In my review of Amrut’s Portonova on Wednesday I mentioned that I’d opened it for an Amrut tasting that also featured three single casks of different kinds. This was the one we started with. Whisky made from unpeated barley, matured for just over 4 years in a single bourbon cask—this was a EU release. I’m not sure why we don’t get these single cask Amruts in the US (unless, of course, we do and I’m just misinformed as usual). I saw one on sale in Montreal when I was there in March. Is this yet more evidence of the relatively immature market for single malt whisky in the US? Or are we poised to get some too soon?
As per the label this cask lost a staggering 42% of its volume during that brief maturation. I think we have to forgive Amrut the fact that they charge higher amounts than we would in the abstract like to see asked for young whisky. Anyway, let’s get right to it.
Amrut 4, 2009 (60%; bourbon cask 3445; from my own bottle)
Nose: A little closed as you would expect at this strength but the trademark Amrut powdered ginger comes through, as does a good dose of malt and some polished oak. After a bit some fruit begins to emerge: a bit of apricot, some dried orange peel. Gets brinier too. With even more time there’s more fruit: plum jam now. With water there’s some butterscotch and some milky coffee; much sweeter now and more than a bit cloying.
Palate: Sweet arrival with the malt, some honey and the powdered ginger. Quite spicy too and pretty hot. Okay, let’s give it some air and time. Quite a bit later there’s a lot more citrus here as well but it gets sweeter too, and it’s a somewhat cloying, simple sweetness. Time for some water. Water pushes the ginger and citrus back and emphasizes the sweeter notes: malt, brown sugar. With more time the ginger comes back and the whole gets quite ginger-biscuity.
Finish: Long. It’s the spice that lingers at first with the sweet notes on the edges of my tongue. With time and water the citrus hangs around longer; sweeter here too with water.
Comments: Looking at my notes for the regular release Amrut Cask Strength (Batch 2) I see quite a bit of overlap. On the whole, though, I don’t like this as much: just a little too sweet for me and the palate well below the nose.
Rating: 85 points.