Kamet Single Malt Whisky

The month in whisky reviews started on Friday with a 26 yo Speysider (from Dufftown). Let’s take a bit of a left turn for the first full week of June. This week’s reviews will be of whiskies from three different Indian distilleries. This first one is from a distillery whose existence I literally did not know of until I saw this bottle on a shelf at Total Wine in Burnsville, MN: Kamet. They’ve apparently been around for a few years, though I’m not sure how long their whisky has been available in the US. Unlike Amrut and Paul John, and like Rampur, Kamet is located in North India—the name comes from the Himalayan peak (so it says on a label on the back of the bottle, which contains a rather large amount of marketing twaddle—a “tale told by a parrot” and whatnot). Despite knowing nothing about the distillery, I was unable to resist the impulse purchase. With tax it cost me about $70, if I recall correctly, and these days that’s almost a reasonable price. This is, of course, like most Indian malt whisky, an NAS  release. It was matured in a mix of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and ex-wine casks and is bottled at 46% without artificial colour etc. I fully expected to regret this bout of cultural nationalism but the first couple of pours were decent enough. The bottle has sat for a few since I opened it and I’m interested to see what I make of it now.

Kamet Single Malt Whisky (46%; from my own bottle)

Nose: A pleasant arrival with oak and a sweet note that’s somewhat raisiny leading the way. Some tart-sweet fruit behind (apple). With time the tart note moves in the direction of orange peel and there’s some red fruit in there too (cherry). With time the peach shows up on the nose as well. Fruitier—and less oaky—with a few drops of water but now it’s a bit bubblegummy.

Palate: Comes in as indicated by the nose with the oak leading the way and the fruit behind. The fruit expands as I swallow, turning quite musky. Nice drinking strength and texture. On the second sip there’s some dark rum and caramel. More fruit with time (dried orange peel and peach). Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes the oak back and lets out more of the musky fruit.

Finish: Medium-long. The fruit hits a brief tropical crest (hints of passionfruit) before the oak comes back out again—spicier now. The fruit emerges again at the very end (tinned peach). With time the oak is joined by some dark chocolate. Much longer with water and the richer fruit is now emphasized further—mostly peach, some passionfruit, some melon.

Comments: Well, this has improved quite dramatically with the bottle having been open for a few weeks. I would have give the first few pours scores in the 82-84 range—very drinkable but nothing more. Now there’s a lot more fruit and it melds nicely with the oak. And I’m very pleased to say that neither the wine nor the sherry separates at all. If you can find it for the price I paid I’d recommend a buy. In this market this is a very good value for what it is. Interested to see how it progresses with more time in the bottle.

Rating: 87 points.


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