Tag Archives: Indian Single Malt Whisky

Amrut Spectrum


Amrut have a new release on the way , named the Spectrum (not to be confused with the recent Bond film Spectre…..)

ForWeb_ImageOnly_RGB_72dpiAmrut releases world’s first ever multi-wood barrel Single Malt Whisky – Amrut Spectrum ®
Amrut Distilleries, Bangalore known the world over for their popular single malts such as the
Fusion, Naarangi, Herald and Greedy Angels have launched the Amrut Spectrum ® single
malt, the first ever whisky in the world to be produced in a custom barrel made with not one,
but five different types of Oak. This whisky is expected to be at the forefront of innovation in
the world of whisky and has anticipations running high amongst the whisky pros.
Malmo, Sweden.
Amrut Distilleries, based in Bangalore, India is a boutique distillery known for their award
winning single malt whiskies. Amrut recently concluded 10 years after the launch of their
malts in 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland by N.R. Jagdale, the Managing Director through his son
Rakshit & his friend Ashok. The brand peaked in the limelight in 2010 when acclaimed
whisky writer, Jim Murray rated the Amrut Fusion with 97/100 points voting it the ‘3rd finest
whisky in the world’ putting behind over 4000 whiskies. Amrut is also the only Indian whisky
to feature in Ian Buxton’s ‘101 whiskies to have before you die’.
The latest offering from Amrut – the Spectrum, is expected to put Amrut on top of the
game, yet again. To make this whisky, malts were initially matured for a period of 3 years in
ex-Bourbon barrels after which they were transferred to a custom built barrel. This barrel was
constructed at an undisclosed location in Europe with the help of a few experts. Whisky is
traditionally aged in a barrel made of one type of wood, which lends the flavor and
complexities to the malt, however, Amrut wanted to experiment with a barrel with five
different types of wood. This however presented a challenge, as each wood stave had
different thickness and properties.
The problem was addressed in Europe with an indigenous solution; five different barrels
were made, each of a different type of wood, and corresponding staves removed to be
stitched together in one barrel. The barrel therefore consisted of a mix of new American
Oak, new French Oak, new Spanish Oak, ex-PX cask sherry cask stave & ex-Olorosso sherry
cask stave. The five different woods, some old, some new, were expected to unleash a level
of complexity on the malt unlike ever before in the centuries of whisky making.

Testing the malt:
Once the malt had aged in these new casks for a period of three and a half years and
bottled, Amrut decided to take another bold stand by not releasing the tasting notes
themselves and let the consumers decide. So off went Ashok Chokalingam, Senior GM,
International Operations, to Malmo, Sweden for a tasting session at the leading whisky club:

Biskopen Gustavs Maltklubb. The session was also attended by Ingvar Ronde, the author of
Malt Whisky Year Book, Sweden and he along with the 40 other people in attendance were
absolutely amazed. To quote Ingvar after the tasting, “One of the most innovative whiskies
I´ve tried in a long time and one of the best this year. With three years in ex bourbon barrels
and another three and half years in casks made of – wait for it – new American oak, new
French oak, new Spanish oak, ex PX sherry cask stave and ex Oloroso sherry cask stave.
That´s right, five different types of oak in one cask. I can´t remember when I last experienced
such a complexity of flavours in one whisky and at the same time, everything was in balance.
I got coffee, chocolate, tobacco, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, orange preserve,
sandalwood, walnuts, pecans, stracciatella and cocoa. This is pushing boundaries and whisky
making at its best and I love it!”
Says Ashok after the tasting, “It is the most exciting time at the distillery. As a team we have
stitched this together and yet another time pushed the boundaries of innovation in whisky
making. Perhaps for the first time, we have asked a whisky club to give a go on Official
Tasting Notes. In a way I am happy with that as I am dealing with perhaps the most
knowledgeable consumer group in the world on single malt whiskies. This is another
approach from Amrut to show the inclusiveness of the high end and knowledgeable
consumers to be part of our business. My sincere thanks to the people of Biskopen Gustavs
Maltklubb for their contribution”
A limited release of 1000 bottles priced at £100/ bottle @ 50% abv, these malts will soon be
available with select retailers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Canada.
About Amrut Single Malt
Amrut Single Malt was launched in 2004 as an experiment by Amrut Distilleries, a Bangalore
based conglomerate that started operations in 1948. Amrut was the first ever-Indian single
malt and was launched in Glasgow, right in the heart of Scotland. The whiskies were
received well across the world owing to their quality and have grown aggressively. Amrut
now bottles around 18 expressions of single malts, which are sold in 40 countries and
Tasting Notes from Biskopen Gustavs Maltklubb
On the Nose: raisins, rum, nougat, figs, oranges, tiramisu, cocoa, caramel, coffee, dried fruit,
burnt rubber
On the Palate: sherry, rum, butterscotch, chocolate, prunes, molasses, pecans, walnuts,
almonds, English wine gum
To the Finish: caramelized almonds, old cognac, apricots, Brazil nuts



