Tag Archives: Indian whisky

India….. Chapter Three – Queen of the Hills


Thursday 3rd September

After a wonderful night in the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel , we were picked up by Pramod and Prakash to head South to the Hills !

There was some stunning scenery on the drive south , loads of paddy fields , Banana and Coconut plantations but nothing compared with what awaited us as we approached the Border between the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu States  . We were about to pass through Two National Parks , The Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park in Tamil Nadu . 

(Click on Photos to see Full Size)



We didn’t get to see any Tigers but we did get to see Spotted Deer , Mongoose , Hanuman Langur Monkeys , Bonnet Macaque Monkeys and Indian Elephants.

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We managed to get up close to a 2yo Baby Elephant at the Elephant Sanctuary…..  

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Pramod after receiving a trunk call !

This Baby Elephant…..


Was chasing these Wild boars……


I have to say it was a fantastic drive through both Parks !

Interesting fact – from 9pm to 6am they actually shut the road for the benefit of the animals .

Just after exiting the parks we stopped for a Coffee at a branch of the Cafe Coffee Shop chain , where we had a refreshing ice cold Coffee shake , Melanie was slightly distracted by a load of donkeys on the ajoining plot ! 

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There was also a herd of goats wandering around on the other side of the road


We resumed our journey upwards ,  anyone who has done the climb up Bealach Na Ba would appreciate the climb up to Ooty , to get up to the 7,350 feet above Sea Level you have to negotiate 36 Hairpin bends ! Scary and exciting at the same time !!!

India-0525Facts about Ooty……

  • Full name – Udhagamandalam
  • Capital of the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu
  • Population 88,430
  • Known as “The Queen of the Hill Stations” , it was where the British Governor of Madras and his Officials ‘retired’ to in the heat of the Summer

The Temperature was a lot cooler than down in Bengaluru , a bit like a very pleasant British Summer , after a slight drive through the town we arrived at our accomodation , The Amrut Distillery Guest House on the shores of Ooty Lake . After meeting the Housekeeper Purshotham and his Wife/Cook/’Aunty’ Valli Margreat , settling down in our room and having a stunning Chicken Curry for lunch we went along the road to the Deer Park on the Lake .

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We returned to the house to have one of the first of a many of outstanding Biryanis , tonights was Chicken , i have to say it is one of the best one’s i’ve ever had . After a few drinks we retired to bed…..

Friday 4th September

Today was sightseeing around the Ooty area , first off was a visit to Doddabetta , the highest peak in the Nilgiri Hills at 8,652 feet above Sea Level , when we first arrived it was quite cloudy but cleared a bit after a while , it was a very busy place , lots of vendors on the way up to the top from the Car Park . India-0535

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Prakash and Purshotham at the Summit



On the way back down to Ooty we stopped at the Doddabetta Tea Factory , it was an interesting little tour of the factory


View from the Factory

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There were some stunning views across Ooty from the factory , we came away with some tins of Tea and it is totally different to your normal brews . We headed back to the house for lunch , a lovely spicy Chicken noodles this time . After lunch our first port of call was the Government Botanical Gardens , this was the first place we noticed there was a charge for taking a camera in , very strange ! I think it’s best just to let the pictures do the talking as it was such a beautiful place…..

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These were as good as any Gardens we’ve seen anywhere , the staff obviously love their job the way they look after the place .

For our last place of visit today we headed to the lake next to the house . We did the boat cruise of the lake and the Train Ride .

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We returned to the house to sit out in the evening sunshine…..

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One of the local residents……



Tonights delight from ‘Aunty’ was a fabulously delightful Mutton Biryani , a superb way to end the night…..


To be continued…….

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….. 

New Releases – Greedy Angels 10yo and Naarangi


A Couple of Fantastic new releases from the Amrut Stable……

Greedy Angels Press Release

Amrut Indian Single Malt launches the collectible ‘Greedy Angels’ across the world

Amrut Distilleries, India, known for their popular range of Single Malt whiskies which include Amrut Fusion, Amrut Portonova & Amrut Peated have launched 320 bottles of ‘Greedy Angels – Chairman’s Reserve’10 years old. This whisky is the first 10 YO single malts to be produced from India and are priced at circa 500 Euros.
March 31, Bangalore, India.

