Featured at World Whisky Day 2015: Amrut has a special place in our collective memory. The first time we tasted the standard offering before we’d even begun our collective exploration, the results were…memorable. And horrific. Fast forward two years of developing our palates and, while perhaps still not our first choice at the bar, we can better appreciate what the distillery is trying to do. The history of whisky in India is a proud and interesting one. Amrut started over 65 years ago; a large company, only a small percentage of its revenue is from whisky. While most Indian distilleries serve their domestic tastes, Amrut is focused primarily on foreign markets. Their single malt line has only been available for the past decade or so, and this heralded Fusion combines barley from India with barley from Scotland, which has been peat smoked.
Maturation: Oak barrels
Nose: Bubblegum, fried banana, paint, oak, molasses
Palate: Grain, ginger, molasses, caramel, peach, oak, green pepper
Finish: Burnt sugar, oak, coriander
Comments: For all that you might consider holy, do not add water!
Adam – They should call this Redemption. Let me be clear, this will never be a favorite, yet I am still happy to have encountered it. The aforementioned base offering from Amrut made such a statement to my undeveloped palate. Having a little more experience, I think it’s fascinating to imagine the climate and geography this whisky might feel at home in. I’ve even wondered about what foods might match well with it, which is something I rarely if ever consider. This whisky needs bold flavors, maybe with a little spice to enliven the mouth and serve to elevate the sweetness and fruit in the palate. Oddly enough, humidity and heat make this drink even more drinkable. Worthy of exploration, as long as you approach it with an open mind and remember it is neither Scotch nor trying to be. It’s probably unlike any other whisky you’ve encountered too. At the end of the day, however, this is an Amrut I can sip and appreciate it for what it attempts, which is far more than I could have said two and a half years ago when I first encountered the line.
Kate – Because I have a memory of the original Amrut, I’m automatically hesitant when approaching this one. Put that together with my dislike of bubblegum and banana and this is even more unpleasant. However, if I step back and try to be objective, I can say this is definitely better than the original Amrut. I’m still not sure I would take this drink at a bar, even if it were bought for me, however.
Meghan – I take full responsibility for bringing Amrut to World Whisky Day but I have no shame in it. It is a strange whisky — completely different from anything else we have tried (even other Amruts, somewhat). The banana aspect is impossible to ignore. In general, I am not a fan of banana flavors, thanks to a collegiate encounter with 99 Bananas, a 99-proof banana flavored Schnapps best described as an important learning experience. But, I do like the bananas in Runts candy and the Amrut Fusion has some of that flavor. This is a whisky for warm, muggy weather. Minnesota, like India, has these days so the Amrut has its moments. Another strangeness to this whisky is that it doesn’t seem as hot as it should for being at 50%. It is a definite plus though since adding water does very unpleasant things to your dram.
Henry – I was the victim of a cruel joke here, with a certain member of this esteemed company pouring me a blind dram of this whisky. At first, I thought it was from a sunnier corner of the Islands. Mild smoke and peat with a sweet honey/caramel undertone filled the nose, and peaty richness dominated the first taste. The 50% ABV surprised me – it was not at all hot, but with a satisfying warmth. Then things began to go wrong. The peat evaporated, reminding me of an overpeated Irish whiskey – think Connemara Peated or 17 Year – and the sweetness wilted to something akin to overripe tropical fruits. I did not add water – I’m just not that masochistic. Instead of ‘Fusion’, I’d call this one ‘Fission’, a bipolar experience with so much promise at the beginning and so much disappointment at the end. The finish is long and lingering; I wish it would quit already. I had to take another sip just to expunge the odd and unique aftertaste from my mouth. I think I’ll go brush my teeth.