I’m a big fan of Amrut and a big fan of high quality, intensely sherried whisky (and, unlike some whisky geeks, I quite like PX sherry cask whiskies as well). And the only other sherried Amrut I’ve had (the Intermediate Sherry) I like a lot. So this purchase was a bit of a no-brainer when I came across it. I did not, of course, come across it in the US. For some reason we don’t get these single cask Amruts here—maybe this will change? Those who keep company with brand ambassadors may know if it will or the reasons why it won’t.
I was particularly curious to see how this full-term matured (though, of course, not a very long full term given the climate issues) sherry cask Amrut would compare to the more complicatedly made Intermediate Sherry which only spends a portion of its maturation period in sherry casks (what type? I don’t know). I opened it for an Amrut vertical I hosted for some friends a month or so ago. We all liked it but I have to admit that, given the high strengths of all the whiskies we drank, they ran together in my mind not very long after the tasting concluded—and I’ve not gone back to it yet since. And so I’m interested to see what I make of it tonight when I have more time to give to it.
Amrut 4, 2009 (62.8%; PX sherry cask 2701; from my own bottle)
Nose: The usual Amrut powdered ginger and old polished wood (rosewood), with a dusting of cocoa powder and quite a bit of malt. Not closed at all despite the high strength but the alcohol burn makes it hard to get too close to it. There’s some cherry liqueur in there too and a bit of tobacco as well. Blind, I would not so far have thought this had had anything to do with PX sherry. With a bit of air there’s some dried orange peel now and a bit of dark honey, but this is going to need water. With a few drops of water there’s some camphor and some apricot to go with the orange. After a minute or so there’s some toffee as well.
Palate: Starts out with the orange peel but then gets pretty sweet (the honey) and malty. Hot but approachable. Brighter on the second sip and there’s more wood too now—what there isn’t again is any sign of this being a PX sherry cask. Another sip or two and I’ll see what water does. Nope, nothing new: bright orange peel mixed in with peppery ginger. With water there’s less ginger, less wood (and, of course, far less burn) and the orange gets more lemony. Everything is in far better balance and there’s a butterscotch/toffee note emerging as well. Sweeter now.
Finish: Long. The sweet and malty notes fade out slowly as the ginger picks back up. With water the citrus hangs around much longer and it feels now like I’ve been sucking on some orange/lemon hard candy for a while.
Comments: I’m not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it. This is not the PX sherry profile you might expect from Glendronach or even Lagavulin’s Distiller’s Edition: there’s none of the rich, dark, sticky sweetness you find there; this is an altogether brighter affair. Indeed, it’s less sherried than the Intermediate Sherry which does not spend all its life in a sherry cask. It is very good though and that’s what really matters.
Rating: 87 points.