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Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

Review: Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky   93/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published April 1, 2014

The Amrut Distillery is situated in Bangalore, ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains.

The Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky is produced from two geographically disparate grains. The majority of the barley used to produce this whisky was grown and harvested at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains.This Punjabi barley was mashed, distilled and aged in the distillery at Bangalore. The distillery also uses a peated barley sourced in Scotland and this barley is as well brought to the facilities in Bangalore to be separately mashed, distilled and then aged until maturity. When each separately distilled whisky is ready, they are blended and then aged for a second period of time to allow the different whiskies flavours to marry in the barrel prior to bottling. Incidentally, all of the barrels used for maturation of the whisky are refill America Bourbon oak barrels.

As all of the mashing, distillation, aging and blending was done at the same Bangalore distillery in India, the whisky is a true single malt which represents the fusion of two different whiskies. The Amrut Fusion Whisky is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume and is sold in various markets across the world including here in Alberta, Canada.

SAM_1016 FusionIn the Bottle 4.5/5

The Amrut Fusion is sold in a protective metal sleeve with an inner cardboard liner shielding the glass bottle from the canister. The back of the canister provides information regarding the Amrut Fusion whisky and its production. The bottle itself is a clear glass bottle which is sealed with a high density synthetic cork. The back of my bottle includes a batch number and a month and year of bottling. The sample bottle I am reviewing is labeled B.No. 1, July 009 indicating this particular bottle is from the first batch bottled in July of 2009. (Yes this one has sat around for a quite a while in my review queue!)

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured the spirit into my glass, it displayed as a golden colour with dark tinctures within. When I tilted the glass and gave it a twirl, the liquid sheen was rather heavy and the crest which formed at the top seemed to take forever to release any legs. Those legs which did drop were thick and fat reflecting the 50 % alcohol by volume the whisky contained as well as years of tropical aging in a warm Indian climate. The whisky carries no age statement, so exactly how long that tropical aging lasted is unknown to me.

The initial breezes above the glass carried the light indications of a peated whisky with a firm oaked character. I could smell a bit of a boggy lowland meadow complete with clumps of heather and sawgrass, and a stand willow trees growing near a black bottomed creek. There was a floral element in the air reminding me of lavender and lilac bushes, and some interesting notes of spearmint, orange peel, tar, iodine and salty brine.

As the glass breathed I received strong notes of Demerara sugar and baking spices which brought impressions of dark rum and cola into the whisky aroma. The oak and the peat aromas carried the other scents and smells forward melding into them rather than dominated them. The result is a very complex whisky which brought many interesting nuances in the air.

In the Mouth 56/60

This Amrut Fusion definitely represents my preferred style of peated whisky. The peat is not so heavy that it overwhelms me, neither is it so light that it is an afterthought. It is the oak, rather than the peat which takes center stage. Rich caramelized sugars from the charred oak barrels sweeten the whisky, and the spicy oak sap from within those same barrels brings forward delicious baking spices (I am thinking vanillans, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg). The sweet and the spice traverse across the palate where they are in turn washed over with a lovely briny, boggy, and herbal peat flavour. As the peat and the oak mesh, more flavours are brought forward, rich chocolate, caramel, cola, and a very rum-like dark treacle.

Although the whisky is bottled at a full 50 % alcohol by volume, there is a smoothness associated with the delivery which allows full enjoyment without added water or ice.

In the Throat  14/15

The finish represents an explosion of flavour, spice and alcohol heat. Deep dark chocolate, spicy cinnamon and cloves, deliciously sweet Christmas fruitcake all tumble down the throat, with trailing flavours of iodine, tar and tobacco and wood spice leaving glowing embers of their spiciness and their flavour lingering on the palate.

The Afterburner 9.5/10

The Amrut Fusion is a succulent spirit, and I appreciate the effort the spirit’s crafters have placed upon properly balancing the oak versus the peat. In the case of the fusion, the spicy sweet oak flavours of the whisky take the lead, and the peat plays a supporting role carrying those flavours forward but never dominating them. The result is a delightful whisky with a rich full-bodied flavour.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

The Amrut Fusion as well as being one of the best whiskies I have tasted recently, is also a great whisky to use as the base for any classic mixed drink such as the Rob Roy Cocktail.

SAM_1021 Rob RoyThe Rob Roy Cocktail

2 oz Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky
1/2  oz  Sweet Vermouth
Dash Angostura Bitters
4 large ice cubes
Brandied Cherry

Place the first three ingredients in a Metal Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a Cocktail Glass
Garnish with a Brandied Cherry

Enjoy!!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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