Amrut Single Cask #2701 “Bengal Tiger”
Alright. Let’s get back to Amrut. It’s been a while, I think. This time a single cask release nicknamed ‘Bengal Tiger’ and bottled exclusively for the Canadian market.
As you all know by now, Amrut has long held a coveted spot in my top-tiered whiskies. Their penchant for unbelievable consistency of quality and unprecedented innovation are second to none. To further illustrate this latter point I’ll be tackling a couple other special releases from the distillery in the next few days. But for now, let’s dig into a malt from Bangalore that sits just shy of six years old this time.
Full disclosure on the part of our Indian friends here: this one is a 2009 vintage bottled in 2015. Unpeated Indian barley strong and bold at 56.5% abv. The cask type says PX-sherry on the label, but I’m pretty certain this was at least partially bourbon-matured. Could be the PX cask was the last bed it slept in.
And like most Amrut releases, this is another very special dram. Rich in fruits, exotic spices uncharacteristic of Scottish single malt and bearing the DNA of Amrut all the way through, this is absolutely prototypical of the distillery. Errr…sort of.
Here’s the rub. And also the thing, I think, that speaks to the value of experience in writing about whisky. This is not meant to be derisive, so bear with me. If this whisky was tasted within the first hundred or couple hundred whiskies I’d tried – or was one of only a couple of Amrut expressions I had tasted – it would likely have scored higher. It’s only exposure to the general category – and Amrut, in particular – plus an awful lot of time (and brain cells) spent building the experience that leads to the revelation that Amrut is usually even better than this.
Pretty gentle criticism, I know.
Nose: Chilis. Leather. Marmalade. Unbelievable amounts of savoury spice. Sugar cookies. Orange macaroons. Candied ginger. A lot cinnamon and heavy bourbon cask notes behind a curtain of dried fruits and mince. Some milk chocolate. Hot cross buns.
Salty dough. Slightly peppery.
Palate: Yep. Amrut. Tannic, surprisingly. Immediately a big spicy arrival. Orange oil. Some raisin, orange and liqueur-soaked fruitcake. Herbal notes. Cinnamon buns. A mix of wines and teas. Chocolate and nut.
Thoughts: Not my favorite Amrut, but man…I have weak criticisms to level at this one. Even the distillery’s weakest are still head and shoulders above most of the industry.
– Images & Words: Curt
Although it isn’t a criticism of Amrut alone by any means, “last bed slept in” is the single best description of the industry’s current use of the phrase “single cask” that I’ve read yet. As with oft-missing age information (which is available in this case) sales-friendly nonsense isn’t justified by quality without the former being shown to be somehow necessary to achieve the latter. I don’t doubt it’s good stuff, but the things said around it by producers sometimes strain credibility.
Valid point about the cask switch, though I find Amrut is generally quite transparent about what they do with their spirit.
But you just HAD to say something about AGE in the same post. Like an addict, I say…
Ethanol can have that effect.
So can knowing what you’re talking about; your risk is minimal.
Entirely inappropriate comment yet completely unsurprising.
Your risk is even smaller.
Interesting… throughout the entire conflict Jeff has stoked with his playmates on All Things Whisky, as ugly as it sometimes gets, no one has accused the other of ignorance.
I use the term playmates because he is now acting like a kindergarten child, who, faced with a lack of response, comes back with “well, you’re stupid!”.
It is the Donald Trump school of debate.
I was always taught that if you had nothing useful to say, say nothing. If you really think you’re dealing with a bunch of idiots, move on to another site….
If Veritas wants to do the dozens INSTEAD of talk whisky, I’ll give him a game (he IS funny sometimes). If David wants a piece of that, taking sides on the basis of his very familiar “offended sensibilities”, he’s also welcome – but his sensibilities won’t make him immune to response. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and they have little basis to call foul. This also applies to third parties after the fact.
I’ll show as much respect as I’m shown on a personal level, but no more than that; I have no reason to.
When it comes to respecting opinions that actually DO have something to do with whisky (when these can be found), however, some rational content does help.
Remembering the past silliness over whether ABV matters to whisky, skeptic, do you still know more about whisky than Teemu Strengell? – as per the “rules of debate”, you did essentially dismiss Strengell’s science on ABV out of hand, on no real rational basis. Where was Teemu wrong? I breathlessly wait to hear.
