Amrut, as I’ve noted before, engage in all kinds of experiments with casks and maturation; but so do a lot of Scotch distilleries. But as Amrut is not bound by the regulations of the Scotch Whisky Association–which governs the production and marketing of all Scotch whisky–they are also free to run some experiments forbidden by the SWA: in this case, to mature their spirit not just in India but in other places as well (Scotch whisky, by law, has to be matured only in Scotland). The Two Continents is one of at least two whiskies released by the distillery (the Herald is the other that I know of) that is made with spirit matured partly in India and partly in Europe. The idea, I guess, is to marry the effects of “quick” maturation in a hot and humid climate with the effects of maturation in a cooler European climate (the label does not disclose the location). I am not sure how much time it spends in each location, but assuming neither is trivial the effects should be palpable.
(I don’t wish to give marketers any ideas but it seems to me that there are more than two continents to choose from and there’s no reason to stop before we get to Amrut Six Continents. Or perhaps even an Amrut Lost Continent: Ardbeg may send whisky to space, but Amrut could be the first to the ocean floor and back. You scoff now, but when this happens in a few years please remember that you read it here first and allow me to call you as a witness in my lawsuit.)
Amrut Two Continents, Second Ed. (50%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Very Amrut: gingery, malty in a faintly medicinal way. Sweet wood and spicy notes (rye?). After a while, a rich aroma of polished wood. The ginger (powdered, not fresh) never goes away. With more time some lemon and some dark honey join the ginger and it all begins to smell like a jolly folk remedy against the cold. Some sort of crystallized fruit candy. With even more time there’s a very nice creamy, fruity aroma–a citrus pie of some sort. Water brings out a faint note of chicory and concentrates the lemon.
Palate: Sweet and spicy wood. Quite peppery right before the lemon kicks in, and the lemon is now preserved and somewhat musky. Not a huge progression of flavours, but very nice. Water knocks out some of the spicy/peppery bite but doesn’t bring out anything new.
Finish: Long’ish, not terribly interesting. The chief impression is of the lemon again and (not overbearing) wood spice. Water has little to no effect.
Comments: Doesn’t taste as young as the Special Reserve, which may well be because the part maturation in Europe allows this to not actually be as young as that whisky. But it also doesn’t, in other way, taste so very different from that whisky–especially when you adjust for the Special Reserve’s far higher strength; though I must say it’s not as much like the regular Amrut CS. Still, while this is not bad at all, it would need to be a LOT cheaper for me to buy another bottle (I paid about $90 a year or so ago).
If anybody out there has tried this and the Amrut Herald I’d be interested to know how they compare.
Rating: 87 points.