Distillery/Brand: Amrut | Region: India | ABV: 62.6% | Colour: Deep Gold
Nose: 23 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 24 | Rating: 94
Everyone knows I have a soft spot for Amrut whiskies. It is easily in my Top 3 distilleries of all time. Not because it’s from India (where my wife and so many close friends are from). And not because it’s brand ambassador and Whisky Icon of 2012, Mr Ashok Chokalingam, is a dear friend.
It is actually because they ensure that the local community benefits from gainful employment. They employ scores of women to work in their distillery even though they can quite easily automate the process and save a ton of money.
But they choose not to. And for that they will have my undying respect.
Now add to that extremely lofty work ethic the ability to produce some of the most delicious spirit the planet has ever seen and you will begin to understand my infatuation with this little giant of the whisky industry.
Don’t ask me how but some how I managed to snag the holy grail of Indian whiskies: the first ever cask strength Amrut ever released. A beautifully complex young ‘un that has been first matured in virgin oak and then in first-fill bourbon.
So intense is the transfer of flavor from the bourbon barrels that, before I fact checked with Ashok himself, I was quite convinced that there was some sherry involved in the making. But that’s not the case.
This is a gorgeous cask strength spirit served at 62.6% and bottled in May 2006. My sample is from a brand new bottle.
Nose: Cadbury chocolate. Hint of smoke. Caramel. Oak. Red grapes. Red berries. Clove. Black pepper. Red apple. Demerera sugar. Touch of salt. There is a sweet earthiness to this whisky with the spices in the fore. A few drops of water will make it even more spicy. Tremendous.
Palate: Clove. Chocolate. Fudge. Cinnamon. Garam masala. Red grapes. Caramel. Burn oak. If I didn’t know any better I would think there was some sherry involved. Almost PX like. But now I know it’s the virgin oak. Powerful stuff.
Finish: Long. Oily. Cinnamon. Oak.
As with all Amruts the magnificent oak almost always plays a central role. Such is the case here as well. This is one cracking dram which I’m quite privileged to have gotten my hands on.
And you know the best part? I’m meeting Ashok next week and he has no idea I’m going to serve him this.