Over the weekend I had the opportunity to brush shoulders with the Amrut Fusion. This relatively young player made an introduction in Glasgow in the year 2004. Coming from the Indian Subcontinent, it had faced stiff competition as most whisky connoisseurs felt Indian whisky to be inferior. A series of blind tasting events changed all that, and fast forward a few years later, this underdog has earned a series of titles under its belt. Jim Murray rated this whisky the 3rd best in the world (2010) as against 4000+ whiskies and gave an impeccable score of 97/100! Again in 2011, success came knocking and this time in the form of the Malt of the year Award.
Amrut’s fusion is made from approximately 70-75% Indian Malted barley while the rest comes from Peated Scottish malts, and hence the name ‘Fusion’. Another thing to point out is that in India, these are bottled at either 42.8% or 46% ABV due to legal prohibitions (varying state to state), while those available abroad have their alcoholic volumes at 50%.
Aesthetics wise, the bottle is certainly no looker! Very much mundane and in no way a sight for sore eyes. But again going by the age ol adage, ‘Never judge a book by its cover’, it’s really what’s inside that matters!
In terms of aging, there is no mention on the bottle, but it seems to be pegged at 3-5 years. The higher temperatures and humidity in India allow the liquor to mature much faster, with the angel’s share also being higher at 12% during its time in the Oak barrels. According to Amrut’s distillers, the maturation for the Amrut fusion should equal that of any 10-12 years aged Scotch. So getting back to the real deal, does this heavyweight deliver, we shall see! *Ding Ding!*
Eye: Dark Gold with a smooth velvety appearance
Nose: The spirit gives an immediate light caramel scent, with an earthy fragrance following through. You do get a whiff of malted barley alongside a bouquet of woody, fruity notes, spices (probably nutmeg) and a hint of honey. There was a kind of light and yet fresh feel which to me was the smell of lemon peels which kind of grew stronger as I swirled the whisky around the glass.
Taste: First impression, my eyes popped! There was a stark difference from the usual stuff I’ve had the opportunity to try. The liquor is silky smooth and certainly has depth. It was sweet, savory and salty, which probably explains why the insides of my mouth began to water. It was light and not overpowering; it had fruity undertones along with the feel of cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and other Indian spices.
Finish: Had a slight oily feel which coated the insides of my mouth. At 42.8% ABV it doesn’t burn and you have the taste of spices and salt lingering on well after you’ve gulped it down, which to me highlights how this whisky has amalgamated well with the alcohol and wood over time.
On adding a splash of water, there was an explosion both intricate and abundant. I’m sure I could smell grapes (or raisins) and bananas. In terms of taste, the flavors were more spread out. There was sweetness, was it toffee or licorice?!? I just couldn’t narrow it down (maybe a reflection of my amateur skills).
All in all, the Amrut Fusion is a darn good whisky, however the price, could be a bit of a pinch! I find this whisky to be a true representation of India and you really should grab yourself a bottle and have this savored by family and friends. I might be novice in terms of tasting, but this one drink is going to be a tough one to beat!
P.S: I wouldn’t drown this drink in water for sure!
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I still need to be convinced with this one… open to trying again however… experience til date not positive. Blind tasted where the entire group actively disliked, also ‘blind’ at an Amrut session with Jim Murray – ‘ok’ but not fab and at a friend’s home where it was the only option where again at best ‘ok’. I begin to wonder if there is something ‘off’ in the bottles I’ve tried or it is simply me??
I totally get what you’re saying; I’ve felt the same too on a few occasions. And go through the same “did I get duped” thought running in my head. I guess it’s just personal taste and preferences! 🙂
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Absolutely! Sometimes it is mood and environment that influences too. 🙂
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