Amrut Distilleries Ltd., Bangalore is a boutique distillery known for their award winning single malt whiskies. Amrut recently concluded 10 years of presence in the international markets and have launched the Amrut Greedy Angels Single Malt Whisky – 10 years old to commemorate this occasion.The distillery had launched their malts in 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland by N.R. Jagdale, the Managing Director through his son Rakshit & his friend Ashok and now the malts bear unmistakable shelf presence across 40 countries. 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 from brands across the world. Amrut is also the only Indian whisky to feature in Ian Buxton’s ‘101 whiskies to have before you die’.

Their latest and most expensive whisky so far, the ‘Greedy Angels – Chairman’s Reserve 10 years old’ is the first 10 year old single malt to ever come out of India and is also India’s most expensive whisky so far. Given the high temperatures and humidity in India the loss of whisky during maturation is close to 10-12% in comparison to Scotland’s 1-2%. This makes ageing of these malts a very tricky affair and the quantity left for bottling quite meagre compared to what was started off with. A total of 320 bottles of these exquisite bottles are available with 284 bottles sailing to Europe & 36 to the United States of America. The specially designed package consists of a 700/750 ml crystal decanter bottled at 46% ABV and a 50 ml miniature decanter bottled at full cask strength of 71% ABV.

Industry Observers note that almost all of the bottles have been pre-sold or reserved and most of the units will end up as collectibles in shelves of aficionados. “The profile can be compared to some of the very old & rare Scottish single malts”, notes Ashok Chokalingam, GM – International Markets (Amrut), you will spot a lot of tropical fruits, orangy citrus & a lingering finish”. Consumers will have to wait for quite some time before the next batch is released”, Ashok adds. “We are not sure when the next release of this ten years old malt from the Amrut stable will emanate as keeping the balance profile of the whisky is questionable given the conditions under which it matures”.

I’ve had a try of this , both the 46% and 71% and these were my notes…..

10yo Greedy Angels 46%

 Light Orange Marmalade in colour , very relaxed on the nose , the usual Amrut traits are there , liquorice , spices , Millionaires shortbread but well laid back ! It is silky smooth across the palate but incredibly spicy , wow really spicy ! It really hits you at the back of the mouth , the finish is long and again spicy , it just goes on and on and on……

 It tastes like an old , well aged malt to start with ends up like young spicy beast , Brilliant ! 

 10yo Greedy Angels 71%

Whereas the 46% is so laid back it’s horizontal , this is a smack across the nose with a large malt shovel ! Everything is more intense , it’s all in there as stated in the 46% just more condensed ! Highly drinkable at the high ABV and thoroughly enjoyable , It’s great to see an ‘aged’ Amrut just a shame about the maturation losses .

Amrut Naarangi Press Release

Amrut Naarangi: World’s first single malt whisky with Orange

Amrut Distilleries, India, known for their popular range of Single Malt whiskies, which include Amrut Fusion, Amrut Portonova & Amrut Peated, have launched Amrut Naarangi, the first ever whisky in the world with Orange notes.


March 31, Bangalore, India.

Amrut Distilleries, based in Bangalore, India is a boutique distillery known for their award winning single malt whiskies. Amrut recently concluded 10 years of presence in the international markets and have launched the Amrut Naarangi Single Malt Whisky. The distillery had launched their malts in 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland by N.R. Jagdale, the Managing Director through his son Rakshit & his friend Ashok and now bears unmistakable shelf presence across 40 countries. 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 from brands across the world. 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 ‘Naarangi’ derives its name from the Hindi word, Naarangi which means Orange. It is the only single malt whisky ever produced in the world to have expressions of Orange, which brings forth a new level of experimentation to the malt world. EU regulations for malt whiskies state that adding anything to a whisky disqualifies it from being called a whisky, however, Amrut who had been contemplating adding Orange notes to whisky have developed a novel solution to create Naarangi which meets all EU guidelines. To produce this whisky, Amrut procured Olorosso Sherry from Spain and matured wine along with Orange peel in it for a period of three years. The oranges for this were sourced from the tourist haven, Madikeri located in the picturesque Western Ghats of India. The wine and orange peel concoction was let to mature for 3 years in Bangalore, lending the barrel a unique Orange essence. The wine and peels were then spilled and the barrels were filled with 3-­‐year-­‐old matured single malt whisky and allowed to mature for 3 more years. In this period the barrels have lent the Orange characteristics to the  whisky  creating  pioneering single  malt.

