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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Single Malt Report: Amrut Kadhambam, batch 03

The Amrut Assault continues.  Yesterday was Amrut Fusion, batch 29.  Today, it's Amrut Kadhambam, batch 03.

I'm going to tell you ahead of time: this whisky is a hell of a thing.  As I write this, it's been 24 hours since I wrote my tasting notes and I still haven't really gotten my head around it.  Firstly its construction is nutty (or adventurous or silly).  As per the official press release Kadhambam is...
"...the result of Amrut Single Malt Whisky and a small portion of Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky being initially matured in ex-Oloroso sherry butts. It was then put in ex-Bangalore Blue Brandy casks and matured for a further period. Next it was emptied into ex-rum casks and matured for a further period. Both the brandy and rum casks had previously been used to mature Amrut’s own rum and brandy..."
You follow that?  It's mostly unpeated whisky and a little bit of peated whisky first matured in ex-sherry butts.  Then that whisky gets a second maturation in Indian brandy casks.  And then that stuff gets a third maturation in Indian rum casks.  Murray McDavid, eat your heart out.

Distillery: Amrut
Region: Bangalore, India
Age: minimum 3 years
Batch: #03
Maturation: ex-Oloroso sherry butts, then Indian brandy casks, then Indian rum casks
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? ???
(This sample arrived via sample swap with My Annoying Opinions. Thanks, MAO!)

Its color is darker and redder than Fusion's gold.

So many things going on in the nose.  A combination of tar and aged cheese leads the way, then fades after less than a minute.  It's replaced by dried berries and dried cherries.  Honey and coriander.  Then sherry vinegar and beef stock.  Ten minutes later it shifts gears to hard toffee, a nutty dry Oloroso, and some Jamaican rum funk.

The very rich palate starts off with layers of malt and fresh berries.  There's plenty of hot ethyl still cooking.  Lots of salt and spicy toasted oak notes.  After twenty minutes it all settles down into dark chocolate and blackberries.

The sharp finish is a little drying, musty, and salty.  Sherry residue and grape jam.

Adding a little water...

WITH WATER (~43%abv)
It's almost a different whisky.  The nose is mostly milk chocolate and caramel.  Baked raspberry filling.  A little bit of the dried fruits and coriander.  The palate is really dark chocolatey.  Then figs, sugary rum, and wood smoke.  Milk chocolate, black pepper, and dry sherry in the finish.

A little more water...

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
It noses like a nice sherried scotch (think Macallan 12 from five years ago).  There's some dusty-whisky-style old creaky oak.  Definitely some rye bread underneath.  The palate has fudge, berry syrup, and a nice soft herbal bitter bite.  It finishes with wood spice, toffee, and grape jam.  A decent length considering the ABV.

Here's an attempt to encapsulate the crazy:  The whisky totally appeals at all three of the above strengths.  The sherry butts speak the loudest throughout, while the rum casks provide subtle shading.  I'm not really sure what the brandy casks bring to the conversation, but at least they don't inhibit anything.  The overall character keeps shifting with oxidation and water, thus it never really congeals, but it always pleases.

Sadly, the Kadhambam has gotten difficult to find.  There was a fourth batch released in 2013.  Was there ever a fifth batch?  Will there be one?  If they do bring it back, it would be a fun buy if they kept the price down.  Ha.

Availability - Becoming scarce worldwide
Pricing - it used to run $90-$110 stateside, a few bucks cheaper internationally
Rating - 88