Amrut

Review: Amrut Fusion Single Malt Indian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Amrut Fusion 2.jpg
ABV
50%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Amrut (Bangalore, India)

This well respected malt comes from a distillery near Bangalore, India. It sits at a stunning 3000 ft. above sea level, and has produced malts that have left even the Scottish amazed. Amrut means the “drink of the Gods” and aptly describes some of what they produce.The location means for a different maturation process – they lose much more through evaporation to the surroundings than a distillery in Scotland (or most places, for that matter) and the heat causes more wood-spirit interaction enabling them to mature excellent spirits quite quickly.

This whisky, Amrut Fusion, is named as the malted barley used to create the whisky comes from both Scotland (25% of the barley, and this portion is peated) and India (the remaining 75%). The fact that a large chunk of the barley is for India, along with the unique maturation conditions results in a malt that some unique flavours I haven’t find anywhere else. The whisky, roughly, is four years old, so it’s quite young – but as described above it doesn’t take as long to get a fair bit out of the wood.


Review (2012)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

Nose: There is smoke cleverly hidden among some roasted malt (as if you made a loaf of bread from malted barley – not as dense as malt loaf, but lighter), pear, vanilla, caramel pudding, apricot, and there’s another fruit, seeming of tropical nature. There’s some creamy orange, as if a pudding was made with orange peel. The nose does well to sit with…I find I can enjoy taking my time with the nose.  There’s even a touch of mint in places. I do like this nose! And it is growing on me as my glass sits…A creamy, rich, fruity nose with hints of smoke and spice.

Taste: The whisky hits the front of the tongue, with some beautiful sweet maltiness and honey before a bit of salty smoke comes in mid-palate amidst some oranges and peaches, and then a dose of slightly bitter oak before the spices roam around your tongue gently after the whisky.  Oak is also present throughout – it’s not overly oaked, but there is a light oakiness to it, and it’s a touch sappy. It’s quite juicy, and has a quality to it that reminds me of grapes. It has quite the effect on the palate – it certainly spices up your mouth and leaves it warmer for a bit after the whisky has gone down, almost as if you put a pinch or two of cayenne pepper in it.

Finish: The oak comes in at first, and there’s nice feel to it. It has bits of fruit – honey, wintergreen, orange and dried apricot, but not a lot of it. It’s a bit of honey sweetness in the finish, too. There is the slightest hint of dry smoke, as well, which grows. I do quite like some of the tingly spice which plays with the mouth for a bit, though, and it keeps my attention very well. The finish seems to draw your mouth together, as if your cheeks expand. However, a bit more flavour in the finish might not be so bad.

It is quite an interesting whisky, and I do like the fruit in the malt as well as the spice. It’s odd – it almost asks for a bit of water, and I think they could have produced a pretty great product at 46% as well. I think sometimes the spice can be a bit much, and water can help, and yet I think it flattens out the experience a bit.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. This is about par for the course in terms of what you get for what you pay.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

The nose is rich with woody spices, tropical fruit, smoke, pear, pineapple, prunes, marmalade, clove, cinnamon sticks, molasses, and dried ramen noodles. It has a really nice, rich, umami-type character. The palate follows suit, emphasizing dried fruits, woody spice, oak, and some dried apple. Nice vanilla, but don’t mistake that note into thinking this is confectionary. Tabacco spice on the end, lots more dried fruit, and even a touch of lavender. Nice savoury notes. The whisky doesn’t seem quite as fruity as last time, but I do just love this profile – very Amrut.

This is very good…I think it would be even moreso at cask strength (though it would be hot!). I like this more than the last time I had it.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Upper end of average, based on $83.


Review: Amrut Rye Single Malt Indian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Amrut Rye 2.jpg
ABV
50%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
100% Malted Rye
Distiller Amrut (Bangalore, India)

The first batch of Rye released from Amrut - 100% malted rye from Europe, a “single malt” but of a very different variety. I love rye, and love the different expressions that Canada gives to it which are distinct, or the USA, or European ryes – and given my love for Amrut, I was very curious to see what we come up with here! It was matured in new American Oak Barrels – you can tell, with the (very) dark natural colour. Also, terrific bottle.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

The nose is terrific! What I would expect – dried tropical fruits, loads of spice, orange peel, baking rye bread, potpourri, and a light farmy characteristic. Vanilla, and massive oak, too…toasted macadamias, and a touch of dustiness – the first time I’ve had dusty rye not from Canada! The palate is oaky, spicy, and very rich – loads of grain character, battling sweet oak, baking spices, and dried fruit – apricot, dried orange peel, and even a touch of tamarind! The finish is quite fruity, lightly spicy, and a touch tannic (less than I would have expected from the nose!). Very pleasant oaky spices on the end.

Quite nice with just a drop of water in it…it’s not too hot at 50%, but it is intense, flavour wise. It opens up nicely with time. Very nice! I was hoping for a bit more of the incredible complexity and integration of the Intermediate Sherry or cask strength peated versions, but this is still terrific.

I actually would have been quite curious to see what this would have been like as a first fill ex-bourbon rather than new oak. It is incredibly rich, but not as vibrant as some Amruts.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. At around $200, this would have to be among the best whiskies I’ve tasted for it to get in a higher value category - this stuff isn’t cheap.


