I readily admit that I enter any Amrut review with a bias and so I disclose this right from the outset. I have never tasted an expression from this distillery that I didn’t enjoy a lot. I take the opportunity to try any expression that is new to me, and I have never been disappointed. But with the riches of variety in Canada (for a while at the LCBO but more consistently in Calgary) I’ve never tried the closest thing that passes for an entry level malt from them.
It seems that in this case, an entry level expression is bottled at 46%. This is the lowest ABV I have seen or tasted of any Amrut. The miniature canister clearly states that it is non-chill-filtered and that there is no colour added. It is NAS but we all know that time in the cask means something completely different in India than it does in Scotland. This is a craft-presented whisky. The bottle itself indicates it contains spirit from batch 53, bottled March 2013.
Is it possible for an Entry Level Amrut to hold its own against its cask strength brethren?
I reviewed this slightly differently than my usual. The initial nosing and tasting were done neat. Because many Amrut expressions transform magically with a little warmth, I then used the modified Ashok Manoeuvre (warming the covered glass with the air expelled from my desktop computer) and smelled and tasted again. Then I let it cool, added water (a few drops only), waited, smelled, tasted, and then rewarmed.
The miniature was freshly opened, and I used one half of the 50 cc contents for this review.
Neat - Fruity, hint of vanilla in the background. Faint whiff of unripe (green) bananas and pineapple. Warming intensifies the fruitiness of the nose, especially the banana. Elegant nose. 22/25
With water, I get a hint of butterscotch or caramel added. Maybe the intensity of the fruit is slightly increased. I like it, but I will leave the same mark .(22/25)
Neat – spicy heat, fruit, sweet arrival drying on the development with a sour tangy note. Definite vanilla, oak. Warming brings out the pineapple and tropical fruit sourness and a richness to the flavour. The mouth-feel is thinner than higher ABV offerings but the flavours, while weaker, are defined if more subtle. 22/25
Water and time make it more spicy. More vanilla, and a little thinner on the mouthfeel. (22/25)
Finish is medium long, dry. With water, and more so with warmth I get a slight hint of grapefruit pith (similar to Greedy Angels but less pronounced) 22/25
Balance: The nose and the palate are very much in synch. 22/25 - With water there is a touch too much spiciness that overwhelms some of the flavours. 21/25
Score Neat: 88/100
With water: 87/100
Overall this is an excellent whisky, one that makes me think of the single cask bottling I have been enjoying since July. It is not quite as complex and it is a little underpowered compared to its “older” siblings of higher ABV.
Would I buy it? I don’t think so. Not because it isn’t good enough. It certainly is. But the flavours of this whisky can be found in the unpeated cask strength and single (bourbon)cask versions, with more intensity, and I have a number of those bottles on hand.
If you are looking for a good example of Amrut and this is the only unpeated bourbon-matured expression available, I highly recommend this. If you have comparable (and affordable) cask strength options available, I would recommend those.
If offered a dram of this I would definitely not say no.