The subject Whisky in today’s Blog, Amrut Fusion, has received a tremendous amount of attention in the past few years. It has been written about, talked about, debated, argued, dismissed, lauded, praised, and ultimately consumed.
I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of Amrut Fusion almost a year before it’s release, from the International Brand Ambassador for Amrut, Ashok Chokalingham. The initial sample sent to me was at 46%, non chill filtered (topic for a later blog) and with no caramel coloring
A single malt with both peated and non-peated barley, Fusion was crafted to be a balance of both.
Having loved the Amrut Cask Strength I was hoping that Fusion might be bottled a little higher than 46% and was excited to see it at 50% upon release. Sometimes the stars align when crafting a new expression of Single Malt and in this case it would be a defining moment for the Amrut distillery and help to put them firmly on the whisky map for any enthusiast.
Amrut Distillery has been around since 1948, just after India achieved independence from the British.
Owned ever since by the Jagdale family. The distillery is located on the southern outskirts of Bangalore and boasts a height of 3000 feet above sea level and a year round average temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, without the humidity of the coastal cities.
This unique climate offers a much higher degree of whisky to barrel interaction through increased evaporation (The Angel’s Share).
The result is complex balanced whisky at a much younger age than can be achieved at sea level and a much lower average temperature. The Angel’s Share in Scotland runs roughly at 2 to 3% a year compared with Bangalore at 10 to 18% depending on where the barrel is located in the warehouse.
Amrut sources most of their barley from the Punjab region in Northern India along with a percentage from Rajasthan. Known as the breadbasket of India, nestled at the base of the Himalayan mountain range, agriculture in the Punjab boasts some of the most fertile land in the world fed by nutrient rich snow melt.
There is often a lot of debate over how much different barley strains effect the flavor of Single Malt. Given the diversity achieved in beer it would be hard to convince that different barley does not imbue unique flavors.
75% of Fusion is Single Malt made with this lush Indian barley, malted and distilled in India into Single Malt then aged in mostly ex-bourbon barrels with a small amount of New American oak thrown into the mix. 25% of Fusion is Single Malt distilled at Amrut using imported Scottish barley that is peated and malted in Scotland then shipped half way around the world to Amrut. The majority of Scottish distilleries also order their barley in this way as very few distilleries malt their own anymore.
Once both these components have reached about 3 and a half years old they are combined into the same barrel for a further 6 to 8 months to create the Fusion effect.
As mentioned in my Blog #2 “Stop and smell the Mangos” everyone has their own unique palate and for me the bottom line is “if you taste it……it’s in there”. What comes below is my own take on the flavor of Fusion. You will have to find out for yourself what your “buds” make of it.
How I tasted it: Glass was a Spiegelau Whisky glass which is a tulip lipped tumbler that is great for warming whisky and especially good for higher strength whiskies. I warmed the whisky in the glass over a mug of hot water letting the steam gently warm it slightly above room temperature.
Nose: Complex – requiring some time to distinguish individual notes. Sweet wispy smoke enveloping gentle citrus and clove. Present but not overpowering alcohol. Inviting and intriguing, gets the “buds” buzzing in anticipation.
Taste: Initially soft and pallet enveloping, undertones of fruit mince pie with its dried fruits, sweet spices and biscuit crust. Remarkable balance between fruit, smoke and alcohol especially considering the 50% strength.
Finish: The flavors mix and dance like pairs ice skating champions, slowly making their way across the entire arena. Harmony and balance personified. Tiny explosions of spice add flair to the routine and culminate in a lingering smoky sultry embrace that reveals to all that this Fusion is a match made in Heaven.
Long after the lights and the music subside the memory of the dance lingers on, stirring even more respect for the skill of the choreographer. Well done Amrut.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share your Amrut Fusion experience.
“A la sature”