Hey there and Namaste! I hope all of you are doing well and had a wee dram since the last time!
This post will explore a whisky that comes from India. I hope that we can get ‘in the know’ about this one. Why India? Well, that’s where my origins are. A lot of who I am is because of the ancient cultures of India. Apart from all that which nobody really cares, is the fact that there is a lot of discussion and hubbub about Indian whiskies these days. This may be because noted whisky author, Jim Murray, mentioned it in one of his ‘Whisky Bibles’.
Anyway, the whisky I am talking about is the much acclaimed Amrut whisky. Now I’ve heard people pronounce it as ‘Am (as in ‘I AM fine’)- Rut (as in ‘I am in a RUT’). But it’s pronounced a little more closely to ‘Um-root’. If you’re not sure, ask any friend of yours that may speak one of the hundreds of Indian languages out there. He or she may be able to help you. Even better, he or she may even join you in a dram of Amrut!
Amrut whisky comes from, as we said already, India. It is distilled in the state of Karnataka. It literally means ‘the Nectar of the Gods’. It is a fitting name for a whisky. I had heard about this whisky for a while… it is the first best in the world, it is the second best in the world, it is the third best in the world, and so on. However, I never had an opportunity to try out the Amrut. This all changed when I had the opportunity to meet one of my friends from Twitter- Raj Sabharwal, aka, WhiskyRaj. I was following Raj on Twitter and learned that he was the importer of Amrut and several other exclusive spirits in the US.
I finally met Raj at a pub in Pittsburgh, PA. He had just got back from a trip from China, but took the time to meet me. He introduced me to several different expressions of Amrut. I was blown away! I never realized that whiskies could have so many different profiles and complexities. Having tried various Indian whiskies while I was in India, I could really say that this was NOT AT ALL like any of them! It could truly hold its own anywhere in the world. It was not similar to a Scotch whisky, but it was very complex and very drinkable.
I tried so many that evening that my mind was spinning. Raj was gracious enough to provide me a sample to study at my leisure. I’ve since then purchased 2 different expressions of Amrut. The one I will be describing here is of the sample that Raj provided me. I did get a bottle of this for Father’s Day this year 🙂
The name of the whisky is Amrut Single Malt Whisky, Cask Strength. It is, as we said, made in Karnataka, India. The distillery is Amrut Distillery. There is no age statement, but there is a batch number and a date: Batch #55, May 2013. It is cask strength so it’s quite strong- 61.8% ABV.
With all the accolades I’d heard about Amrut, along with the tastings I had with Raj, I was excited to try this whisky on my own. On pouring a dram, one immediately notes the color. The color is light amber, a dark yellow, tending towards gold. There is a nice coat ring with good legs. Some tearing is noted, similar to an older whisky, but as I said, there is no age statement.
On nosing the dram, undiluted first, I was in for a great surprise. There were strong notes of wood, oak, along with sherry, vanilla, and honey. It was sweet to smell- if there is such a thing. There were also lots of spice notes- clove, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. There were also notes of nuts and fruit jam. I also detected a hint of greens, like freshly cut grass or a freshly cut young branch of a tree.
I took a sip after this olfactory experience. First of all, it felt very smooth. You wouldn’t think that it is cask strength at first sip. My immediate reaction was that it was sweet, but not over empoweringly (if that’s a word) sweet, to the tongue- with notes of sugar syrup and honey. The woody notes were of course there, particularly oak and vanilla. Spices galore were noted on first sip with touches of ginger, clove and star anise. There was also that note of greens that I sensed while nosing.
This journey was really getting exciting… I added a little bit of water to see what would happen. On nosing and tasting it with water, there were some subtle changes giving me an added surprise! There were notes of leather that came up with the wood and nuts. Sweet notes of honey, sugar syrup and fruit jam were present along with vanilla. There were also some cocoa notes. There were even more spices! Including cloves, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper!
The finish was very long. Though cask strength, it didn’t seem very astringent. There were lasting leather notes with this whisky.
So…. 96 out of 100 pts! It is beautiful and very complex. It is so smooth that you will not realize and forget that this is a cask strength whisky. It is definitely a long, easy drinking whisky. I used this whisky as a toast to my new job and then bought a bottle of the same for Father’s Day. I highly suggest trying out this whisky or those from its family. It will really be a pleasant surprise. It will also allow those of you that haven’t explored whiskies outside of bourbons and scotches to try a beautiful whisky from another country.
So once again I raise a glass of whisky to all of you and say ‘Namaste!’ and I wish all of you all the best ‘til next time.
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With this I will close this post of the dMann’s Whisky Notebook. I would like this to develop into something that will allow you to get ‘in the know’ regarding whisky. I hope to come up with some sort of cool tagline that I can close with. But until then, I would like to remind everyone that, those who are in the know, enjoy their whisky responsibly.