Amrut Raj igala


I’d spied this bottle on the Le Maison Du Whisky Site a while ago , recently it won a few awards so i decided to pull the trigger on it and see what it was like , at 38 Euros (about £28) it wasn’t exactly a wallet buster . This bottling is available in France (LMdW and supermarkets) and in the Far East .


Raj igala is bottled at 40% and chill filtered , the name means ‘King of the Eagles’ , the spirit is made from Indian Barley grown at the foot of the Himalayas . Golden Syrup colour in the glass and quite oily , nice legs for 40% ! Lovely nose , first thing that hit me was Millionaires shortbread , then the Amrut Liqourice mixed in with a lovely bit of exotic fruit , lots of pineapple . No let down on the palate with the lower ABV , again liqourice mixed in with a fruit salad ! Smooth across the mouthfeel with a bit of spices and pepper . The finish is quite short with a lovely warming pepper and a touch of fruit .

The quality is still there , it doesn’t disappoint , big thumbs up from me , probably a lot of people would say it’s a step backwards going down the 40% / Chill Filtered route , at least it doesn’t taste like it is ! So how does it compare to the original 40%er and the current 46%er ?

amrut40  The nose has more of the liqourice than the Raj igala , it seems to have a bit of smoke as well ! There’s a bit of digestive biscuit . On the palate it’s not as smooth , lots of spices , in particular cloves , the Amrut liqourice is there but not prominent . The finish is longer with spices , chocolate and it’s actually quite chewy .

Not a bad dram , i actually prefer the Raj igala , it’s a more relaxed and enjoyable dram and i love the exotic fruit in it . 

 The ‘Classic’ Amrut , 46% and unchilled filtered , The fruit is there on the nose , then the shortbread / caramel / chocolate (AKA Millionaires Shortbread) , love the pineapples , bananas and mangos . Eventually the liqourice appears…. The palate has a bit more of a body to it than the 2 40%ers , the liqourice is more prominent than on the nose , lots of pepper and spices (especially cloves) , The finish is longer than the previous 2 , Shortbread , chocolate , spices galore .

A great dram with a greater kicker at 46% !


Yorkshire Whisky Festival 2015


This was the 3rd of 4 Whisky festivals this year where we were representing Amrut Distilleries . Once again The Whisky Lounge Yorkshire Whisky Festival was at York Racecourse on Saturday 12th September , an ideal venue for such an event . We had the usual drams available ( Classic 46% / Classic Cask Strength / Fusion / Peated 46% / Peated Cask Strength) . Once again our drams went down well and we got lots of good feedback from the public , some even went as far as purchasing a bottle from the event shop !


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Next up is the Manchester Whisky Lounge Festival……

India….. Chapter Four – Returning back North


Saturday 5th September

Our Final day in Ooty , after breakfast we headed South-West from Ooty through some absolutely stunning scenery and small villages , the hills were covered in fields of cabbages , carrots and potatoes and plantation after plantation of tea . Again along the roadside there were an abundance of temples , all beautifully decorated .

(Click on Photos to see full size)

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For this trip Pramod had stayed at the house so Purshotham and Prakash accompanied us this time along with Antony who looked after security at the house . The reason we came down here was to see two of the dam systems in the area , The Avalanche Dam and the Emerald Dam , i didn’t get any photos at the first one but got some at the Emerald…..


The Emerald Dam


View from the Dam


The Dam from the nearby town

The were pretty impressive pieces of engineering !


