We return to another World Whisky Wednesday, this one with the last our whisky samples sent to us from The Whiskey Nut (I cannot say how much I appreciate you doing this mate), the Amrut Single Malt. Now, my appreciation of the Amrut Naarangi is well documented, and I love trying me some whiskies from outside the norm. Funnily enough, my first experience of Amrut was from before I worked with whisky, when I was a wee lad in a hotter country desperate for a nice drop of amber. That was the Naarangi, and I have always loved sampling Amrut ever since. Anyway, what’s their deal?
The same deal with everyone else, to be honest. There was a gap in the market, and they filled in. Amrut Single Malt comes from Amrut Laboratories, the company established back in 1947 by a Mr Radhakrishna Jagdale, and their first products and to this day their main money makers were Brandy and Rum, the whisky just icing on the cake. It wasn’t until his son, Neelakanta Jagdale, took over the company at the time of his father’s passing in 1976 that the idea of whisky started floating about. In 1982 Neelakanta went against the norm in India, where most were producing whisky with molasses, and created something with malted barley. This first whisky however was not a true single malt, aged for only 18 months and blended with sugarcane alcohol to produce MaQintosh Premium Whisky. Years of tinkering and blind tasting in Scotland finally led to the Amrut Single Malt we know today launching in the EU in 2004. Nowadays, the barley is grown in North West India, and matured in New American Oak and Ex-Bourbon Barrels, but its what’s in the glass that concerns me here tonight.
The nose struck me first, almost literally as I had to throw my head back. Greeting me was a laughing demon made of sulphur and plastic, the burning of old garbage bags that have been left in the sun for too long. After a while, I got my nose around this beast, and found touches of sweet soil, mouldy, wet mushrooms, sickly sweet corn, a mashtun in the midst of being cleaned and as I thought I was past it all a baby was sick under my nose. This is not how I like a dram to start. After that, it ended with cold pear cider and roasting pumpkin. I mean, silver linings? Oh god, now I can’t stop thinking about the bin bags.
The palate was terrible. Just that. Incredibly tart, something throwing unripe lemons at my tongue, harsh citrus, cut summer grass left to get all stanky in the fertilizer bin out back, petrol, deodorant, compost, roots. I used to live in a lot of mining towns, and the palate reminding me of the air around spent matches and moulding cordite. A thankfully short finish of sulphury and fienty matches and heavily burnt sugar.
This is the first stumble in the way of World Whisky Wednesday. Normally the drams I enjoy are far and above the norm, but this just made me feel ill. Not to say that Amrut doesn’t make good product, I know they. I think I just got a dodgy bottle with this one, and apparently a dodgy Amrut means more than anything else. Looking over the last three weeks, I would’ve thought this to be the best of the World Whiskies, but that’s the thing here; whiskies can surprise you. I’ll be giving the Amrut Single Malt another try, I know they’re better than this. But for now, I’m still trying to get the taste out of my mouth.