Whisky is big in India and in Indian culture, perhaps to an unhealthy extent. If you have been, or ever go to India, you will notice that blended whisky is very popular and you will see familiar brands such as VAT 69, Black & White and William Lawson (not widely available in my part of the UK). There are local brands such as Royal Challenge (owned by Diageo) which is a blend of grain, single malt and molasses – which I would imagine is the main component of this blend. It is important to bear in mind that this is labelled as an Indian blended whisky and not a Scotch blend, so molasses are allowed. I am not familiar with the regulation around Indian whisky but I wouldn’t expect it to be as tight as the Scotch Whisky Association. Amrut Fusion is an award winning Indian single malt whisky, again I am not sure about the regulation relating to single malts in India but this is made from 75% unpeated Indian barley and 25% peated Scottish barley. The Indian and Scottish barley are distilled separately and aged for 4 years then mixed together and aged for 3 more months. If you have read my article on how whisky is made then you will know that there are a lot of factors that come into play during maturation, one of which is climate. Amrut is about 4 years old I believe but due to the hot climate the ageing process you would expect the flavours from the barrel to impart quicker than in cooler climates. This should be interesting.
Whisky: Amrut Fusion Indian Single Malt Whisky, 50% vol.
Nose: Musky, tropical fruits, vanilla, cinnamon, butterscotch, cherry, smoke and oak
Taste: Cinnamon, raisins, iced bun, cloves, brown sugar, fruit salad, sea salt, oak
Finish: Medium, tropical fruit and smoke
Summary: Well that was an experience. The moment I opened this bottle and smelt the aromas I knew this was going to be completely different to what I have tried before and so it proved. On the nose the array of flavours take you all over the place, from tropical fruits to spice to coastal smoke. This follows through onto the taste too with that coastal smoke influence coming more into play and some of the oak too. Fortunately the finish follows on from the promise that is shown on the nose and in taste and that mix of tropical fruit and smoke lingers. I found that a drop or two of water opens up the flavours somewhat. At first I was finding it all a bit too complex as my senses were being hit by a flurry of different aromas and flavours. A bit of water and some time helped soften the strong characteristics which helped me assess this whisky. I find it difficult to summarise this one as it is quite unique, there are Scotch single malts that you would associate with the richer fruit and smoke flavour combination such as Bowmore, but I have not experienced these characteristics being delivered with so much balance. This was an important single malt for whisky industry in India as it really put India on the map as a serious single malt producer and I have heard good things about Paul John and Rampur whiskies. I will be keeping a look out.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com