waitrose. It is also being carried by Ocado and John Lewis.

“We are bringing something completely new to the rice category, creating a prestige product,” said Tilda marketing head Vijay Vaidyanathan. “As a naturally fragrant rice, it develops more complex aromas and flavours over time, so by carefully storing the rice we are adding new dimensions to the existing dry rice offering.”

Tilda launched its first limited-edition rice earlier this month, a microwaveable British Curry flavoured product developed by MasterChef 2010 winner Dhruv Baker.

Sales of the Tilda brand have grown 1.7% year-on-year to £56m on volume sales up 15% year-on-year.