It’s not often you get to go to a Launch of a New Whisky Expression and it’s even rarer that it happens this close to your home !
So last night we headed over to The Hilton Hotel for The Whisky Lounges Amrut Launch Dinner and Tasting , a pretty good place to have it i must say , we congregated in the “Windows on the Tyne” Bar . This Bar must have the best selection of malts south of the border along with the best views of the Bridges over the River Tyne . We were greeted by Eddie with a dram of the Standard Amrut (46%) , then “Mr Amrut” himself Ashik Chokalingam took us downstairs for the nights festivities . We were joined at the Tasting by Eric Winters from Gordon and Macphails (Amruts UK distributors) and Robin Winterschladen , the manager of the Wines and Spirit Department at Fenwicks’ Newcastle Store .
To get the Evening off Ashok showed us a short film about Amrut Distillery , showing us every aspect of the process in India from where the Crops grow to their warehousing , i think the biggest shock were the stills , never seen anything like them in Scotland . While enjoying the film we were given 3 spirit samples to try , New Make (62.5%) , a 1yo (62.5%) and a 2yo (62.6%) . I never know how to describe new make , all i ever get is fruit and malt or if peat…..peat . The 1yo had a fantastic nose , huge Vanilla and spices , very Amrut , in fact the noses on both the 1yo and 2yo were very similar , i could smell them for hours ! As i would have expected the palates of both were still very spirity but the 2yo was definitely getting there !
Ashok then took us through 6 Amrut expressions starting off with the Standard Amrut at 46% , Consisting of Malts aged 4 to 6 years ( as most of the Amruts seem to be ) from Ex-Bourbon Casks , it was Bright Gold in Colour , all the Amruts have a lovely bright livelyness to them all natural colours , the nose was Vanilla , oaky , coffee and a very clove spiciness to it . The palate was very similar but with a nice fruitiness to it . It had a medium finish and was spicy . It was a lovely smooth , easy drinking Dram and Mels favourite of the night .
Next up was the reason for our Gathering , the New Release , The “Double Cask” ! The two casks were 180 litres each when filled at 62.5% , the end result was a total of 159 litres at bottling and the ABV had went up to 69.8% ! The bottling was filled at 46% and the out turn was 306 bottles ( 42 destined for the UK ) , it seems the Angels in Bangalore are even more Happy than those in Scotland……..
Colour - A really nice sparkling Gold .
Nose - Incredibly complex nose , a lovely warm oakiness , Candied fruit (the type that go into Christmas cakes) , a hint of pepper and smoked meat . Also a hint of grass , liquorice , vanilla , if you keep putting it down and picking it up you get something different everytime . I’m almost reluctant to taste it as it’s got such a lovely nose , but i will !
Palate - Lovely velvet texture to the palate , Very orangie at first , peppery , spicy , really complex again , oak and vanilla come in at the end .
Finish - Long and Orangie with spicy oak .
Comments - A Fantastic Amrut , The oldest yet released (7yo plus) , Mel remarked how “Chewy ” it was on the finish , you just wanted to carry on chewing when it was gone ! She was right !
Ashok presented Gordon and Macphail with Bottle No.1 , The release date is April in the UK .
We then went onto taste 4 other Expressions……
The Standard Cask Strength – 61.9% , C Golden Syrup , N Highland Toffee , Creamy , very creamy after a while Green apples . P Very spicy , slight peatiness (though there’s none…) Liquorice . F Medium with a sharp Pepperiness . Another excellent dram , very smooth and to damn drinkable for a CS !
The Fusion – 50% , C Bright Gold , N Dark Chocolate , Vanilla and Fudge , P Peppery , peaty and Millionaires Shortbread . F Long and Spicy , peppery , smoky Bacon . Yet another great dram !
The Peated at 46% - C Bright Gold , N Oak and Vanilla mingle with a light peatiness , almost a slight hint of apples in the background , spiced apples ? P peat , smoke , vanilla and oak . A really nice mix of all ! F Quite long with a peaty spiciness to it . An orangie citrus drifts in from somewhere at the end…… A lovely peated dram. The level is 24ppm .
The Peated at 62.7% - C Golden Syrup N Smoked Barley , Kippers , a touch of peppermint , chocolate and Creamy Coffee , P Again Peppermint , Fishermans Friend , Chocolate Digestives , very thick and chewy across the palate , F A long finish , Strong Humbugs (mint) , liquorice , oak . Well what can you say ? 4 excellent Drams !
After all that whisky there was only one thing to do…….have a Curry !
We had an indian buffet consisting of a Chicken Curry , a Vegetable Curry , Pilau Rice , Naan Bread , Mini Poppadoms , Onion Bhajis and Samosas , washed down with a Cobra Beer ! Just what we needed ! There was also a Chocolate pudding available but Mel and Myself gave that a miss.
A fantastic night was had by all , Ashok as usual was highly informative about his products and highly entertaining , one thing that tickled us was the photo he had up at the end , it had the caption ” one thing you never see at a Speyside distillery” , it was a photo of a monkey in the Amrut Distillery Roof trusses , A rival for Shortie perhaps ? Once again thanks to Ashok and Eddie was arranging a special night !