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Friday, July 26, 2019

Luxury Product Report: Amrut Greedy Angels 10 year old (2019)

Yes, at north of $800, this is the sort of whisky that gets its own casket and Certificate of Death, er, a note from Master Distiller, Surrinder Kumar, thanking me for buying a bottle.

What? Me buy a bottle? No, Surrinder!

*air drums*

I bought one ounce.

Local whisky friends offered up a bottle split, so I decided to be extra helpful and buy the smallest possible portion.

The story behind the Greedy Angels series is all about Bangalore's summers which do a number on Amrut's casks, with the "Angels" withdrawing generous amounts of contents through the cask staves. The key for Mr. Kumar is to get the whisky bottled before it's hot oak syrup, something we have plenty of here in The States.

This edition of Gready Engels was distilled from peated Scottish barley, then aged first in a Pedro Ximenez butt for seven years. What remained at that point was split between an ex-bourbon cask and "a 100 litre refill virgin oak barrel" (a series of words for which I have many questions) where it spent another three years. I have a feeling that the results were diluted to 60%abv, since a previous 10yo Gritty Angeles was 71%abv. This may make it a more approachable drink while also increasing the outturn. I can't guarantee that, but 60%abv is a very round number.

What we have in this edition is peat, sugary sherry and American oak, likely squared or cubed. Amrut Spectrum 004 was quite a ride, so I'm all buckled in for this thingamajig.

Distillery: Amrut
Region: Bangalore, India
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: see notes above
Outturn: 324 bottles, 1/3 of which are for the US
Alcohol by Volume: 60%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? No
(from a bottle split)

So many things going on in the nose. There's barbecued pork with a sugary sauce. Brown's cream soda. Dark chocolate with smoked sea salt. Old Armagnac. Cedar chips. Dried cherry marsala sauce. And a whiff of incense smoke. After some time in the glass, there's more orange oil. Cigarette smoke in a Tokyo whisky bar.

Charred citrus peels and charred peppers arrive first on the palate, then sweet berries and mint. LOTS of cardamom. Hints of grape jam and ginger snaps. A lovely tartness throughout. There's remarkably no generic oak or vanilla present.

The long finish balances tartness and sweetness. Cardamom, chile oil and a gentle dusty smoke.

The gorgeous nose is utterly transportive, and I can't ask for anything more from a whisky. I don't know if it's Nose of the Year because I can't remember what else I've drunk thus far. Hell, I don't remember where I put my keys just now. Anyway, this Greedy thing was a thrill to sniff for an hour. There was nearly no chance the palate could meet the sniffer, so I wasn't disappointed when it was merely very good. I'm happy to enjoy a B-grade palate with an A-grade nose. The absence of aggressive American oak on the palate was very impressive. Were this Amrut one-fourth its price......

Availability - There may be a few dozen retailers in the world with a bottle
Pricing - $800-$1000
Rating - 90

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