I am extremely fortunate to call Mr Ashok Chokalingam, Global Brand Ambassador of Amrut Distilleries, a very good friend. However, he’s a better friend to me than I am to him I must admit. For he released a batch of The Amrut 100 and had it bottled exclusively for our Malt Society in Dubai. Literally, just for us. And for that I am eternally grateful to him.
Bottled in September 2012, The Amrut 100 is first matured in ex-bourbon casks before making it’s way into 100 liter virgin oak barrels, thus, accelerating the maturation process in the hope of leaving behind intense flavors.
Nose: Mostly peat with a distinct earthy, mossy feel to it accompanied by mild weetabix soaked in warm milk. Oddly comforting. The sweetness takes a while to develop and comes in the form of orange vanilla. Adding a dash of water softens the peat and allows soft Danish butter cookies to come through. Very nice.
Palate: Comes firing at you on all cylinders and the peat and the high ABV don’t leave much room to maneuver the taste buds. It’s a bit of a lashing to be honest. But nothing that my weathered palate cannot sustain. The dash of water does make it more approachable and makes the toffee sweeter. Contrary to my rather rigid belief system I think I like this with a few drops of H2O.
Finish: Long with a balance of spices.
All in all this is an extremely enjoyable dram. It is not as complex as the expressions that Amrut is known for but it certainly holds it’s own against other peated whiskies in it’s weight class.
And thanks, Ashok. I owe you one.
Colour: Pale Straw
A few months before this much awaited whisky was set to launch Amrut’s brand ambassador, and my good friend, Ashok, sent us a sample. He wasn’t looking for an opinion – he was just being nice. Letting us take a sneak peek into the oldest (released) Amrut ever.
Greedy Angels is named for the excessive evaporation that the Bangalore weather forces on the maturation process. Word has it that over 274 liters of spirit was lost in this 8 year experiment making this expression possibly the rarest Amrut in the world.
Nose: A marriage of two ex-bourbon casks the nose is unmistakably that – bourbon. But there is layer upon layer of complexities forcing you to sit and ooh aah over every new aroma you discover. First the honey, toffee and vanilla. Then a bowl of stewed fruits topped with crushed biscuits, cardamom and the faintest of cinnamon. Let it breathe a bit and it becomes dry almost like a fortified wine taking on some butterscotch and green pears.
Palate: The creamy palate makes a lovely transition from the nose with honey, toffee and vanilla as the central characters all ably supported by pleasant star anise and strong jasmine tea.
Finish: The long finish is warm oaky and sprinkled with black pepper.
A lovely robust malt which makes you marvel at how the folks over at Amrut rarely put a foot wrong.
Distillery/Brand: Amrut | ABV: 50% | Region: India | Colour: Full Gold
Nose: 24 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
Amrut expressions are extremely rare on the ground given their limited runs thanks to a policy of quality and not quantity which we all appreciate. They are also subject to the most cruel levels of Angel’s Share thanks to the hot and balmy weather of Bangalore. And so when they released the third edition of this rare expression I just had to get it.
Kadhambam in Tamil means ‘mixture’ and that’s exactly what this malt is. Matured in four different casks – new American Oak, rum, sherry & brandy – it mixes and marries flavor profiles from all influences.
Nose: It’s restrained in a confident manner. It doesn’t come rushing at you on all 8 cylinders yet neither does it shy away from expressing itself. The American Oak announces itself first with a lovely bourbon-y smell complete with vanilla, some chocolate and caramel. The rum is next with it’s dry dates and banana. The sherry with it’s clove and finally the brandy with a whiff of wild flowers. The subtle nuances coupled with the complex make this quite a nosing experience.
Palate: Now the palate I would have liked to fire on all cylinders but the restraint continues. The woody caramel delivery is sprinkled with cinnamon and cocoa powder and completely coats your mouth in a creamy goodness. I hung on for a long time to try and get some more out of it but couldn’t. And that’s where it loses a couple of points.
Finish: Long and dry with the same chocolate, oak and spice setting up permanent camp on your taste buds.
This is not my favorite Amrut but it’s a damn fine one. And I have to give them props for not shying away from doing things no other distillery would even dare. Thanks to them we experience flavor profiles we could not have dreamed possible.
Colour: Amontillado Sherry
I chanced upon this gem of a whisky by accident some time ago and managed to secure a bottle. After tasting it and realizing how scarce it was on the ground I stored it away for a special occasion. Little did I know that special occasion would be me buying another two bottles more than a year later. So now here I am writing another review.
Nose: Just gorgeous. Absolutely flawless. It starts off like a sherried-whisky (only I know it’s port but it has all the characteristics of one). The strong red grapes come crunched with pepper corns, almonds and a fistful of dark raisins and figs. This is covered in the most divine of thick, dark honey slathered on fresh toast sitting atop an oak slab strewn with a touch of hay.
Palate: The full bodied texture is exactly like a good quality after-dinner port apertif. First the strong cinnamon then the flowing charred caramel and the aniseed infused maple syrup cascade over your palate and wrestle your taste buds into a delightful submission.
Finish: The gloriously long finish is chock full of exotic spices like star anise and black pepper on honey; all of which is encompassed in an oaky brilliance.
This is the dram against which all drams will forever be measured.
It’s called Two Continents because it’s been matured in both India and Scotland. I don’t know who thought of doing that but they’re on to something special here.
The 2nd Edition is slightly stronger than the first (50% vs 46% ABV) and I think that adds to the excitement.
Nose: Let’s start with the unreal nose. Each visit brings you something new forcing you to almost sit and nose it for hours. I had so many flavor profiles wrestling with my senses I was dazed. It’s instantly honeyed reminding you of a ripe fruit stew covered in pudding. There is also a small piece of chocolate drizzled with citrus juice that is just delightfully unexpected. Sit with it for a while and the smell of freshly cut grass grabs you. As your sense of smell eagerly waits for something new out comes a tray of freshly baked biscuits! Finally you are reminded that the one thing that binds it together is fat, juicy barley.
Palate: With heady anticipation I let some of it slide over my tongue and it was as if someone had just taken all these aromas and liquified them instantly. As the silky malt explored my mouth it left behind faint traces of oak with pencil shavings strewn around. Then suddenly from no where you’re hit with the fiery spice of cinnamon and star anise.
Finish: Once you close your eyes and swallow you realize that each component worked harmoniously with each other and made the other great. Possibly one of my favorite malts from definitely my favorite distillery.
Rating : 97
Once again the world’s most experimentally daring distillery conjures up glorious magic in a bottle. The Amrut Intermediate Sherry has been matured in bourbon casks first, shifted to Jerez sherry casks for a bit and then back into bourbon casks for final maturation.
Nose: The result is a truly unique flavor profile unlike other sherry influenced malts. The nose bursts out from a bouquet of floral aromas. The sweet barley shrouded sherry is the hero but with that you can also expect a touch of custard and fruits.
Palate: The gorgeous palate is a rush of sugar and honeyed barley. A second rush introduces us to stewed fruits and vanilla. Finally the strong sherry flavors give way to a captivating oaky finish full of spices. A truly amazing malt!
Rating : 94