There were more than 50 booths of whiskey brands on display at the Whiskies of the World event September 22 at Silver Street Studio, ranging from known spirits such as Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels, and Bulleit, to the not-so-known, like Amrut.
Based in Bangalore, India, Amrut is a family-owned distillery of whiskey and rum founded in 1948. The whiskey distillation began in 1987 with the intention to use what it made in a blended whiskey. At that time the idea of a single-malt whiskey from India seemed odd, but driven in part by the surge in Japanese varieties, Amrut launched India’s first single malt in 2004.
Amrut Fusion, distilled from barley from India and Scotland, was rated the third-finest whiskey in the world in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2010. Its Two Continents won New World Whisky of the Year by Whisky Advocate at its 2011 Whiskey Awards. And as of this year, Texas has been Amrut’s top American location, with the state's Indian community showing strong support.
“I would think, and firmly believe, that the Indian category of single-malt will be as good as Japanese in terms of how popular and strong it will be," said Ashok Chokalingam, Amrut's assistant distiller, at Whiskies of the World. "I am seeing that ... even through my own experience with our products as they’re being recognized better and better with some of the limited expressions selling out in a week."
Chokalingam guided us through tastings of Amrut’s different expressions, including its Single Malt, Fusion, Madeira Finish, and Peated. The single had hints of vanilla on the nose, and a bit of maltiness as well, but Chokalingam had us place our hands on the rim of the glass, robbing it of the cold draft. After a minute, we lifted our hands and the aroma had become much more complex. We nosed hints of banana, caramel, and some citrus notes, which is no surprise as orange is typical in Amrut Single. As for mouthfeel, there’s caramel, honey, toffee, and hints of spice at the end. The flavors combine for a liquor that is easy to sip, especially in these coming chilly months.
And that was just the single malt. Fusion had hints of citrus and creaminess, with fading salt and peatiness, and a sweet finish.
Amrut Single Malt can be found at either Spec’s or Total Wine & More, though Fusion might be a bit harder to find. But seek out their stuff. They're truly blazing a trail, setting a high bar for Indian whiskey.