Monthly Archives: March 2011

Amrut 100


Amrut 100The last of the trio released at the end of 2010 was The Amrut 100 . Why 100 ? Well The spirit was matured in small hand made 100 Litre Casks , it was also bottled at the old 100 percent proof (57.1% ABV)  , it is in a 100cl (1 Litre) bottle and there are only 100 individually-numbered bottles for 5 Countries ( UK , Denmark ,Sweden , Belgium and theNetherlands ) ! Simples !!!!

Like the finest Orange marmalade in colour , the peat immediately hits you on the nose , very peaty ! There’s quite a smokiness to it as well , Spices , chocolate , malt and liquorice . There’s also a nice oakiness to it as well . On the palate the peat strikes first , then Chocolate , and liquorice , a very nice spiciness to it as well . Very good balance across the palate . A Long and peaty finish , a touch of medicinalness in the peat , Mint humbugs and Fishermans Friends . Really chewy , boy does this finish go on and on and on……Wow ! A fantastic Amrut , A peat heads delight but with the Distilleries traits , i think this is the peatiest Amrut so far .

The 100 is certainly the peatiest Amrut i’ve tasted , the 100 litre virgin casks has added quite a bit of spiciness to the finished malt , very like the Ardbeg Toasted Oak releases . Amrut certainly aren’t sitting on their laurels , coming up with very interesting and very tasty new expressions ! This is possibly my favourite Amrut expression…so far….. it hits the mark in all the right ways !!!

Amrut Kadhambam


(Kadhambam – Mixture in the Tamil Language )

Amrut KadhambamThe second of the Trio of new releases from the last quarter of 2010 bottled at 50% , A Polished Gold in colour , beautifully oily in the glass , the first thing that gets you on the nose is the Amrut Liquorice (always a good sign !) , then Millionaires shortbread ( Shortbread , Caramel toffee and chocolate ) .Quite a sweet nose actually , very luxurious , very creamy with a slight floral hint . Very luxurious and oily across the palate as well with a lovely sweetness , the liquorice comes to the fore just ahead of oak , vanilla and toffee . The finish is long , oaky and quite dry with the Amrut trademark liquorice coming in right at the end . Another classic Amrut , the nose is an absolute dream , the stand out feature of this dram , the palate ain’t too bad either !

To say this has a slight portion of peated malt you can’t really tell from tasting it , interesting that it’s been matured consecutively in Sherry butts, ex-brandy casks and ex-rum casks as this seems to have added to the sweetness on the nose and on the palate compared to the Standard Amruts . I’ve seen Whisky matured in one of the 3 types of casks but never one moved through all three ! It certainly makes an interesting and different expression from Amrut .

Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured


Amrut Intermediate Sherry MaturedAt the end of 2010 Amrut released 3 special releases , this was the first , bottled at 57.1% , A lovely Orange Marmalade in Colour , initially heavy on the sherry on the nose then a spiciness (cloves amongst others….) interplaying with Millionaires shortbread , liquorice and vanilla . With each nosing you get a different aspect , one minute the sherry , the next the liquorice , shortbread and Vanilla . Wonderful ! Eventually when you do get around to tasting it the Sherry mixes beautifully with the Amrut traits , it seems to have more liquorice notes than standard Amruts , very spicy as well with a touch of chocolate but all the time enveloped in a beautiful sherriness . An Incredibly Long , warming , spicy , sherried , liquorice finish ! The perfect end to an unusual Amrut .

The Sherry maturation certainly is an interesting addition to Amrut Spirit but you’d never have guessed that the sherry maturation has been sandwiched in between two ex-bourbon casks maturations ! Amrut seems perfectly suited to sherry , there is a perfect balance to this expression , the distillery seems to have got it spot on with the time it allowed the spirit to rest in the sherry casks . This is a great twist on whisky finishing and has produced a top class expression .

The Whisky Exchanges 10th Anniversary Amrut


Amrut Special Reserve

This was a special bottling done for the 10th Anniversary of The Whisky Exchange by Amrut . An “Olde English Marmalade” Colour , the initial nose is a wee bit closed at first but quite malty , then there’s a hint of the Amrut Liquorice and cloves . After a while there is also a distant touch of shortbread biscuit and chocolate . The Palate is really hot , again very malty at first then all the typical Amrut Traits emerge , Spices , vanilla , liquorice together with a hot pepperiness . It has a wonderful mouthfeel , very oily . The finish is long and very warming with pepper and liquorice . TWE have recommended trying it with a drop of water so i’ll give it a go……. Water seems to bring the cloves out a bit more on the nose and takes the sting out of it , it also cools down the palate , giving it a smoked barley taste with a slight toffeeness . The finish becomes cooler with a slight honeyed biscuit tang . A very good Amrut bottling , more akin to the older Caskstrengths than the newer ones .

Ultimate Peated Amrut


Ulimate AmrutBottled By Van Wees in the Netherlands , a 2005 4yo peated Amrut . Dark amber in colour , on the nose a Strong peatiness intermixes with liquorice and spices , Nose tingling at first but it soon settles down . On the palate it has  an incredible peatiness , well balanced like a good peated Islay , the liquorice is there and Millionaires shortbread . The finish is Long , peaty , Fishermans Friend and peppermint . From Bourbon Barrel No. 1641 , Distilled 31st December 2005 , Bottled 22nd April 2010 , Bottle No.37 of 176 . Another (and i do mean this ….) really good Amrut , you have got to applaud their consistency , the distillery should be proud of their output !

Two Blackadders….A Cunning Plan !


Just for a change a duo of Blackadders……First up an Islay Cask Finished one…..

Blackadder Amrut Single Cask 62%

Blackadder Amrut Single Cask 62%

A Dark Amber in Colour , the nose opens with the usual Amrut Liquorice , it is nose hair tingling at first but then there is quite a peated tinge inbetween the liquorice , a nice chocolate hint also wafts in along with spices . The palate is lovely and oily , the abv is quite strong on the tongue but doesn’t detract from the taste . Liquorice is the dominating factor , chocolate is also present with a nice spiciness , the finish is long , liquorice , spicy and with what seems like a touch of Bowmore peatiness .

Cask Ref BA 10/2010 , Bottled June 2010 , Bottle No.262 of 288 .Finished for 9 months in Scotland in an Ex-Bowmore Islay Cask .It was with some intrepidation i opened this bottle , the shop i’d bought it from in Austria said it was peated , the bottle had no mention of this but that it had been finished in an ex-Bowmore Cask……. A very nice Amrut which luckily hasn’t been affected by the 9 months in a Bowmore cask .

A Sample of a Blackadder Amrut Single Cask Rum Finish

At 62.2% and finished for 6 months finishing in a Rum cask , this is Orange Marmalade in colour . The nose is really sweet at first , Marzipan / Battenburg Cake , Vanilla , then lots of Honey , What a real mouthful this malt is ! Sweetness (Honey) , Vanilla , Spicy , Liquorice , Malty . The finish is long and sweet , orangey citric , dry and a drop of golden rum . Bottled 2009 , Cask Ref BA5/2009 , 245 Bottles . A really nice single cask , independent bottling ! I could go this ….A lot ! (Thanks to Ashok for the chance to sample this !)

Indian distillery creates a whisky mature beyond its years


An article from the Toronto Star published Friday 18th March……..

As head of Canada’s biggest whisky appreciation society, Ed Patrick has hosted plenty of tastings for tipples from Scotland, Ireland, the U.S. and Canada.

Wednesday, he hosted one for a single-malt distillery from a much more unusual source: Bangalore, India. Judging by the appreciative murmurs from the sold-out crowd at the Companions of the Quaich tasting of Amrut whisky held at the Albany Club, Patrick may soon be hosting another one…….

Full article HERE

Amrut Double Cask


Amrut Double Cask A really nice sparkling Gold Colour , A fantastic complex nose , Candied fruit , a hint of pepper and smoked meat with a hint of grass and the  liquorice and vanilla associated with Amrut . A lovely velvet texture to the palate , Very orangie at first , peppery , spicy , really complex again , oak and vanilla come in at the end , quite chewy across the mouth . The finish is long and Orangie with spicy oak , again the finish leaves you chewing (literally) . Bottled at 46% from 2 Ex-Bourbon Barrels , No. 2874 (Filled 27-02-2003) and No.2273 (Filled 25-07-2002) . Bottled 27-2-2010 , Bottle No.229 of 306 . Another Fantastic Amrut , The oldest yet released (7yo ) and one of the best .

Amrut Two Continents


Amrut Two Continents One of the more unusual Amruts in that it is matured first in Bangalore then shipped 9,000KM to a secret location in Europe for further maturation……. Bottled at 46% , this is from the first release and is bright gold in colour . Another fantastic nose , The Amrut liquorice and a slight spiciness , Digestive Biscuits , Vanilla , and cut grass with a sweet oakiness . The mouthfeel is great , malty , again vanilla and liquorice . Quite sweet across the palate but i’m not complaining . A toffee sweetness , shortbread biscuit with caramel and chocolate on the top ! A long , dry finish, quite warming , vanilla with huge liquorice right at the end . Another wonderful Amrut , bottled February 2009 , bottle No.60 of 786 .

When Glasgow met the Ganges


An Article from the National Post , Canada by Mike Doherty / 16th March 2011

It’s been said that Amrut Distillery makes the best whisky outside of Scotland (by Whisky Magazine, 2011), the third-best whisky in the world (by Jim Murray, in Whisky Bible 2010), or the best whisky in the world (Malt Advocate magazine, 2011). And yet, it doesn’t put the age of its single malts on its bottles. Why? It’s afraid no one would buy them.

Ensconced in the dining room of the august Albany Club in downtown Toronto, where the members-only bar features luxurious, well-aged single-malt scotches, Amrut’s brand ambassador, Ashok Chokalingam, explains. “A man walking down the street without knowing much about the brand wouldn’t understand. He’d say, ‘Why should I pay $50 for a bottle of five-year-old whisky?’ “

Amrut’s distillery is in Bangalore, southwest India; in the dry, hot climate (between 17C in the winter and 40C in the summer), and at 3,000 feet above sea level (twice as high as the highest Scottish Highlands), whisky matures quickly. Most Scottish whiskies need 10 years of aging or more to remove their harshness, whereas in Bangalore, Chokalingam says, “after three years, it’s done.”

With the Queen smiling down on him from an old photo on the wall, he explains that in India, whisky drinking is “a byproduct of colonialism,” although it has its own particular traditions. Amrut, whose name is Sanskrit for “nectar of the gods,” was founded as a blender and bottler of spirits in 1948, the year after Indian independence; its main customer was the army. In 1980, the distillery started sourcing its own barley from the foot of the Himalayas, blending the malt with alcohol produced from sugarcane and bottling the results as MaQintosh Premium Whisky. At the time, India had no single-malt culture.

Chokalingam, an engineer by training, first learned to drink whisky in the accepted Indian way: “The guy walks into a bar, takes a quarter-bottle, pours half of it and tops up with water or soda and -bang! [Downs it in] one go, and then [eats a] spicy pickle to manage the aftershock. Then waits for another five minutes . bang!”

When doing his MBA in Newcastle, England, in 2001, he befriended Rick Jagdale, Amrut’s founder’s grandson; for his marketing thesis, Jagdale took speciallymade single malt from the distilleries around England and found that people would eagerly sip the drink. In 2004, with Chokalingam’s help, he launched Amrut’s single malt brand -in Glasgow, Scotland, of all places.

“It was a questionable start,” Chokalingam acknowledges. People told him “it was like selling oil to Arabs or coal to Newcastle.”

The first few years were difficult. Amrut’s country of origin raised eyebrows, and its packaging -a cardboard canister with a picture of the Himalayas in the middle, surmounted by intertwined barley leaves -didn’t appeal to diehards. Undaunted, Jagdale “beefed up” his whisky to 46%, encased it in a classier tin cylinder, and relegated the mountains to the background; he also began marrying peated barley from Scotland with Indian malt to make Fusion -a brand with an upwardly mobile name. Its initial vanilla sweetness gives way to a smoky punch, with a lingering spiceness resulting, Chokalingam says, from cask maturation in a tropical climate.

Warming to his subject, Chokalingam enthuses: “In almost all the blind tastings, people say, ‘Where is it from? Islay?’ Then you show the bottle: ‘Woah!’ People often put it between 15 and 18 years old because of how the whisky has matured. When you say, ‘This is a five-year-old,’ they go nuts!”

Soon, critics’ accolades began to pour in; last year, after Jim Murray wrote that Fusion “just made my hairs stand on end” (in a good way, presumably), demand soared, and Amrut exported aggressively. Even the LCBO, often reluctant to take in new, innovative products, has listed three of Amrut’s whiskies for 2011, and an “intermediate sherry matured” whisky (aged in bourbon, then sherry, then bourbon again), is under consideration. And for the first time last year, Amrut began selling within India. It’s available only in Bangalore -that is, when supply meets demand. Although the whisky is made quickly, the evaporation rate, or “angel’s share,” is a whopping 12-16% per year, as compared to 2-3% in Scotland.

“God has gifted Scotland with unique beauty and nature,” Chokalingam says, “and we can produce [whisky] in five years, but at the expense of losing much more.”

Currently, they’re planning a visitors’ centre for the tourists who’ve begun making the pilgrimage to their plant, which sits in an industrial area off a highway. “Our distillery is a wee bit unique,” he offers. “We have our own coconut plantation, and often you can see some monkeys as well. This is something you can’t find in Speyside.”