Apr 282017
 

Rye is a fickle grain to work with, so much so that many distillers outside the United States and Canada just don’t even bother with it. Indeed, you can name the expressions of world rye whisky using just your hand. One hand, so you don’t even have to put your drink down.

Enter Amrut, who since getting into serious single malt distillation, have been pushing the boundaries with interesting releases (like the fabulous Spectrum – see here). This is their first, and very successful, foray into rye distillation. It’s a five year old, distilled from European rye, and since it’s made from 100% malted rye, calling it a “Single Malt” is technically correct. The five year maturation was done in American oak casks.

I had this expression at our MMI – Malt Mongers Israel whisky club’s April meeting. I was sitting next to Liat, a young mixologist who will soon be taking her talents to New Orleans, and she was really taken by this as a basis for an old fashioned, saying that it would “make it rock”. I agree. I think this rye has an “in your face” boldness that would make whisk(e)y cocktails sing. The drawback, of course, is the pricetag (around 160 EUR/GBP).

Photo Credit: clydesdale.se

Amrut Rye Single Malt Whisky (50% ABV)

Appearance: Glowing orange, quick and thin legs.

Nose: Clearly rye, with spices and marshmallow, reminiscent of the American ryes. Very sweet nose, with cereal and a hint of freshly cut leaves with floral notes.

Palate: Rough around the edges, heftily bitter, orange peel, pepper.

Linger: Pepper and orange inner peel, very spicy and warm around the sides of the tongue and cheeks.

Conclusion

Were it not for the price tag, this would be a total hit with mixologists. It’s everything you’re looking for in a cocktail. However, given the roughness and price tag, this won’t become your go to rye.

Jun 222016
 

Innovation is not limited to technology in Bangalor, the heart of India’s silicon valley. Amrut has positioned itself at the cutting edge of whisky innovation.

The distillery was founded in 1948 by JN Radhakrishna Rao Jagdale. India is the world’s biggest whisky market, but most of it isn’t what you and I would consider whisky, as it’s not properly a grain distillate. However, Jagdale’s grandson, Rakshit took the business in another direction, starting to make real single malt, with sourcing of great casks and taking advantage of the quick maturation afforded by the Indian weather.

Photo Credit: Amrut Distilleries

Photo Credit: Amrut Distilleries

This expression is one of the most fascinating whiskies to hit the market, as it was finished (for 3 years, which is as long as it spent in bourbon casks before being transferred into these special casks) in a singular type of cask. After spending three years in ex bourbon casks, then transferred to specially made casks comprised of staves from five individual wooden barrels – new American Oak, new French Oak, new Spanish Oak, Pedro Ximenez cask sherry cask and Oloroso sherry cask staves.

Photo Credit: whisky.fr

Photo Credit: whisky.fr

Amrut Spectrum (50% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Mahogany, initially quick legs, then a persistent necklace.

Nose: Bag of pretzels, sour cherry brandy (vishniak), chocolate and leather with a hint of saltiness and a lot of dryness on the nose. A drop of water brings out chai masala.

Palate: Oriental spices in a sherry sauce, this would make a killer base for a sauce for a butcher’s cut steak. There’s cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and a dryness. The PX is assertive, but gives room for the Oloroso to contribute. A drop of water brings out loads of chocolate.

Linger: Dry and sweet, with an initially stinging spiciness that gives way to an older and gentler sherry. Very warming, the whole gullet is aglow in a warm spicy feel. After a few minutes, sultanas take over on the linger and just stays on and on.

Conclusion

Wow, this is a very impressive dram. Well done Amrut!

I got to this whisky too late to get a bottle of this batch. I really hope that Amrut makes batches of this fine whisky on a regular basis, because 1000 bottles is just not enough.