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Friday, March 4, 2016

Single Malt Report: Amrut 4 year old 2009 single ex-port pipe #2712

I never thought I'd type this, but I'm enjoying port cask aged whisky to the point where I'm actively seeking it out.  I have been rescued from the crippling Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Experience!  ANYWAY, I reviewed a 4yo 2009 ex-bourbon cask on Tuesday and a 4yo 2009 ex-PX cask on Thursday.  Today it's a single ex-port pipe Amrut, but this one is peated.  I adored the first batch of Portonova, now lemme see how this one fares.

Distillery: Amrut
Region: Bangalore, India
Age: 4 years (June 2009 to August 2013)
Cask #: 2712
Maturation: ex-port pipe
Bottle count: 357
Alcohol by Volume: 59%
Sample obtained via a swap with My Annoying Opinions.  Thanks, MAO!

For those interested in color, this one is by far the darkest of the three single casks.

The nose is malty with a side of lemons and limes.  Mellow peat and hay meet milk chocolate, caramel, and buttery oak.  After 15 minutes of air, it opens up further.  Seaweed, band aids, and pencil shavings.  Geraniums, lemons, and honey.

The palate is hotter than the PX cask's.  At first the peat arrives as ash and cinders, alongside a light raspberry and strawberry jam note.  It grows port-ier with time, and really improves.  It's earthier and picks up some cigar tobacco.  But then the dark berry notes arrive alongside a little bit of hot fudge.  It feels dark, if that makes any sense.

The biggest notes in the finish are the cigar tobacco, ash, and dark berries.  Small notes of fudge and herbal bitterness float behind.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
Now the nose starts off with maple syrup and a chunk of American oak.  More limes than lemons.  The peat has become farmier, and there's now a hint of bacon.  Lemon pepper and dried berries in the waaaaaay back.  Kind of Springbankish at times (vague!).

The palate gets earthier and leaner.  Maybe silkier in texture.  Mild sweetness, mild woodspice.  Molasses, malt, and a hint of red bell pepper.

The finish is spicy and peppery.  Mild malt, sweets, and earth.  Peat cinders linger.

This one needs some air, but it's my favorite of the three single casks.  The palate and nose are true pleasures once they open up.  The port character doesn't ring out very loudly and there are a lot of US oak notes in the nose, so I wonder if (like yesterday's PX cask) this was also a finish.  The combination of the oak(s), wine, grain, and peat work very well together no matter what the story is.  I prefer it neat; it holds up with some water though it becomes a different whisky.

Again, of the three, this one would be the bottle I'd buy, but......it is the most expensive, despite being the same exact age as the others and having the highest bottle count.  I'll pass it up at this price, but had it gone for the same price as the ex-bourbon cask I'd have happily bitten.

Availability - Europe only, and it's getting tough to find
Pricing - 80-100 euros
Rating - 88


  1. Just to note, all of these casks are significantly cheaper than Blackadder's single Amrut casks.

    1. I'm always a little baffled by Blackadder (and Samaroli and Silver Seal and...). It's not like they're the only game in town and given how difficult it can be to find independent reviews of single cask bottlings, buying blind is going to be a really big risk. I get that they have a good reputation, but so do Signatory and G&M and any number of other IBs that usually offer more obvious QPR.

    2. I totally agree. I've tried a number of the current-ish Samarolis at tastings and wasn't wowed by a single one. And they've all been sitting on places like Hi Time's shelves for 3-5 years without moving. As you mentioned, Samaroli and Silver Seal have long time reputations in Europe for being "luxury" brands, but I can't say their products are any better than anyone else's. Blackadder I just don't get at all. Yeah they have some good casks, but most of the well run indie bottlers have good casks. WTF makes them "luxury"? The dirt in the bottle?

  2. I've enjoyed your exploration of Amrut. I've tried a few and, for me, they've been a mixed bag. One thing you've identified in your tastings that I have struggled with is the initial heat of these whiskies. I had a single cask that was nearly impossible to find the right balance. I just wonder if releasing them at the high abv is showing off their whiskies to their potential.

    1. Thanks, Eric. For their OBs, I've found 50%abv to a great spot for them. That may be why Fusion and Kadhambam work so well for me. Above that and the heat does get difficult. The only exception is that first batch of Portonova, but that is truly exceptional stuff. FWIW, that one also thrives at the 50%abv point.