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Amrut SIngle Cask - LCBO exclusive Sherry Cask

If this is what DOESN’T make the cut…

5 387

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

25th Mar 2019

1

  • Nose
    ~
  • Taste
    ~
  • Finish
    ~
  • Balance
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  • Overall
    87

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

In 2014 I attended Spirit of Toronto for the express reason of attending a Masterclass with Ashok Chokalingam presenting some Amruts, including some LCBO exclusive single casks. To be transparent, he had promised me a sample of the first very limited “Greedy Angels” bottling if I showed up (one day I may review that, it’s the first expression in which I ever tasted grapefruit pith).

The masterclass was great, and all the expressions delicious (Single cask bourbon, sherry, Portonova, peated, Peated CS). I remember liking this one more than the bourbon SC. But the prices (over $120) were out of my league at the time. The LCBO exclusives were, as we say in medicine, lost to follow-up.

In July 2015 I got a message on Connosr from @thecyclingyogi that they had just gone on sale. I literally dropped everything and drove to the nearest store that listed both. 5 of each (sherry and bourbon. But the sherry was $10 cheaper and harder to get (and only 2 were left). I ended up with quite a few of the bourbon SCs so I have already opened 2 of them., but because I had recorded that I liked the sherry ones better I saved them.

Finally last fall I opened this one with my B-I-L, and planned to present it at an EPIC TASTING. But there were so many other good whiskies this one didn’t make it to the table.

On March 24 I finally got a chance to sit down to do some reviews. I decided to catch up on my Amruts. Also in the line-up were the 2007 CS edition and a peated port-matured bottling that was available in Calgary.

This one was distilled June 2009 and bottled January 2014. Total evaporation was 40%! It does not say if it is cask strength, but this is bottle 109/120 of cask 2696.

This bottle was just over half full, and gassed after each use (opened Oct. 31). This expression was allowed it to settle into a Highland Whisky Glass after which I took my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. I did the nosing of all three expressions before the tasting of all three, and then the impressions with water.


Nose: 22.5/25

Sweet, red wine, slight savoury note. Welch’s grape juice. Heavy syrup. Ashok manoeuvre (warming by hand, covered) brings out some alcohol nip, cinnamon and dark dried fruits, prunes and raisins. Hint of apple peaking through, then some of the tropical fruits characteristic of the distillery’s signature. Very nice nose. Water brings out a slight savoury green herbal note. With warming I get a hint of mint and I notice the dark dried fruits are not as prominent. (no change in score)

Taste: 22/25

Sweet arrival. Sherry is very prominent. Slightly spirity. Peppery in the development. Ashok manoeuvre brings out more sherry but also the underlying spirit’s complexity. Water thins the mouthfeel a little, makes it a little sweeter, a little less complex. (21/25)

Finish: 22/25

Long. Pepper. Astringent. Shorter and less astringent with the Ashok Manoeuvre.

Balance: 21/25

Nose and palate align. Overall a bit sweet. The sherry overwhelms the spirit a little.

Score: Neat - 87.5/100 With Water: 86.5/100


After finishing all three sets of tasting notes I put what was left of the three pours (roughly 10 cc each) into one glass, and let it marry for a few minutes (including some time using the “modified” Ashok method (warmth by computer fan). It’s an interesting mixture. It seems to get the best from each expression. More complexity on the nose, more wine and a little less peat on the palate, with a rich backbone that I think comes from the CS. This one would definitely score in the high 80s.


I note with interest that while this is quite a good whisky, I scored it significantly lower than LCBO exclusive bourbon cask I reviewed a while back (91). I stand by both scores. The bourbon single cask expressions I’ve tasted are much more refined and complex. This is a little over-sherried and immature. My guess is that my palate has matured beyond sherry bombs since 2014.

Another quality offering from a quality distillery. If an 87 point whisky doesn’t make the cut to be served at a tasting, you know I must keep great company…

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3 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Yes, "Amrut" translates to "nectar of the gods", "nectar of life" or "drink of the gods" with good reason.

@Nozinan six weeks from now it will have been 5 years since that 2014 Spirit of Toronto Amrut Masterclass. You and I met for the first time that evening, and I then introduced you to Tom Alexander. You, Tom, and I were 3 of 30 or so in that Amrut Class, given by Ashok Chockalingam. My pantheon of whisky figures who have impressed me greatly is quite small, consisting of Ashok Chockalingam, Dave Pickerell, and Mark Brown, CEO of Sazerac Company. My question to you is this: what do you know about Ashok's status at Amrut? My recollection was that he was next in line to become the Master Distiller at Amrut. Is this still likely to occur in the future?

Here are two nice little articles about Amrut:

whiskytower.se/surrinder-kumar-master-disti…

blog.thewhiskyexchange.com/2018/10/…

It is still true that if you gave me three distilleries only from which to consume whisky for the rest of my life, those three would be Amrut, Ardbeg, and Buffalo Trace. My peated selections could all come from Ardbeg and Amrut. I would be happy with wined whiskies from Amrut and Ardbeg. I could be happy with unpeated malt from Amrut alone. And Buffalo Trace? Sure, Buffalo Trace would furnish me my Pappy Van Winkle, William Larue Weller, Thomas Handy Rye, George T. Stagg, and 20 other products.

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor I wonder if it would be worthwhile trying to recreate that masterclass experience. I have open bottles of peated CS, Sherry and bourbon single casks, and a mini of the 46% peated. The only thing to sort out is the Portonova.

I'm not on personal terms with Ashok (though he would be a welcome guest at my home any time) and haven't heard from him in 5 years. I assumed he was heavily involved in the company. He is certainly a major asset for them.

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Had a chance to compare the IS (batch 20) to this tonight.

While both were good, I think the IS is a much better expression. Not as spirity, and while both go very well with TJ Cacao nibs, I give this one to the IS

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

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