When I first read about this expression in 2015 (@maltActivist’s review is below) I was intrigued, but at the prices I had seen for it I wasn’t keen on searching out a bottle. Reading about it on other platforms once in a while, I became resigned to it being one of those I would never taste.
Then @Cricklewood saw some sales in Calgary and my brother in law, @Nosebleed, went and picked up some well-priced and discounted bottles of Portonova and Intermediate Sherry (as we have heard they may become more scarce). Sitting there was Naarangi, just begging to be taken home. Though not the best price we’ve seen, there was a 10% discount for $500 in purchases which (between me and @paddockjudge) we were able to come close enough to (the discounted bottles didn’t count per se, but because we got them too we were given the 10%), and one of my holy grail whiskies was landed.
Naarangi is first matured in ex-bourbon casks and then dumped into specially prepared ex-sherry casks. These casks held sherry into which orange peels were thrown and allowed to season the cask for 3 years. The whisky was matured a further 3 years. There is no age statement on the bottle but this suggests that this is one of the more lengthy maturations for Amrut. Sadly, it is bottled at 50%, which for any other distillery would be considered a step up.
I opened this with my brother in law on Halloween night, and we were both quite impressed with it. It eclipsed the single barrel Sherry cask bottle we tried the same night. I decided to present it as my “leading bottle” at my EPIC TASTING on November 10. It must have been a it because when I poured it tonight it was just over half full.
This expression 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.
Sweet, warm spices, orange peel oil, sherry, dark fruits. Cherry. Something savoury that I can identify but not name. So layered and complex. with the Ashok manoeuvre the nose becomes even more alive, with cloves, as in mulled wine. Fantastic! Water has no effect.
Sweet, a little spirity. red wine. White pepper on the development. Lots of spices. Ashok manoeuvre brings out the spiciness and makes it hotter. Water makes it more bitter, and with the Ashok manoeuvre I get a hint of menthol. (21/25)
Medium long, orange, spice. A little pepper. With water the finish is more bitter (21/25)
The nose is sweeter and more syrupy than the palate.
With time, the sample with water smooths out a bit and becomes a pleasant sipping dram.
Score: Neat - 90.5/100 With Water: 88.5/100
One thing that really impresses me is that they pulled this off without Naarangi tasting like a sweet orange whisky liqueur. This tastes like a whisky, like a single malt. It is a fantastic single malt.
Sadly it is very expensive. If I could I would rush out and buy a case. Given its premium pricing I may have to make do with one more…
I would SO like to try this at cask strength!
Here is @MaltAcivist’s review: