Amrut Portonova Review

Amrut Portonova

62.1% abv

Score:  92/100


What the hell are they doing in Bangalore?  Really?  This whisky is simply stunning.  So good, in fact, I question whether there may be something dark and clandestine at work.  Something akin to that crossroads meet where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil.

Here we have another young(ish) Amrut (but fear not…they all are), strutting its coat of many colors, and once more…dazzling the senses of  everyone I know that has tried it.  Possibly none moreso than yours truly.

What I wouldn’t give to taste the Amrut New Make spirit.  The skeleton of this distillery’s whisky shows through in every expression they release.  That tells me that the spirit itself, irrespective of any cask/maturation influence, is where the heart of Amrut lies.  If anyone can get a bit of this newborn liquid into my hands, I will be infinitely grateful.

Now…at an average of six years (according to the international face of Amrut, Ashok Chokalingam, as mentioned on Scotchnoob), the Portonova is again smashing preconceptions in the ‘older is better’ debate.  This is mature sooooooo far beyond its years.  Having said that, the temperate Indian environment certainly forces a new philosophy on aging.  I’m pretty sure anything left in situ in the Amrut warehouse would be nothing but cask dust by the time it reached the dozen or so years that generally characterizes a ‘young’ Scottish malt.

The nose boasts the most spectacular melange of spices.  Truly this is a flavor profile unlike anything I have ever encountered.  The closest to this deep dark mysterious note I’ve ever found (excepting other Amrut’s) would be in the Yamazaki 18.  Orange and a complex figginess (not quite) meets the richest of Swiss milk chocolate.  Dark over-ripe fruits, juicy and foreign.  Sweet soft crumbly sugar cookies and something infinitely creamy.  Yes…even at 62.1%.  Port?  Ummm…ok.  I’ll take your work for it, though this is not truly port-ish.  A few others have mentioned raspberries.  Hmmm…I can see it.

A delivery of pure warm melted chocolate and foreign spice.  freshly shaved orange zest.  Biscuity (or raisin scone perhaps).  Perfect balance and a marvelous explosion on the tongue.

These guys simply play at another level.  I find myself nearly tongue-tied by this distillery, and have since the first time I tasted the Fusion.  Never have I had such trouble wrapping my head around whisky.  What comes out of India leaves me as flabbergasted as the folks outside of Wonka’s great factory.  Delights not found from any other producer.

Barring possibly Ardbeg, there is not a better distillery on earth.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

5 thoughts on “Amrut Portonova Review

  1. david

    I started a dram of this stuff (with only a few drops of water) last night but wasn’t able to finish it. Loath to dump it, I put a cover glass on the Glencairn.

    This evening, 23 or so hours later, I came back to it.

    The port nose has not deteriorated. The taste remains rich. Great mouthfeel!.

    And now, near the end of the finish, I get this sharp hit of sour fruit. I’m having troouble pinning it down, but I think maybe green table grapes. And the vapours waft up for a hint of white wine (muscat? vidal?)

    Either my palate has learned a lot recently or this is just an awesome whisky, which continues to surprise.

    I’m going to Calgary in December and my brother and I are going to 2 flights. One night of a few A’Bunadhs we have open (I’m bringing a sample of 38, and he has a 34 open and may open his 30), and the other night will be Amrut night: Fusion, Portonova and Intermediate Sherry. Any suggestions as to which should go second and which should come last?

    1. ATW Post author

      Hi, David. Get in touch via email a little closer to the time you come and I’ll see if I can hook you up with one or two more samples for your range. Not certain, but will do my best.

      As to your Amrut range…

      Intermediate, then Portonova, then Fusion. This is NOT the order of quality, simply the best for your palate to pick up nuances. Fusion has a dollop of peat. Save it for last.

      1. david

        Thanks so much for the offer. Sadly, I will be in no shape to add any more drams to our roster. I’ve had a respiratory tract infection and my sinuses have not been cooperative (not to mention the effects of air travel on this condition).

        I’m only going to be in Calgary 5 days. If I’m lucky, we’ll get in two dram nights (and 3 is as much as we can do in 1 night), and if I’m really lucky, i’ll be able to smell them.

        I’m eager to try the A’Bunadh 30 and the Intermediate sherry. The others will be (extremely pleasant) reviews.

        If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, please let me know and I’ll see if I can find something rare for you to try (like a Bladnoch!)

  2. David

    Well, we had our Amrut tasting today. We used the order you suggested, IS, Portonova, and Fusion.

    All three are excellent in their own rights, but the Fusion does overshadow the others (I tried the Portonova again at the end for fun) with the peat.

    If I had to rank them individually, I would probably go with the Intermediate Sherry very closely followed by the Portonova, though head to head it’s a toss-up. Both would be special drams to me, whereas Fusion could easily be a go-to malt.
    I only have a day and a half left here in single malt central (Calgary), but I have seen the Intermediate Sherry in a few stores for as low as $100, and the Portonova is listed online as available at one place, so if my wife and sister in law allow, my brother in law and I are going to try to snag an extra bottle of each for a rainy year.

    Tomorrow night, if hepatically permissive, it’s A’Bunadhs 30, 34, and 38… Head to head.


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