The Emerald Lake from the main road

We really enjoyed our drive around this area , it was really beautiful , the thing that amazed me was the farming , most of it on steep hills and all labour intensive , the amount grown was mind blowing . Seeing the Tea Plantations was breath-taking as well , makes you appreciate your morning brew even more ! We returned to Ooty for our lunch , a lovely vegetable noodle dish .

After lunch and a sit in the sun , we were taken to another garden not far away from the house , this one slightly different in that it was owned by the neighbouring state of Karnataka  , The Fern Hill Gardens also have accomodation for tourists , these gardens were once part of the Maharaja of Mysores Fern Hill Palace , A portion of the land owned by the Maharaja was gifted to the Government of Karnataka and it is now run by the The Karnataka Horticulture Department.


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The Topiaries were fantastic and are ajudged to be the best in the region . It was a very pleasant way to spend the last afternoon in Ooty . After a drive around and one last photo stop……


We headed back to the house where Pramod informed us as it was our last night we would have a camp fire ! Only the Camp fire had other ideas…… After much attention by Pramod , Purshotham and Antony the fire did take off though a few rain shower did try to put their good work out , after much merriment and a few bottles of Kingfisher we retired inside for a lovely final meal by Valli Margreat . As well as being one of lifes great Characters She does cook a pretty Mean Curry ! 


‘Aunty’ Valli Margreat and Purshotham

We retired to bed for an early start (6am !) next Morning for our drive back to Bengaluru……

Sunday 6th September

6am on a Sunday Morning at home usually means no public transport , maybe some leftovers from the Saturday night out wandering the streets…… In Ooty it means Buses all over the place , lorries , loads of people , basically a normal day ! There was a bit of low cloud when we bid our farewells to the house and set off down the hill .


We returned the same way we came , down the hairpins and through the National Parks , we caught a glimpse of one of the Elephants being washed at the reserve……..


And there were Monkeys Galore ! 

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On our way back through Mysore we had breakfast in the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel . It was a lovely drive back to Bengaluru in the bright sunhine . After dropping Pramod off at his home , Prakash dropped us off at the Ibis where we would spend our last day in India . We freshened up , had a bite to eat in the restaurant and hit the bar where we found an unusual addition…..


The observant amongst you will have noticed that Fusion is bottled at 46% in India , this is due to local Government laws , infact most whisky in India is rarely bottled at higher that 42.8% due to State laws .

After an Amrut Nightcap it was time for bed…….

Monday 7th September

Our last day Bengaluru and India ! We awoke earlyish to a phonecall from Pramod saying that Rick (Jagdale) would be calling in to see us and oh , by the way there will be an interview with an Indian Newspaper later in the morning…… OMG ! So after a shower and some breakfast we met up with Rick in The Hub for a catch up , i hadn’t seen Rick since last October when he paid a flying visit to Newcastle (Rick was at Newcastle University with Ashok ) , Pramod arrived and for a meeting we also got to meet the lovely Malavika Pai who is better known as @AmrutMalt on Twitter . She told us i would be doing an interview over the phone with  Suruchi Kapur who writes for the Deccan Chronicle . Just after Rick went off for a meeting , Ashok arrived ( felt like Amrut Grand Central !) and we got to chat a bit before the phonecall came through….. Though this wasn’t my first telephone interview with a Journalist it was definitely nerve wrecking ! It seemed to go on for ages (probably only lasted about 20 mins…..) , she caught me out with a couple of questions but hopefully i did alright , will have to wait and see ! After a bit more of a natter everyone started departing but not before a few photos……


We bid farewell to Ashok and had some lunch before returning to our room to do the final packing and getting picked up by Prakash to get taken to the Airport .

The drive out was just as manic as all the other drives around Bengaluru , we really miss all the beep-beeps…..

The security at the Airport entrance is certainly strict (as is the security at all the hotels after the attacks a few years ago ) but once in the lounges Bengaluru is one pretty relaxed Airport , we found a nice bar not far away from our gate to relax with a few drinks and watch the lightning storm pass by ! At 20.45 we departed India…….

With Time differences it would be after 11pm when we arrived at Dubai , it was going to be a long night as our flight back to Newcastle didn’t depart till 7.25am . Now a lot of people rave about Dubai Airport , yup if you want to spend a fortune it’s good but i will say one thing , for comfortableness Toronto Pearson can’t be beat ! (yes Paul i mean it!)