Review: Amrut Peated Cask Strength Indian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Amrut Peated CS.jpg
ABV
62.8%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Amrut (Bangalore, India)

A fully peated, cask strength whisky, from Amrut. They also offer another version at 46%. All the barley in this whisky is from Scotland, peated to 23 ppm.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 12

  • Bottling Code: 41640

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Woody, floral (in a dried flower sort of way), vegetal, and peaty with dried fruit and caramel- quite an interesting one here weaving together some very interesting flavor camps. Strong peppermint (like candycanes) too, alongside the rich oakiness. The mintiness, is, in fact, almost like the menthol-like nature of freshly milled green cardamom when amidst the various spices here. But of course we have so much more: dried apricot, dried pear, dried hibiscus, apple seeds, apple sauce, and almost a general mixed bag of spices that all meld together – cloves, cinnamon, saffron (particularly), black peppercorns…This isn't aged long but feels as though it is full of fabulous age - that Indian climate certainly does its work! Not overly peaty, though the earthiness and light smoke are certainly around, especially towards the end of the palate. Complex, interesting, and very nice. With water, it grows a bit, and apple emerges more fully....but I like this one at full strength more. A winner.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation). One of my all time favourite whiskies.

Value: Very high. 107$ for this is incredibly worthwhile.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: 28

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: Jan 2016

Recently at the airport, and I was debating between picking up batch 28 or batch 35. There was a remarkable difference in colour – 35 was much lighter. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to roll the dice with perhaps a more cask influenced bottling, but I decided to - given how much I loved the oaky intermediate sherry earlier this year. I was intent on buying another to see if there was more peat influence.

A dense, rich, gorgeous nose. Woody and tropical and slightly floral: Leather, heather flowers, lavender, dried peach, dried apricot, dried papaya, light sweet smoke (wood smoke/char rather than vegetal peat smoke), custard. The palate is quite smoky, and rich – fire roasted chickpeas, lots of dried fruit, oak – ever so slightly astringent, in a good way -tannins and tobacco play in lightly. Finish is lightly smoky, vegetal, dry – still lots of tropical fruit and dried fruit. There’s a growing richness and smokiness, a flourish of spice, and I get some more tobacco oils (like the finish of a good cigar, a few hours after it has been smoked).

Batch 12 was more malty, less woody, less smoky – and sweeter. That being said, they are definitely in the same family, and they are both brilliant. This is smokier, and, oddly, brighter at the same time. I like this with a touch of water added – it’s a bit too dense at cask strength. Richer, smokier, but not as well balanced as batch 12. A terrific buy, I should have picked up 35 as well...

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). Not quite the last batch, but nearly there, and on the edge of the highest recommendation category.

Value: Very high. 107$ for this is incredibly worthwhile.


Review: Amrut Single Cask Peated Port Pipe Indian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Amrut Peated Portpipe 2.jpg
ABV
59%
Aging
Port Pipe
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Amrut (Bangalore, India)

Here is an odd one: Indian barley smoked with Scottish peat, matured in a port pipe.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Portpipe/2712 filling: Jan 2011, bottling: Feb 2016, one of 660 bottles

  • Bottling Code: Above

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Really interesting notes on the nose – dried orange, spicy barley, cinnamon, anise seed, and vanilla. Light creaminess throughout. The combination of the berry-like port, with a bit of oxidation, is really interesting with the peat. Really interesting spices – green peppercorn. Rich oak and biscuits really come out on the undiluted at CS.

The palate is fruity, spicy, and smoky – still quite dry. It’s an odd mix – lots of stewed fruit as well, but it doesn’t quite come together despite having a set of solid flavours. The dried fruit (surprisingly bright) sits above, the peat underneath, and the spices oddly in the middle. The finish is tannic and spicy, with a touch of sweetness and cacao. The spices are sweet – in line with cinnamon and star anise.

Interesting, and integrated, but lacking balance

Value: Low. It’s interesting, but I’m not crazy about this for $90.


Review: Amrut Intermediate Sherry Single Malt Indian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Amrut Intermediate Sherry 2.jpg
ABV
57.1%
Aging
Ex-bourbon, virgin oak, sherry casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Amrut (Bangalore, India)

Here we have a sherry monster, but it isn't a "finished" whisky in the traditional sense - it's part of Amrut's tendency towards mad casking....it is whisky which starts in ex-bourbon and new barrels, is transferred to sherry casks for a year (and perhaps port?), and then transferred back into ex-bourbon casks. Hence "intermediate" sherry.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 20

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Really nutty and biscuit-y on the nose. Sharp, spicy, and woody (this is a dark whisky!), and very interesting – berries, and loads of nuts of a different sort than I am typically accustomed with whisky – brazil nuts – chocolate, green cardamom, marmelade, raisins, and rich tea biscuits.

 

The palate is incredible – rich and chewy, with a nice set of barley-driven earthiness and loads of rancio! Finishes with lots of dried fruits, spice, and rancio. Full of flavour. Marmelade, brazil nuts, dried apricots, raisins, almonds, currants. Wow. Has quite a bit of structure with all the wood involved and the light tannins. The finish is full of rancio, currants, dark chocolate, malty beer and burnt wood. A touch of matchsticks, too.

Quite different than portonova, which is a bit more malt driven and fruity (fresh, as opposed to dry). But, bigger, more flavorful, and more complex. I like it more.

Terrific whisky from Amrut.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. If you can find this for $100, as I did.