About the Distillery
This month takes us to exotic India. Yes, that’s not a typo – India! Possibly the last place one thinks of when pondering malts I suppose. Up until recently, anyway. The bursting onto the world market of Amrut’s Fusion expression in 2009 certainly put India well and truly onto the ‘world whisky map’. We’ve wanted to feature Amrut Fusion ever since [finally] trying it in 2010, however the almost cult status of the Amrut Fusion has seen us only ever able to get a case here or there – never enough to feature it as a malt of the month. Until now that is!
The Amrut Distillery has been led by successive generations of the Jagdale family since it’s foundation in 1948. Situated in Bangalore, Amrut has produced gin, rum, vodka and brandy, as well as supplying alcohol to industry and the military.
Although a well established – and huge with over 1000 employees – distillery, Amrut is a relative newcomer to the world of single malt whisky. It’s first expression launched in 2004 to a skeptical audience in Glasgow, Scotland. 5 years later, Jim Murray proclaimed the Amrut Fusion expression the third best whisky in the world and scored it 97/100. Amrut Fusion has since gone on to win accolades over progressive years proving that first bottling was not a fluke.
So how the rapid development you may ask? Well apart from the knowledge and skill of the people developing the whisky, the Indian climate has a lot to do with it. Whisky matures much faster in the Indian climate than it does in Scotland. The temperature and humidity being the main factors in this difference. In fact, whisky matures four to five time faster in this climate than in Scotland. An interesting fact illustrating the difference in the aging process is the difference in Angel Share between India (10-15% loss per year) and Scotland (2% loss per year). This ‘rapid aging environment’ allows the distillers to experiment and hone their craft far quicker than in a ‘traditional’ climate.
Amrut Fusion - Our Thoughts
Amrut Fusion gets it’s name from the fact that the barley used in it’s production is 50% Scottish, and 50% Indian. It is bottled at 50% ABV and is not chill filtered, nor is any caramel added for colour.
This whisky starts off with a mild elegant aroma with hints of smoky peat. The first taste is like maple syrup on bacon, with intense rich spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Barbecued steak and slightly burnt toast flavours follow, with the finish dry and smoky.
Distiller's Tasting Notes
Colour: Golden Yellow
Nose: Heavy, thickly oaked and complex: some curious barley-sugar notes here shrouded in soft smoke. Big, but seductively gentle, too
Palate: The delivery, though controlled at first, is massive! Then more like con-fusion as that smoke on the nose turns into warming, full blown peat, but it far from gets its own way as a vague sherry trifle note (curious, seeing how there are no sherry butts involved) – the custard presumably is oaky vanilla – hammers home that barley – fruitiness to make for a bit of a free-for-all; but for extra food measure the flavours develop into a really intense chocolate fudge middle which absolutely resonates through the palate
Finish: A slight struggle here as the mouthfeel gets a bit puffy here with the dry peat and oak; enough molassed sweetness to see the malt through to a satisfying end, though. Above all the spices, rather than lying down and accepting their fate, rise up and usher this extraordinary whisky to its exit