“The whisky is not dominated by the Orange but remarkably  balanced  out”, notes Ashok Chokalingam, GM -­‐ International Markets, Amrut. “The finish is of subtle orange notes while in the middle ground you can find the traditional Amrut signature.” 900 bottles have been shipped in the first release to Europe, Asia Pacific and Canada with all bottles at 50% ABV. Reviewers and connoisseurs are waiting keenly to get their hands on this whisky. Single malt whiskies, which were for long the domain of the Scots, are now seeing increasing innovative work from boutique brands such as Amrut amongst others.

My Notes…..

Naarangi (Hindu for Orange?)

 A beautiful Golden Syrup colour , Incredibly fruity on the nose initially , Pineapple , melon , banana and orange . Then a lovely chocolate and shortbread note . Interestingly there is very little , if none , of the usual Amrut signature liquorice until it stands for a while . An intriguing and very complex nose ! The palate carries on with the fruitiness , Orange is very prominent here , there’s a slightly bigger hint of the Liquorice on the palate along with spices (cloves amongst others ) . The finish is long and spicy but it is really smooth . I would say that this is the smoothest Amrut to date and a bit different to previous releases ,  yet another quality spirit but I wouldn’t expect anything else ! 

Once more into the Drammers Den….


After the disappointing end to 2014 and start of 2015 of having to cancel out trip to Islay , the 2015 Whisky Festival Season is nearly upon us . Once again Melanie and Myself shall be representing Amrut on behalf of Ashok at a few festivals over the coming months , the first being our home town festival , The Newcastle Whisky Festival 2015 , on the 7th March at the Civic Centre Banqueting Hall . Further Dates will be posted when confirmed……

It looks like being an exciting year on the Amrut front , We’re certainly looking forward to kicking it off in Newcastle at Eddies Whisky Lounge festival and meeting fellow Amrut Fans !

Details of the Newcastle Festival can be found at  http://www.thewhiskylounge.com/event/newcastle-whisky-festival-2015/

Life on the Other side of the Table – Blue Moon…… Pt.4


Our Fourth  and final festival of the year took us to Manchester , The venue was the Bridgewater Hall in the Centre of town , quite a modern venue and the area was quite spacious . By now we were getting the hang of setting up the table…..

(Click on the photos to see full size)

Amrut table

We had the same offerings as the previous festivals ( Amrut 46% , Amrut Cask Strength , Amrut Peated 46% , Fusion and Intermediate Sherry Matured along with the two token drams , Single Cask Bourbon and Peated Port Pipe) .

Our Location in the Hall .

Our Location in the Hall .

This was to be the busiest festival of the four , 750 punters expected through the door !


The Gorgeous Melanie waiting for the Hordes……

Once again the day flew over and once again there were lots of new people to introduce to the delights of India’s finest Single Malt Whisky and i have to say most were quite impressed and very surprised by the quality of the product ! By the end of the day i think the ISM had just pipped the Fusion for the most popular Amrut .

Other Whiskies were available…….

The 2nd best Table at the Show , after ours..... the Berry Bros stall manned by my friend Rob Whitehead , all round good guy and purveyor of Fine Drams !

The 2nd best Table at the Show , after ours….. the Berry Bros stall manned by my good friend Rob Whitehead , all round good guy and purveyor of Fine Drams !

So that’s it for this year , Hopefully we’ve done a good job for Amut over these Festivals , we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had a great time , Cheers for now !

Life on the Other side of the table – Under Starters Orders…… Pt.3


So after Liverpool , we headed off to York for the Yorkshire Whisky Festival , the Venue was the Race Course……


Under Starters Orders

A rather nice setting in the stand to the right , we arrived at about 11am and set up at our allotted table 


 Melanie ready for the off…..

Once again we had the Amrut 46% , Amrut Cask Strength , Amrut Peated 46% , the Fusion and the Intermediate Sherry . The White dram was the Single Cask Bourbon and the Black dram was the Single Cask Peated Port Pipe .

The Calm before the storm 

Once again the Fusion and Sherry provided to be very popular , We had a great day at the Races , the crowd were fantastic and the venue superb , light , airy and plenty of space , plenty of places for the punters to sit down with a dram including a nice terrace at the front and the stand at the front looking across the course . Many thanks for all the kind words and the great craic !