A tribute to the Portuguese and its influence on India, this whisky takes inspiration from one of the many trading centres situated in southern India along the Coromandel coast, the Portnovo – modern day Parangipettai.
The Portnova, isn’t shy in giving away its DNA, both in terms of colour or its name. Matured initially in a combination of virgin and ex-bourbon american barrels, further aged in Portuguese port casks and then finished in ex-bourbon barrels, this expression is untainted and non chill filtered, bottled at cask strength.
The casing is body hugging with a unique top that slips in and out neatly into the box, the insides of the top has space carved up just enough for the top of the bottle to fit snugly giving the overall packaging something to talk about. The bottle however is mundane and traditional Amrut with no frills, bells or whistles, just the good ol ‘barley-water-yeast’ wizardly concoction housed neatly in glass.
ABV : 62.1%
Eye: Mahogany | No artificial colouring, NCF
Nose : Caramel and brown sugar with the richness of raisins, grapes, prunes and dried figs. Moist oak and dark rum is coupled with cocoa, topped with coconut shards, bits of red apples and mild orange zest. As you head towards the trailing end of the nosing, you are greeted with mild peppery spice, which evolves into all spice, menthol with hints of cardamon and ginger peels.
Taste : Barley and cream with a mild sweetness mixed with heavy influences of port in the form of sultanas, rum ‘n raisins, chocolates and dates. Traces of melon and earthy oak are followed by pepper, licorice and with stronger notes of clove.
Finish : Medium to long – dark chocolate, port and cloves.
Taste: More palatable, the spirit is sweeter and mellow, a rich fusion of vanilla, cherries, black currents and red apples. The tawny, clove mix is less pronounced, substituted by nutmeg, pepper and earthy oak which on dilution seems more apparent.
Finish : Medium to long | Woody, some nutmeg sweetness with hints of tawny and plums.
The Portnova in its pure form is a bit confusing, with flavours held tightly together. It took a few sips to get acclimatized to the higher proof, after which the spirits shows its self off very nicely. Drop in a splash of water and the whisky now opens up almost lustfully, quite like biting into a moist rum drizzled raisin cake, seasoned with nutmeg with a luscious mix of dried fruits.
Complex with a host of flavours, this is a Port bomb with no shortage of spice and subtle tropical nuances indicating the influence of both port and american oak. At $174 AUD, this is a bit pricey but considering it is bottled at cask strength and isn’t widely available makes it a fair buy.
Preference: A drizzle of water.