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Monday, July 4, 2022

Three batches of Amrut Fusion

Time to bring this unintentional Baby Whisky series to a close with Amrut. Ten samples of single malt from the Bangalore Bruiser are staring at me right now, daring me to figure out how to schedule them. I'll take them up on that challenge...

Amrut Fusion was my favorite non-Scottish peated whisky, ten years ago. It is possible that my opinion was influenced by influencers back then. Murray, The Maniacs, and Whisky Advocate all raved about Fusion between 2009 and 2011. Who was I, a mere neophyte whisky blogger, to disagree with their well-published palates?

After trying a number of Fusion batches in the decade since, I believe batches vary considerably, especially since the whisky is so young (3-4 years), but have never sat down to test that out. Until now.

For some unknown reason Because I can see into the future, I saved a sample from my bottle of batch 29 (March 2015), so that I could try it against batches 85 and 88, which were bottled in early 2020. Those two samples were sourced from a recent Columbus Scotch Night event during which two different drinkers independently said, "These don't taste like Fusion".

Karnataka Triplets

Amrut Fusion
Batch 29, March 2015
Amrut Fusion
Batch 85, January 2020
Amrut Fusion
Batch 88, March 2020
The peatiest of the trio. A mix of smoked paprika and wood smoke starts the nose, followed by cinnamon, cardamom, packaged cookie dough and 3 Musketeers. It gains vanilla bean and in-season plum notes with time.Wow, the nose is all over the place. Lemon, ham, nutritional yeast, Spam, cinnamon and a dash of peat create a sense of "WTF am I about to sip?" It gradually simplifies into barley, yeast, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a hint of florals.Peat, milk chocolate, basil and melted candle wax sit up front in the nose, with kiwi and pineapple in the background.
The palate leads with cinnamon, ginger powder, limes and heavy smoke. Milder notes of baklava and wormwood-esque bitterness arrive later.The palate begins sweet and tangy with a hint of smoke. Lots of raw heat, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon red hots. Ash ascends with time, as does a floral note.The palate is gingery and peppery, though less raw than batch 85. It's tangy and grainy with a grassy smoke in the background. Feels almost like a blend.
I wish I knew my limes because I'd love to detail the finish's vibrant lime notes. Instead all I can say is: salt, limes, good bitterness and a touch of sweetness.The harshest of the three Fusions, batch 85 finishes with heat, salt, pepper, ash and agave syrup.It's a bit edgier in the finish, with tangy citrus and ginger, bitterness and heat.


Batch 29 (Mar 2015) - No competition here. This batch exists on a different plane than the more recent two. There's more cohesion and depth, and it's a joy to drink. It may not be the best thing Amrut has ever produced, but it reads like a complete whisky, something I'd be happy to buy again.

Batch 85 (Jan 2020) - The vast contrast between this one and #29 made for a jarring transition as I went from one to the other. This batch did not absorb any of the benefits of the Bangalore seasons, reading like a three-year-old whisky. And there was clearly a different blending staff on hand for this one, compared to the 2015 bottling. It may be my least favorite Amrut bottling thus far.

Batch 88 (Mar 2020) - Though more closely related to #85 than #29, batch 88 does feel more pulled together and better assembled than its 2020 cousin. Still, the palate's a bit thin and forgettable, almost begging for some ice and/or club soda, which, while not a tragedy, seems beneath Amrut Fusions of the past. I don't know. Do you want to pay $70 for highball whisky?

Amrut Fusion, Batch 29, March 2015 - 85
Amrut Fusion, Batch 85, January 2020 - 78
Amrut Fusion, Batch 88, March 2020 - 81