By the same token, folks are entitled to their opinions, but I reject the substitution of their opinions for basic facts. Various keyboard ramblings notwithstanding – where everything might appear equally valid because it’s all equally easy to type (also known as “the Nick Morgan Magical Prose Factor”) – age, casking AND ABV (the last of which David refuted) all DO matter to whisky; change the variables and you change the whisky. If the “intellectual shelter” for a contrary view resides in simply saying that no piece of data means anything out of context/experience, it also falls apart given that context and experience IS something that both producers and knowledgeable consumers have been actively accumulating for some time. That the data, like all data, means nothing in isolation doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless in the ongoing, and accumulating, context in which it is measured, gathered and (sometimes) disseminated in the real world. All “controversial” stuff, I know, but there it is. People who won’t acknowledge fundamentals about whisky might be nice people, but they can’t be said to know whisky any more than people who say that the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1492 can be said to know history. If people want to talk whisky, they can talk it. If they want to tell me bullshit like casking, age or ABV doesn’t matter to whisky, they’ll get called on it.
I don’t take credit for inventing the whisky wheel, I only say that, yes, it’s been invented and is a reality; physics don’t change with opinion or marketing. The “controversy” that saying even something as simple as that can create, however, is fairly mind blowing. Maybe people spreading what often amounts to whisky disinformation should move on, as they’re not helping whisky or its consumers.
If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit…
I saw that in a washroom somewhere.
It seems that what you are showing is that you are only an expert at hurling insults.
Your latest rant is low, even for you.
If I didn’t think it so improbably I would wonder if you might actually be a pseudonym for Donald Trump. My apologies if you take that as a compliment…it was not meant that way.
You attribute things to people that are false, like Trump. I would say you are a “very nasty thread contributor”.
Skeptic and David have tried without success to differentiate ABV from dilution, actually, with good success to the rest of us just not to you. Actually, you probably DO know the difference between a whisky that comes out of a cask at 55% and is watered down to 43%, and one that ages down to a Cask strength of 43%, you just choose to instead put out a claim that Skeptic and David say “ABV doesn’t matter”.
You, who criticize the whisky industry for its lack of transparency and accuse Glaser and people like him of transparency only for personal gain, choose obfuscation and deception to put forward your personal agenda, and shame on any other opinion that anyone else might want to discuss on this site.
I must say I have the utmost respect for Curt’s patience. Any other moderator would probably have blocked a cyber bully like you a long time ago.
Just for the record, Teemu Strengell does NOT simply say that “ABV matters”. He discusses the effects of various alcohol concentrations on maturation, and the effect of adding water before maturation, before bottling and before drinking.
However, he does NOT discuss the difference between a whisky diluted to 43% and one that has selective EtOH evaporation down to 43%.
And for that reason, my belief, that the ABV listed on the bottle is not as helpful WITHOUT knowing the ABV at which the liquid came out of the cask, is still valid.
I thought my response was rather mild, given that the comments were far more about character assassination than whisky.
Can anyone provide an example of a CS whisky “aged” down to 43% (without dilution)? Maybe Athena could field that one.
Just for the record, skeptic, you previously dismissed everything that Strengell said on the basis that it wasn’t necessarily science, not on what it did and didn’t address. And if you somehow can’t know the ABV at which the liquid came out of the cask (yet isn’t this the “definition” of cask strength? does it have one?) in most cases in any event, then does presentation ABV tell you anything at all? Did you maybe mean “without knowing the ABV at which the liquid went INTO the cask”? I’m not sure, but the same question about presentation ABV would apply.
Does cutting a whisky with water in the glass, much less upstream, alter its performance? If what people are saying is “label/presentation ABV doesn’t tell you everything”, I never said it did and, again, it’s a question of information context. If ABV does matter, then we’re all agreed.
Yah, sometimes I wish Curt were ore strict…
Of course, Bob – it’s a sentiment that Nick Morgan probably shares as well… and for much the same reasons.
Bob, we share more than a first initial…. we also share the same opinion in this case.
I give credit where it’s due (and if I didn’t mention that good age information was provided here, THAT would be something to criticize too, wouldn’t it?) – and to get too far away from age when talking whisky is to get away from talking whisky (and to start talking vodka). Somehow everybody knows that different ages create different effects, but to say so outright as a matter of course (much less to take it as read) makes one a fanatic.
So this is still available in Calgary? for $110 I saw on one site. Curt, is it worth that compared to a Redbreast 12 CS or Bowmore Devil’s cask?