If you’re wondering what the Amrut Amaze is, you’re probably not alone. It is not a regular release from the distillery, though it is an official bottling. It was bottled for the Single Malt Amateurs Club in India in November and only made available to their members. I am not one of these members. I read about the whisky when Serge reviewed it last year. As I was going to be in India in December, I reached out to Hemanth Rao, the founder of the club and asked if it would be possible to taste a sample and possibly buy a bottle. I suspect the bottles were long sold out by the time I got in touch with him (via O.W.I member, Billy Abbott) but he was kind enough to arrange for a sample to get to me in Delhi. I’m not sure what the cask details are but I assume it is a single cask. This release is said to be the first of three through the club. It was priced very fairly at Rs. 3300 (or about $44)—which makes me think I should probably try to become a member of the club before the next two releases hit. Anyway, I was looking forward to tasting it, and here are my notes.
Amrut Amaze (50%; bottled for the Single Malt Amateurs Club India; from a sample from the club)
Nose: That very Amrut mix of rich malt, powdered ginger and rosewood. Just a hint of smoke behind it (though it might just be the oak). More aromatic as it sits, with dried flowers and citrus (a mix of dried orange peel and fresh lime). Fruitier as it sits with cherry and plum joining the oak. Water pushes the oak back and pulls out more flowers and fruit along with vanilla and some pastry crust.
Palate: Leads with the oak, though it’s not tannic. The richer notes from the nose are less in evidence here. Nice texture at 50%. Picks up some power on the second sip and it’s somewhere between malt whisky, bourbon and armagnac now: oak and spice are the key notes. Gets a little sweeter as it sits but it’s still very oak-driven. Okay, let’s see what water does. Water pushes the oak back here too, pulling out brighter notes of citrus.
Finish: Long. It’s the oak that speaks loudest here, but here too it’s not at all tannic: a little peppery bite and then some cinnamon. As on the palate with water, getting sweeter as it goes.
Comments: I’m not sure what Serge means by “high-end sweet curries” but I didn’t get any kind of curry note here. I think the decision to bottle at 50%—which may also have been made to maximize yield for club members—was a good one; the oak might have been a bit too much at the standard high-strength at which cask strength Amrut usually emerges. I thought the nose was excellent—the palate and finish were not quite at that level, though both picked up with water.
Rating: 87 points.
Thanks to Hemanth for the sample!