Amrut “Aatma” 5, 2016, Ex-Fino

The promised/expected Tuesday restaurant report will be posted on Wednesday. A busier than expected Monday didn’t leave me enough time to resize what turned out to be a lot of pictures taken over the course of two meals at a Vietnamese restaurant in Burnsville. I’ll work on that tomorrow while waiting for what is forecast to be an epic snowstorm in the upper midwest. Here, in its place today, is the second whisky in my series of reviews of the Amrut “Aatma” releases. While Monday’s ex-bourbon cask was in fact the first of these to be released, this one was not the second; at least three others were bottled between the first and this one. I’m reviewing it second, however, since as an ex-fino sherry cask it is likely to be next on the richness spectrum from Monday’s ex-bourbon cask. Unlike that one, this was made from unpeated Indian barley. It was, however, also a US exclusive and was bottled at the same reasonable strength. Will it be at least as good as the first “Aatma” release? Let’s see.

Amrut “Aatma” 5, 2016, Ex-Fino (56.5%; cask 6212; from a bottle split)

Nose: Slightly rubbery (rubber gaskets) notes along with darker than expected sherry character: chocolate, damp earth. Sticky fruit begins to emerge pretty soon after the first sniff (fig jam, apricots, mango leather) along with caramel and molasses. Very nice indeed. As it sits the rubbery notes burn away and are replaced by leather. A few drops of water bring out some cherry to go with the other fruit; the earthy notes recede further.

Palate: No rubber here but there’s the Amrut ginger and rosewood. Quite approachable at full strength; decent texture. The sticky fruit is not quite as pronounced here as on the nose; dried orange peel takes their place. With time the gunpowder and rock salt from the finish pop out earlier. Let’s see if water lets more of the sticky fruit out. Not really: with a few drops there’s more orange peel, yes, but the main effect is to push the gunpowder back to the finish.

Finish: Long. Savoury gunpowder and then dried orange peel and a fair bit of rock salt. With time the sweet rosewood notes hang out longer. The gunpowder gets a bit sharper with water and the salt expands as well.

Comments: I liked the nose a lot; the palate and finish didn’t have as much of the fruit and had just a tad too much savoury gunpowder and rock salt relative to the other notes. And I say that as someone who very much likes notes of savoury gunpowder and rock salt in his whisky. I still liked this a lot, I should clarify. It’s just that more sticky fruit on the palate might have propelled it to the next tier. On the whole, a darker profile than I was expecting from a fino cask—though, as I think about it now, the old Springbank fino casks (here and here) were similar in profile. I look forward to seeing how different/similar the ex-oloroso Aatma will be. I should have that review on Thursday.

Rating: 88 points.



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