Amrut is now so identified with all their one-off or otherwise limited edition whiskies that their core line-up seems to get lost in the shuffle. Well, maybe that’s not true of the Fusion, but the basic 46% releases and even the rather good cask strength releases certainly don’t seem to get talked about much these days. That’s a shame as the cask strength versions, at least, are rather good. I’m as guilty as anyone else as all my Amrut reviews so far have been of the more exotic/hard to get bottles. While I don’t have any of the 46% bottles at hand I do have large reference samples left from my bottles of the regular and peated CS releases from a couple of years ago. This review is of Batch 2 of the regular CS (unpeated) and will be followed soon by a review of Batch 4 of the peated CS. This was bottled in January 2010–I have no idea what batch number they’re up to now.
Amrut CS, Batch 2 (61.8%; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: Rich (powdered) gingery, malty sweetness. Some wood too–first polished and then dusty. With a little more time some dark citrus begins to emerge–dried tangerines or may be it’s Bergamot–along with some chocolate. The fruit gets really quite intoxicatingly intense and there’s some honey in there too now and some biscuity malt. Water pulls out more of the dusty wood at first but there’s also some milk chocolate and then some sharper, more gingery citrus.
Palate: Not as hot as you might expect from the strength. Not as intense as the nose but along similar lines: sweet, malty notes followed by some wood and then a big burst of late-breaking citrus. Water brings out more floral notes and more tropical fruit–some kiwi, hints of mango. And the wood is more intense now (though not off-puttingly so) and more spicy.
Finish: Long. That late-breaking citrus just keeps going, getting some tannic bite as it finally peters out. With water the spicy wood hangs around too.
Comments: Despite the high strength, the nose seems better neat and is really quite lovely; the palate, however, is much better with water–so sniff it for a good long while before adding water to drink it? On the whole, this is very nice stuff. If you’ve never tried it and it’s available for a reasonable price near you, I don’t think you’d be sorry. If the Scotch industry could give us NAS whisky of this quality I’d not complain. Yes, yes, I know it’s not quite the same thing at the production level but this is also very good value (especially when you consider how much more spirit Amrut lose during their necessarily shorter maturation).
Rating: 87 points.