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This is the other Amrut I picked up – 3 sample bottles of 50mL. I have tasted it on three different occasions. The first night it went up against Amrut Fusion 50% and the standard Amrut Peated at 46%. This was the clear winner for me that night. The second time I put it up against Laphroaig 10yo CS Batch 002 56.3%, Ardbeg Supernova SN2010 60.1% and Octomore 1.1 63.5%. The third time I put it up against Ardbeg Still Young 56.2%, a Kilchoman Single Cask at 60.3%, and Octomore 1.1 again.
Here is the thing. I never look at my previous scores. The tastings were far enough apart that couldn’t remember what I had scored it at last (let alone how I scored the 5 categories I use). And in all three tasting the score for this Amrut was consistent: 88.5 then 89 and then 89 again. So this a compilation of my tasting experience with this guy.
Nose: Very fruity and malty. Fruitiest of the night: dark fruits like dates, raisins, black cherries and dried plumbs. Compared to the big cask strength bruisers from Islay this is less peaty by far. This reminds me of a desert peat (or it might just be my impressionable imagination). Perhaps a hint of sherry and blood oranges in the background? But very simple and delicate compared with the others. Definitely a baritone peat tone. Simple, but very enjoyable. I would have liked a touch more peat. However, time really reveals the fruit behind the peat. The fruit and malt are on a gigantic bed of peat. It is a very dry peat – desert peat! (Very fruity with dry peat) With water reduced to 46%: Wow! Way more lemon cake and citrus. There is more peat and smoke as well. Still fruity. Same score.
Taste: Very fruit forward. Everything on the nose is here on the tongue. Now the peat and wood are creeping up on you: sweet dark purple fruits, and some honey and peat. It is nice in a sherry type way, but very quickly it becomes even more intolerable in the mouth then the Supernova. Nice while it lasted. With water reduced to 46%: Way better. The fruit, honey and peat are all still there. But the salt build up is way diminished. Lovely. Some very interesting spices that I feel like you will only find in India . . . nice indeed.
Finish: Nice intake of breath then a huge salt searing peat explosion of sand, peat, and strange spices that are both sweet and bitter rip through your mouth. Now a second wave rips through you. Amazing. Luckily the searing salt doesn’t last forever . . . but it is really overpowering. There are some sherry hints and other dark fruity notes that go well with the searing desert peat storm. It is truly a sand storm of biblical proportions on your tongue. With water reduced to 46%: More dark fruit and sherried then anything else tonight. It is a nice balance of peat and fig compote. Much more accessible with water but you lose that amazing intensity in favor of huge Indian spices. It is a trade off so the score stays the same.
Complexity, Balance: Amazing complexity for such a very young whisky . . . from India! I like it. This would be the one I would buy. This reminds me of a fruity highlander, but with peat. All that fruit is very odd. It is balanced between peat and fruit, dry desert and juicy fruit – and I like it – but next to a young peat bruiser from Islay this is the odd man out.
Aesthetic experience: As with the Amrut Fusion the label states proudly that it is Indian while at the same time standing firmly in the Scottish tradition of whisky. I liked the green trim on the standard peated Amrut version better then the gray on parchment of the cask strength version. However, I LOVE that that it is cask strength AND at 62.8%!! This is a monster of peat and I love it: not much to hate here. Availability and price?
Conclusion: So I really like Cask Strength whiskies. I also love Peat. No secret. I am biased I this way. This has both. It is also a wonderfully different take on peat from Islay and I LOVE the variety. The score for me is a “buy again.” Here is my problem – price (sad to say). The only places I have seen it have it for $75-$80 a bottle. I can pick up Laphroaig 10yo CS or Ardbeg Uigeadail for around $60, and Ardbeg Corry for $72. – all scored much higher for my enjoyment rating. So while I would love to have a bottle my only reason to buy is for the sake of variety – and when I am feeling a little free with my cash. And that probably won’t be anytime soon. I can always use a few more bottles of Uigeadail or Laphroaig 10yo CS around. Still, one day the stars will align and I’ll pick this up.
If you love peated Cask Strength whiskies like I do . . . try it.