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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Single Malt Report: Amrut 4 year old 2009 single ex-PX sherry cask #2701

On Monday, I reviewed the Amrut 100 release.  On Tuesday, I reviewed one of their single ex-bourbon casks.  Today, it's a single ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry cask.  It's the same age as the ex-bourbon, but the cask size is different.  The ex-bourbon cask (#3445) produced 172 bottles, while today's cask produced 301.  If this was a sherry butt, then WOW it lost a lot of liquid, and thus strengthens the stories about the thirsty angels of Bangalore.  Or does it?  More on this below...

Distillery: Amrut
Region: Bangalore, India
Age: 4 years (June 2009 to August 2013)
Cask #: 2701
Maturation: ex-PX sherry cask (and maybe something else)
Bottle count: 301
Alcohol by Volume: 62.8%
Sample obtained via a swap with My Annoying Opinions.  Thanks, MAO!

The nose leads with raspberry jam, brown sugar, roses, and dried cherries.  Give it a few minutes and out comes some mild fudge notes and menthol and some vague hints of the cinnamon and ginger spirit character.  After 15 minutes, a big rich vanilla bean note takes over.

The palate is not as hot as expected, reading less like ethyl and more like chili oil.  In fact it's very peppery: hot pepper sauce and the biggest red bell pepper note I've ever tasted in a whisky.  Some grilled zucchini too, believe it or not.  Sugary raisins around the edges.  Some fudgy notes after some time in the glass.  A slight earthy rooty thing in the middle and tart limes in the back.

The finish is fudgy and sweet and hot.  There's pineapple juice, mint, black peppercorns, as well as the tart limes and raisins from the palate.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
Any sign of the PX has totally vanished in the nose.  There's lemon, caramel, vanilla, and roses.  Hint of mint, hint of malt.  Okay, maybe a touch of chocolate and raisins.

The palate picks up more black peppercorns and loses most of the red bell pepper.  There's also toffee, malt, and a hint of the PX in the background.

The limes are less tart now in the finish.  Nutty brown butter, toffee, soft bitterness, and a near absence of sweetness.

In the comment section of MAO's review of this very bottle, he and a commenter discuss the likelihood that this whisky was actually only finished in PX casks.  Meahwhile, the bottle's label only references the "Px-sherry" part.  If it really was only finished in the sherry cask, then Amrut pulled a GlenDronach.

I didn't know about this when I took my notes, but I was fascinated by the very strong American oak influence in the nose.  I also noticed that the PX barely showed up in the palate and then almost totally vanished altogether when water was added.  Thus I would not be surprised if this whisky was the result of two or three ex-bourbon casks having been dumped into a PX cask for a finish.

Nonetheless, I really liked this whisky.  The nose, with and without water, was appealing and the palate was peppy and fun.  Somehow the vegetable notes worked in its favor.  I enjoyed it more than the bourbon cask and the fourth batch of Intermediate Sherry.

The price on this whisky is 10-20euros more than the bourbon cask of the exact same age.  If it's more expensive due to the sherry cask, then maybe the label's missing "finish" was no accident.

Availability - Europe only, and it's getting tough to find
Pricing - 70-85 euros
Rating - 86

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