Following last months delve into the Indian Subcontinent, the first question that popped up in my mind was how the Rampur Select would stand against its more popular counterparts, the Amrut Fusion and the Paul John Edited. Now, all of these expressions were relatively new to the whisky world with each setting foot only a few years before the other in the Single Malt arena. Given their experience and exposure to both local and foreign markets, it would appear that none of the distillers would have a real unfair advantage over the other, except possibly the Paul John distillery which was set up somewhere in the mid 90s, the others being around since the 1940s.
Now, for an unbiased comparison, I went into this tasting blind. And to ensure I had minimum ‘reminiscent palate memory,’ I hadn’t had the Fusion nor the Edited for a while and it had been over four weeks since I had sipped on the Rampur; so though not the most accurate, I believe it should do.
So with the stage set (*drum roll*), we now have the Triads battling it out for ‘Indian Malt Monarchy’ under the guise of Whisky #1, #2 and #3.
Eye : All three expressions were non chill filtered and of natural colour; so what you see is what you get! Points to all three here!!
#1 : Darkest of the lot ; Deep Gold
#2 : Lightest between the three.
#3 : A shade lighter than #1, although just noticeably.
Whisky #1 : Quite straightforward and bold. Brown sugar, cream and bits of cantaloupe are followed by sherried influences and fruity red stone fruits that greet the nose. Savoury, yet spicy with a vanilla like sweetness hovering in and around.
Whisky #2 : Lush dark chocolate complimented by subtle nuances vanilla. Nail thinner giving that bit of heat on the nose, some earthiness complimented with old spice, moist oak and red wine. Quite heavy on he nose.
Whisky #3: Soft, calmer and subtle, definitely has some complexity, creamy vanilla biscuits, fruity and floral notes coupled with papayas. Some sherried influences infused with a hint of earthiness, orange peels and green pepper.
Verdict : #3 wins this round, showing off a lovely play of aromatics, both soothing and fragrant; #2 and #1 were bolder with some good strong punches but were unable to keep pace; both taking second place.
Whisky #1: Oily and viscous; dried fruits with a wholesome delivery of tropical notes. Strong hints of vanilla, chocolates and brown sugar infused with oak, ginger shavings, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of pepper.
Whisky #2: Light yet heavy with a mix of cranberries and vanilla. Quite viscous on the palate with dried fruits and some cantaloupe showing face.
Whisky #3: Cherries with a lot of fruity sweetness, almost a candy like nuance with bits of melon. Some char and oak, finished with an orange zest.
Verdict : #3 was a bit too sweet for my liking with the orange zest a bit off putting; felt the whisky possibly needed some more time to mature and balance itself. Certainly not bad, but did not have the stage presence as the other two. #1 was bolder, vivid with wood and vanilla being the highlight while #2, was almost at par, viscous on the palate, with dried fruits giving a good balance of sweetness.
#1: Red wine and wood; with vanilla and peppery notes; warm | Medium to long
#2 : Spicy yet sweet with some of those melon like flavours coming through | Medium to long
#3 : Earthy and Sweet | Medium
Verdict: #1 clawed here for the lead, thanks to a more flavourful finish with the others trailing behind.
Winner : With a nose that is second to none – soft, subtle, almost like spring, the #3 however falls short with a sub par palate. Whiskies #1 and #2 though seemed “cork” to “cork” on the nose, this difference however began to widen once the effects on the palate and the finish were realised; complexity and breadth defined victory, revealing the true winner – #1!!
From the Shadows :
Whisky #1: Amrut Fusion – ABV: 50%, AUD $94
Whisky #2: Paul John Edited – ABV: 46%, AUD $100
Whisky #3: Rampur Select – ABV: 43%, AUD $89