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My first taste of this was at a Binny’s in Chicago. At the time you could still get samples at most of the stores if you just asked for a taste (I think they have ceased this activity sadly). At the time I was not in the right state of mind and I remember being shocked, offended, and hating the sample. So I bought some Ardbegs and Laphroaigs instead. A year later I was in a shop in Tennessee that happened to have miniatures at a very reasonable price so I picked up three 50mL bottles of this stuff. All three are from the same batch. I have tried them against different whiskies at three different times. The first time I scored it an 86. The second time I scored it 89. The last time I scored it a 91.5. I really don’t believe that my 3 sample bottles were different in any way (like one was off or something). Rather, I believe that my mood that evening and the other 2 or 3 whiskies I was drinking with the sample affected my rating. Here are the notes from the 91.5 score as I believe this is my most mature opinion on this particular batch – but that could always change!
Nose: Cinnamon and anise seed straight away (juniper?). Cardamom, ginger, curry, and other spices you associate with India (or my impressionable imagination). Spices on the fore; dark fruit on the back; with a very low gear level of peat underneath it all. Very enjoyable: plumbs, dates, raisins, and figs and then crazy spicy nose. With times notes of grass, hay, and apple cider. This is obviously like no scotch I have ever had!
Taste: Sweet spices and mango. Fruity and spicy. There is a hint of peat smoke and saw dust in the background. Water doesn’t help
Finish: Big salt intake of breath with a medium wave of peat, sea salt and tawny port. Very fruity with a strong peat fire tinge to it all. Tons of spices: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, anise seed, nutmeg, figs, dates, and prunes. Now berries, figs, and other baked fruits. Medium finish but very interesting. Very subtle but with a bit of a muscular malt thing. Lovely Water only calms it down – but still spicy!
Complexity, Balance: Very, very complex. The balance is great also. Full points for complexity. I can really tell that this is an Indian malt from all the spices and dark fruit. It is well balanced from nose to finish. The balance of the fruit, spice, and peat is superb.
Color, Body, Aesthetic experience: Light hay: white wine. Medium-full body. I like this bottle a lot. I know it is quite young and so I am sad at the price. However, I like the style of the bottle, the name, the font, and the ABV. I love that they are putting batch numbers and dates on the bottles (even the miniatures)! It states proudly through design and color that it is Indian whisky while at the same time standing firmly in the Scottish tradition of single malt. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Conclusion: I actually really like this bottle. I will buy a full bottle for certain now . . . next time I can find it for a reasonable price ($50-60). It will be a great whisky for that price! I am sure I won’t find the same batch again, but now I am more then willing to try.