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