Infuse one of the world’s largest whisky consuming countries with high disposable income and a limited availability of true single malts. And you’ve a playground that though competitive has great potential. This conduit allows distilleries to take advantage of the Indian market, one that is still very nascent, amateur and far from ripe, a hot pot that will gladly gobble innovation, trial and invention spewing out newer distilleries, expressions and the likes.
Amrut is probably the pioneer here and with a slurry of expressions they’ve maintained a good credit score. The ‘Single Malts of India‘ is a first, where Amrut has honed another feather, that of an independent bottler. The Neidhal, a limited release of 12,000 bottles was released around mid September, 2021 with its name taking origins from ancient Tamil texts between 300 BC and 300 AD, signifying the Oceans and neighbouring regions around the coast and its influence on life and livelihood.
This peated expression, keeping to its name was procured from a distillery situated around the coastal plains; Amrut then fathered the spirit leveraging their own barrels to season and enhance its inherent maritime DNA by infusing their own charachter and profile. The resulting expression enforces some of the distillery’s traditional flavours. Unfortunately, there isn’t any inference I could find as to where the distillate was sourced from or how long it was matured and in what casks. Nevertheless, the whisky is bottled with no added colouring and isn’t chill filtered, as is the case with most expressions from the distillery.
ABV : 46%
Eye : Deep Copper | Non Chill filtered, Natural colour
Nose : Peat and smoke interleaved with hints of vanilla and charred papayas. Some brine with tropical nuances, mild hints of honey, cereal notes, a whiff of dried fruits and ginger peels. Wood and cardamom with an earthiness that echoes through much of the nosing.
Taste : Starts off with vanilla and cantaloupe, followed by spices and very woody flavours. Some grapefruit on the palate that lends a bitterness is soon replaced by some sweetness, green pears and tropical notes. Leather and an almost sage like after-taste, with cereal and dried ginger shards.
Finish : Medium | Cantaloupe, wood and vanilla with a mild pinch of ginger.
This one’s interesting and I say that because I love the delivery of peat on the nose and the palate. The peat is also complimented by rich maritime flavours, giving off its coastal traits. The finish has a good play of savoury and sweet nuances, but if I were to critique, it would be the limited breadth to the expression. There’s surely tropical Amrut notes that brushes against this whisky, however I would have loved a bit more flare and colour. To me, it was the peat and maritime that was the hero here, and that was pretty much it.
At AUD $150, it is a bit expensive but still unique and different, offering a lovely sanctuary for those who crave for peatier expressions. The spirit is comforting and very relaxing but if you were looking beyond the peaty USP, you might find yourself in unknown territory as there was just that bit missing, that fails to push the spirit to the next level. Overall a good peated expression, but I would assume one possibly goes in to this one with more of a maritime and phenolic expectation!