KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar Blog Day 5 - Amrut 9 Year KWM Port Pipe
Posted on December 8, 2023
Day Five in the 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar marks our first trek outside of Scotchland, and we are heading all the way to India with this bottle of Amrut 9-Year-Old KWM Port Pipe 4660!
While Amrut Distillery was established in 1948, the company's single malt whisky did not launch outside of India until 2002. Originally called Amrut Laboratories, the company’s first alcohol brand was a brandy called Silver- Cup, which launched in 1949 and is still released today, though it is not imported to Canada. The company became known for its rum as well, some of which we do see in Canada including Amrut Two Indies Rum and Old Port Rum.
Amrut first delved into whisky production as we know it in 1982 with distillations from barley and malted grain. The resulting “whisky” was aged for 18 months and blended with sugarcane alcohol to create MaQintosh Premium Whisky.
Okay, full stop here. If you are somewhat familiar with the whisky-making processes and regulations of countries like Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States, Japan, and many other countries, there are a few things in the prior chunk of text that won’t make a lot of sense:
- You can release whisky after only 18 months of maturation?!?
- Other than the United States, the countries I mentioned all generally follow the three-year rule. ie: Spirt must be aged for three years in oak/wood vessels before it can be considered ‘whisky’.
- You can use alcohol made from sugarcane in a product and still call it whisky?!?
- Every country has its own ideas on what can be blended into whisky. Some allow colouring or flavouring, but the general rule is that whisky has to be made from distilled grain products, not sugar.
- Within India, alcohol made from sugarcane and molasses is often blended or used in whisky produced and consumed domestically. This style is tremendously popular and is a large part of the reason that the country consumes more “whisky” than any other.
- I talked about this in a blog post for the 2022 KWM Whisky Calendar as well. That post was for another Indian Single Malt Whisky - the Paul John Select PX Cask Finish.
Do not all of this worry you and cause paranoia about the whisky we are about to taste. This Amrut Single Malt Whisky is indeed a Single Malt Whisky, made from 100% malted barley using pot stills. Just like they do in Scotland. In fact, Scotland was the location first used to test market Amrut Single Malt whisky before it was launched officially in Europe in 2004. Interestingly enough, the company's single malt whisky did not see a domestic release in its home region of Bangalore until nearly six years later.
Much like the 1976 Judgement of Paris put Napa Valley wine on the map both internationally and within its own home country, being recognized by whisky consumers, retailers, and writers helped solidify Amrut’s Single Malt as a premium whisky brand. Amrut, along with the likes of Kavalan in Tawain, Millstone in the Netherlands, and more recently Two Brewers and Shelter Point for us Canadians, is responsible for making Single Malt Whisky drinkers realize that not all great whisky has to come from Scotland. Thanks to globalization, there is a whole world of single-malt whisky waiting to be explored.
Some of you could be tasting Amrut Whisky for the first time with this sample, and I am excited to find out what you think. For others who already enjoy Amrut Single Malt, I am already preaching to the choir. Be warned though: This particular Amrut is a bit of a monster.
Unlike most of the casks we select and have bottled for Kensington Wine Market, this bottle of Amrut is not actually at cask strength. It has been cut down to 60% ABV. Can you believe this was actually higher than 60% before water was added? Amrut does not release bottles at higher than 60% ABV due to the incredibly high export taxes put on liquid above that level.
Shall we give this lightweight, watered-down Amrut a go?
Our 3rd KWM exclusive cask of Amrut was selected last fall when our friend Ashok paid us a visit to the store. Distilled in August of 2013, the whisky matured 9 years in an ex-Port Pipe No. 4660, before bottling in December of 2022, after 9 years at 60%.
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Chocolate, dates, nuts and smoke; like you just set fire to an Eatmore Bar. Plus molasses, black forest cake with boozy cherries, and a Blueberry Tea cocktail made with Amaretto and Grand Marnier.
Palate: So big and bold, but oh so enticing at the same time. More molasses, burnt orange peel, raisins, dates, blueberries and blackberries – even cassis liqueur, plus roasted walnuts, dark chocolate and tiramisu.
Finish: Fruity, smoky, and a bit astringent, along with a slight bitterness of cough syrup that actually works.
Comment: When it comes to whisky, I love myself a rollercoaster ride. That is exactly what this Amrut is. It is full of chaos and excitement, and it might leave you feeling dizzy at the end.
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