Next up from the recent three malt run of single casks Amrut has just released for the European market…a peated variant matured in a port pipe.
This isn’t exactly a new idea, but nor is it one that has been executed very often. Amrut’s take on ‘peat and port’ should be rather interesting, simply due to the spicy and exotic character of their spirit. There’s a luciousness of fruit that collides with a smoky, ashy character in marriages of this sort. Something I, personally, find quite appealing, but I concede it can be a bit of a shock to the system for the unprepared.
Before getting to tasting notes however, just a few thoughts on this release…
Port pipes are large vessels. Give or take 500 litres, I believe. The numbers on the packaging (bottle and box) tell the whole story regarding the incredibly unforgiving environmental conditions Amrut is maturing under. 43% of the racked spirit has been lost to evaporation during its four years in the barrel, leaving behind a mere 357 bottles. This evaporation loss is often referred to as the ‘angel’s share’, as most of you will already know, so it’s not hard to see why Amrut has a malt in their stables called ‘Greedy Angels’, huh?
I’ve already lauded Amrut’s attempts at transparency in a previous review of their new PX cask, but I want to reiterate…the clarity of information on these releases is well nigh unprecented. They’re not hiding anything to do with provenance, the youthfulness of their whiskies or the implications of their finances from us. Check out the images of these three bottles (on each of these reviews here on ATW). The labels tell tales of the barley being Indian or Scottish; of the strength of character not to hide behind the shield of an ‘NAS’ brand; and by showing us the loss rate, it’s a little easier to understand Amrut’s pricing tiers (which are entirely reasonable, I would – and have – argue(d).)
All of that aside, this is a really fine single malt. Unmistakeably unique and absolutely worth hunting down. The playful interaction between salty iodine notes and big plummy grape notes are a mouthwatering combination, and leave me lamenting the fact that this dram won’t be making the seafaring voyage to our foreign and exotic shores. Le sigh.
Nose: A lot of really lovely chocolate. A fair bit of peat that manages to stand rather independent of the smoke. Damp ash meets dark earthy soil (very cool nuances here!). Iodine and grape. Fresh orange juice. There’s a dark smokiness, but it’s very juicy, not dry. I can still pick up on that typical Amrut spicy cereal note even through all of the peat and port. Surprisingly creamy with a bit of a vanilla skeleton.
Palate: This is salty dram. One that has a great meaty/sour mix (in an absolutely pleasant tingling sensory way). I love it. Smoked fruits…weird but awesome. A lot of juicy grape and a bit of citrus. This carries a similar profile to the BenRiach Solstice (which I also loved, incidentally), but do note…the Solstice was a fifteen year old whisky…while this is only four!
This is single malt for the forward-thinking. It’s a little outside the norm, and definitely a whisky that will be hard to forget. Hopefully Amrut will consider adding something like this as a part of the core range, or at least something to be released in small batches in an ongoing basis.
(Thanks to Ashok Chokalingam, Amrut Brand Ambassador, for the opportunity to try these single casks)
– Reviewed by: Curt