Life on the other side of the table….. The Return !

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After the Success (well we thought we did well…..) of our appearance behind the table of the Amrut Stall at the WhiskyLounge Newcastle Festival , Ashok has asked us to represent Amrut at some more of the Whisky Lounge Festivals later in the year . It is a pleasure for Melanie and myself to carry the Amrut banner at these Fests !

Saturday 6th September - The Whisky Lounge Liverpool Whisky Festival

Saturday 13th September - The Whisky Lounge Yorkshire Whisky Festival , York 

Saturday 25th October - The Whisky Lounge Manchester Whisky Festival 

Details of these Festivals are available by clicking on the links above .

We look forward to meeting the good people of Liverpool , York and Manchester at these events .

Two Hakushus….. Bless you !

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I’ve taken quite a shine to Hakushu , i prefer it to Yamazaki (though that is still a good malt) , and everytime i go down to Hugos at the Coast on Tynemouth High Street i take advantage of their generous offer of a double 12yo for £5.70 ! I did have a bottle of a 12yo i bought at Bowmore Distillery (C’mon own up who said it was the last decent bottle bought at Bowmore ?!?!) ages ago (they don’t sell it there anymore) but i’ve nearly drained that and decided to buy the ‘All New Presentation’ of the 12 along with the ‘All New’ Distillers Reserve . Here are my thoughts on them……. 

Hakushus

Hakushu Distillers Reserve 

Pale gold in Colour and bottled at 43% (must be a Suntory thing….) , Wow ! very green on the nose , fruit , herbs , mint etc etc but with a waft of the Hakushu smoke . A very pleasant nose and i can’t believe how oily it is in the glass ! So to the palate , pretty much the same as the nose , incredibly silky smooth across the tongue , a real joy , the finish is quite spicy with a lingering smokiness , very satisfying ! This is so incredibly easy to drink , probably dangerously easy but it is a lovely soft dram that does give you a kick on the finish , definitely a summer drink , let’s just hope it’s a long hot one !

Hakushu 12yo 

So on to the 12yo , again 43% but this time its a lovely bright shiny Gold , the initial nose seems to have a bit more of a robustness to it , This one seems to have tropical fruit on the nose as opposed to green fruits on the DR , a touch of sweetness (honey) and smoke . Again oily in the glass , initially across the palate it is quite thick , again loads of tropical fruits and a lovely honeyed sweetness with a touch of lemon , absolutely fantastic ! Did i mention the smoke ? The finish is practically the same as the DR , it hangs about for a little while…… What can you say ? it does what it says on the can  bottle , as the HHGTTG would say ‘mostly harmless’ , i would add friggin addictive and could be deadly !

Two more stunning drams from the Asian Continent , the 12 is the more ‘Heavier’ of the two but don’t overlook the DR , both should grace any serious Single Malt fans cabinet !!!!

Spirit of Toronto 2014

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We were recently over in Toronto at the invitation of the Johanna and Charles , the Organisers of the Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala  to host a Islay Masterclass and Whisky Lounge (see Islay Visits…. Go west to Toronto for full details). Per chance Mr Amrut , Ashok , was there as well ! He was also doing a Masterclass , at the same time as ours so we never got to see each other in action , and serving at the Amrut Table . We actually met up the night before when Johanna and Charles took us all out for a meal at the Steak house ‘The Keg’ .

Ashok at SoT

I also finally got the  chance to meet Raj Sabharwal (@Whiskyraj) , the North American Importer of Amrut , nice seeing him in person after speaking to him on Twitter for a while . Ashok was premiering the Bourbon and PX  Single casks in Ontario on this visit , the table was very popular when we finally got a chance to visit , they also had some of the standard bottlings on offer and the Blackadder Peated that won the Malt Maniacs award . 

SoT 3rd May

Say Amrut !

Relaxing

Relaxing with a Fusion at the end of the show

Friends of Amrut !

The Toronto and Newcastle Chapters of the ‘Companions of Amrut’ Convene a meeting with the Chairman !

(L – R Wendy Harker , Ashok , Gordon and Melanie )

Life on the Other side of the table……

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The Big whisky event of the year in Newcastle is the Annual (6 so far) Whisky Lounge Newcastle Whisky Fest , This year i would be seeing it from a different perspective , from the other side of the table !

Ashok would be away ‘Down Under’ converting the Antipodeans to the Amrut Way and he asked me if i would step into his shoes and host the Amrut table at the Fest , how could i refuse !!! After the prep talk and collection of stock just before Ashoks departure , it was just a wait till the day of our ( i’d talked Melanie into helping out by now….) maiden appearance at a whisky show .

It was an early start on the morning  , after loading the car it and getting to the Civic Centre Car Park , it was time for a Hearty breakfast at the Five Swans ! got to get your priorities right…… On arriving in the Banqueting Hall we were greeted by Amanda (Eddies better half) and shown to our table  and down to the serious business of setting up our display……NWF2014_0

I think we made a pretty good effort for our first go !

NWF2014_1So it was just a case of waiting for the doors to open and the hordes to descend , say hello to a few fellow exhibitors (it was great to see Yolanda on this side of the country on the Bladnoch table) and pose for a piccy with our handy work……

NWF2014_2The Amruts we had on offer were -

  • Amrut Single Malt 46%
  • Amrut Peated Single Malt 46%
  • Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength 61.8%
  • Amrut Fusion 50%
  • Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured 57.1%
  • Amrut Single Cask – Bourbon #3446 62.8% (White Token Dram)
  • Amrut Single Cask – Port Pipe Peated #2714 (Black Token Dram)

So at 12pm the doors opened and the first of the 700 punters enter and boy was it busy ! Right from the word go , there were lots of familiar faces and from the questions lots of new customers to the whisky experience . Quite a lot of the newbies were surprised there was a malt whisky from India and even more that there were 2 exhibiting here (Paul John was a couple of tables down from us ) , i’m glad to say all were highly surprised at how good the quality was of the Amrut product !!! After the initial shock of finding that Malt Whisky was produced in India the most commonest question was where is the distillery ? And how do they do the Peated one ? all of which we was willing to answer .

