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On October 10, 2013, the following review on All Things Whisky rocked the whisky world:
This was a review of, at the time, the rarest Amrut whisky ever released. At 144 bottles it immediately became unobtainium, but like most of Curt’s reviews, I tasted this vicariously through his words.
What followed was one of the most unexpected storms of controversy I had read up until then. People debating whether it should hav been released if “no one will be able to taste it” and so on. One irritated Ontario resident had the gall to write:
“At Disney World, all you have to do is ask to get something, but I don’t think it works with single malts. Let’s try: Ashok, if you’re reading this, I’m in Toronto and I’d like to taste it too. Can I have a sample?”
To my amazement, he replied that if I came to the 2014 Spirit of Toronto, he would try to have a sample for me.
I made sure I was at SOT, my first year there (apparently I missed out on a Port Ellen at the Islay bar), and I was at his Amrut masterclass where I tasted some expressions that cemented the distillery as one of my favourites, if not my favourite. And he was entertaining as “heck”, using language I would never have expected from a brand ambassador. He taught us to cradle the glass and cover it, what I have since termed the “Ashok Manoeuvre”, warming the spirit to release new levels of greatness.
At the end of the masterclass, I lagged behind and introduced myself and he gave me a bottle labelled GA. I tasted it a couple of months later with @nosebleed (July 26, 2014, if I am correct), and have poured it for 2 other friends since. I may have sipped from their glass but here, 5 years later, is the second pour I have taken for myself.
This expression, tasted in a Highland Whisky glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. The Ashok manoeuvre was employed to bring out all possible flavours.
Fruity. Sweet syrup. Some baking spices. Sweet apple. Ripe pineapple. Ashok manoeuvre brings out an explosion of fruit. A hint of something savoury in the background. There are things I smell that I just can’t put into words. Water seems to mute the fruitiness of the nose a bit, bringing out some savoury notes. (21/25)
Hot and spirity on first sip. Sweet. Fruity. Tropical fruit punch. Spicy warmth in the development. Some pepper. Effervescent (what @paddockjudge calls “Whisky pop rocks”). The Ashok manoeuvre makes it richer and fruitier. Water makes it hotter and spicier and not as fruity., but the grapefruit pith really stands out in the development. (21.5/25)
Peppery, a hint of grapefruit pith. The tannins sit with you for quite a while. Hint of citrus with water and warming (22.5/25)
Nicely balanced. Nose and palate complement each other. Richer without water and with warmth. (22/25)
Score: Neat - 89.5/100 With Water: 87/100
Interesting, although I mention mango, my 2014 notes are not too different from these tasting notes. The sample seems to have stood up well over this time. I gave it an 89 then.
This is not the best Amrut I’ve ever had. There are a few expressions I would rate higher. But this is probably the rarest whisky I’ve ever tasted (not the rarest spirit - that goes to the brandy from Masan, Xinjiang Province in China). Thanks again to Ashok Chokalingham for this once in a lifetime opportunity.