We arrived home in Newcastle just before Midday on the  8th , our Indian Adventure over ! 

We would like to thank all at Amrut for their hospitality and generosity on this trip .

Surrinder for such a great tour of the distillery and his infectous enthusiasm ! 

Pramod for being the perfect guide around his country.

Prakash for driving us everywhere .

Purshotham and ‘Aunty’ Valli Margreat for their hospitality and cooking at Ooty .

And finally Ashok for…. well being Ashok and looking after us and being a very good Friend ! Cheers Marra !!!


Finally uploaded Melanies Holiday Photos…..

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You can view them all at Melanies Flickr Account

Life on the Other Side of the Table – The Whisky Solstice


Another Whisky Lounge Festival , another City !

A new one for us , Edinburgh , a new type of venue , a tent ! This one was taking place in The Queen Street Gardens opposite the SMWS venue . 

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The calm before the storm…… 

It turned out to be quite a nice day weather wise , sunny but not too hot , once again we had 5 Amruts on the table…….

  • Amrut Single Malt 46%
  • Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength
  • Amrut Fusion
  • Amrut Single Malt Peated 46%
  • Amrut Single Malt Peated Cask Strength 
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We had a lot of visitors to the table , New partakers of the fine , Original Indian Single Malt Whisky and Old friends , we had lots of excellent feed back about the malts on offer and we thoroughly enjoyed our day in ‘Auld Reekie’ . The show was well attended by both exhibitors and customers , We weren’t the only one’s enjoying ourselves , everyone we talked to enjoyed the show , the venue seemed to go down a storm ! As ever it was a pleasure to represent the Distillery and spread the word on it’s fine products .

Our next festival adventure is a return to York , after a slight little diversion to Bangalore……. 

It’s been a long time since we Rock ‘n’ Rolled!


So said Led Zeppelin Many Moons ago , and it seems just as long ago we had a new batch of Amrut Peated Cask Strength in the UK ! Ok maybe not as long…… but was it 2009 ? While doing the Whisky Solstice show in Edinburgh i was very surprised to see the batch we had was a brand new one ( No.20) bottled in February of this very year .

Amrut Peated CS


Golden Syrup in colour and at the standard abv for the Peated CS of 62.8% , the nose is extremely complex , very malty with lots of smoke , a touch of Fishermans Friend , Mint , Chocolate , Caramel , Digestive Biscuits and the old Amrut Liquorice . For the strength it’s not at all harsh on the old nasal hairs ! The Strength tells on the palate but it is still extremely drinkable at full strength , it seems more medicinal than previously tried batches , again we have chocolate and liquorice with a colossally long finish of Mint Humbugs and lemon throat lozenges .  

With a touch of water  , it calms the beast down a touch , it seems to heighten the medicinalness , bringing forward the lemon but not killing anything at all .

I would  certainly put this up against any peated Islay , I thoroughly enjoyed previous batches but this one seems to have raised the bar (both the figurative and drinking one…..) . My good friend over on Twitter @AmrutMalt likes to listen to his music while enjoying a dram , definitely on the heavy Zep side this one , The aforementioned ‘Rock and Roll’ or even Kashmir….. 

Amrut Naarangi


This is the latest Amrut release , Naarangi is Hindi for Orange , to recap how the distillery produced this expression…..

They took some Oloroso sherry and put it in barrels along with Peel from Oranges from Madikeri located in the picturesque Western Ghats of India , they left this for 3 years to mature in the warehouses in Bangalore . The Sherry/Peel were then discarded and the barrels filled with 3yo Amrut Single Malt Whisky and left for a further 3 years for the spirit to absorb the Orange characteristics . Giving us the Naarangi !


Bottled at 50% , it has a beautiful Orange Marmalade going on light Amber colour , The Orange plays a big part in the initial nose , then more fruit appears – pineapple , banana and melon . There is very little of the Amrut ‘liquorice’ but there is the usual chocolate and shortbread . After a while the nose develops into an amazing Orange Millionaires Shortbread , Amazing ! The palate carries on the fruitiness , particularly the orange , but there is more of the traditional Amruts flavours here , notably the liquorice . There is a lovely spiciness to the palate , the finish is long smooth and spicy .

Probably the most relaxed Amrut ever , a pretty amazing dram keeping up the excellent reputation of this distilleries outturn !