Melanie was well in the groove by now…… 

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The Intermediate Sherry was an early Favourite , infact it was the first to depart the table ! It was great to see people just not going for set ones but being willing to try their way through the range and the Peated one being very popular with Islay fans . At one point word seemed to get around that the Fusion was an excellent dram (what we and Jim Murray already knew !) and there was a hell of a rush on it ! Going off peoples comments it’ll be interesting to see how it done in the dram of the day Competition . During the afternoon there weren’t many lulls in the crowd but we did find time to pose again……

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The afternoon did fly over , it was great to spread the Amrut word and talk to fellow whisky drinkers about one of my passions , The Gorgeous Melanie was outstanding all afternoon – I was so proud of her !  The one thing that did come out of the afternoon was just how much Ashok will be missed when he returns to India , You are one popular man Ashok and lots of the visitors passed on their best wishes to you !

Some of the many visitors to the table , It was nice of Livvy to bring along her Grandad Bobby……. :-)

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We had an absolutely Wonderful day , thank you Ashok for the opportunity to do it ! We wrapped our gear away and headed into town for a well deserved drink and bite to eat with Livvy …….

Some Photos Courtesy of our Good Friend Bobby Banford…….

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Amrut Single Cask 3437 – Bourbon

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The end of 2013 saw the release of the Amrut Single Cask Series , it consisted of 3 types of cask – Bourbon , PX Sherry and Port Pipe – this one is the Bourbon……

amrut_bourbon_3437(click to see full size)

Amrut have provided a lot of information on the label for these releases……

  • Cask Type / Cask Number – Bourbon / 3437
  • Malt Type – Unpeated Indian Barley
  • Date of Filling – June 2009
  • Date of Bottling – August 2013
  • Total Maturation Loss – 42%
  • Bottle Number – 101 / 168
  • ABV – 62.8%

It also states that this one was an Exclusive Bottling for Europe .

I was originally given Cask #3441 to try so it’ll be interesting to see how Cask #3437 fairs up against it……..

Again a lovely ‘Golden Syrup’ colour in the glass (lovely oily legs as well) , for 62%+ the nose is quite relaxed , a really fresh feel to it , bags of vanilla , malt , spices , millionaires shortbread and the Amrut Liquorice . This is definitely one of them malts you could smell for a very long time……. But we won’t at the moment , so onto the palate , again liquorice of the Amrut variety  , spices including a huge wallop of cloves , chocolate , malt , digestive biscuits , a very complex malt ! The finish is superbly long , spices , vanilla , a great heat and incredibly chewy ! If you are a fan of Amrut seek this out ! If you’ve never tried Amrut , seek this out , if it doesn’t make you a fan i’ll be very surprised !

It is a very close thing between this and the Port one for which is my favourite , i think the Port one just shades it due to the fact that i was very surprised i liked it! These Single Cask Bottlings are Amrut at it’s best , they show that a great deal of time and thought has went into selecting the finest casks to put their spirit into , you also need an excellent spirit to start with and they’ve done both superbly ,  long may it continue !

Amrut Single Cask 2713 – Port Pipe

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The end of 2013 saw the release of the Amrut Single Cask Series , it consisted of 3 types of cask – Bourbon , PX Sherry and Port Pipe – this one is the Port Pipe……

amrut_portpipe_2713 (click to see full size)

Amrut have provided a lot of information on the label for these releases……

  • Cask Type / Cask Number – Portpipe / 2713
  • Malt Type – Peated Barley
  • Date of Filling – June 2009
  • Date of Bottling – August 2013
  • Total Maturation Loss – 45%
  • Bottle Number – 031 / 346
  • ABV – 59%

It also states that this one was an Exclusive Bottling for Europe .

This is the same Cask that i was kindly given a sample of by Ashok , so instead of reposting the old notes lets see what it’s like now that it’s been bottled !

A lovely Ruby Red Colour, Straight away the peatiness hits you accompanied by the fruitness of the port , there’s also chocolate and caramel lurking in there with Cherry liqueur and spices , i think the best way to describe the nose is a Spiced peaty fruitiness ! I love the nose but the Pièce de résistance is the palate , a multi layered sensory delight ! An incredible peatiness with dark fruit jam on top of Cherry liqueur sprinkled with a variety of spices . The Port Cask and the peated spirit are in perfect harmony , great balance , the finish to this is really long , peaty , sweet and spicy ! I was really surprised by this when i first tried it , i wasn’t a big fan of port , whether fully matured or finished , but this is exceptional , this works perfect with the peated spirit . it is a real palate pleaser !!!

Happy New Year !!!!

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New Year

Here’s Wishing all our Readers and Subscribers a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year !

This year has been the busiest on the Blog and we had visitors from 55 different Countries , including a fair few from India it’s self , Not bad for this little ol’ blog ! Many Thanks and please do return in 2014 !

We’re looking forward to another exciting year ahead and plenty of lovely Amrut Single Malt whisky .

I’d also like to thank Ashok for all his help along the way and wish Him , Viji and the Family all the best on their return home later in the year , Myself and Melanie will miss you all !