Amrut “Aatma” 7, 2011, Ex-Bourbon

Let’s do a week of reviews of whiskies from Amrut. I recently acquired samples of releases from a series Amrut calls Aatma—the Hindi/Sanskrit word for soul. These are all single casks, and all seem to be from different cask types. As far as I can tell from looking at Whiskybase listings, today’s release was the first of the bunch and it seems to have been an exclusive for the American market. I’d guess it cost a pretty penny. It’s a single ex-bourbon barrel, filled in late 2011 and bottled in mid-2019. Which makes it 7 years old. Amrut’s marketing would have it that this is equivalent to 21 years of aging in Scotland but you don’t have to be as soulless as me to recognize this as just that: marketing. This cask was filled with spirit made from peated Scottish barley. It’s been a while since I’ve had Amrut’s regular peated cask strength release (do they still put that out?); I’d imagine at 7 years, this cask is a bit older than the whiskies that make up the standard Amrut releases. I am pleased to note though that it was not bottled at the ludicrous strength of the last Amrut Peated CS I reviewed, which topped the scales at 62.8% abv. At 56.5% this one is downright civilized in comparison. Let’s see what it’s like.

Amrut “Aatma” 7, 2011, Ex-Bourbon (56.5%; cask 3792; from a bottle split)

Nose: Mildly phenolic peat smoke off the top and then the familiar Amrut polished rosewood and powdered ginger comes up from below. Saltier on the next few sniffs and there’s some char in the smoke now. The phenols expand as it sits (iodine, Dettol). With more time there’s a fair bit of roasted malt and some vanilla as well; the phenols recede into the background. With water the roasted malt turns into a biscuity sweetness; the phenols make a mild comeback now.

Palate: Comes in as predicted by the nose with ink, disinfectant and salt leading the way. Very approachable at full strength with rich texture. Sweeter with each sip and after a bit, more oak as well. The smoke is less phenolic here too with time, with sweeter char coming to the fore. Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes the oak back and pulls out some acid to go with the sweeter, charred smoke.

Finish: Long. The phenolic smoke and salt go on for a long time. Develops as on the nose and palate as far as the smoke is concerned but the salt lingers. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Looking at my notes for Batch 9 of the regular Peated CS, this seems to very clearly be a sibling, even though it was released almost a decade later. Which is to say, it’s very good. As with that one, I liked this better with a few drops of water. Does it come across like a 21 yo whisky? No.

Rating: 87 points.



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