Amrut put Indian single malt on the map way back in 2004, and since that time they’ve built up quite the whisky portfolio (along with other spirits like rum). We recently reviewed Amrut Fusion, which is perhaps their best-known bottle in the U.S. That whisky is a marriage of 75% unpeated Indian barley and 25% peated Scottish barley. The rest of the core lineup is all single malts, comprised of a standard and cask strength version of those two component malts. We’ll get to the all-Indian Amrut offerings in another review, but today we’re digging into the peated single malts, distilled from barley sourced from Scotland. It’s unclear why Amrut began sourcing Scottish barley in the first place since they had been effectively distilling single malt since the 1980s, but it wouldn’t be surprising that they wanted to appeal to a consumer wary of single malt made from anything else, especially back in the early 2000s when they entered the UK market. Both of these offerings are made from 100% peated Scottish barley. Like their other releases, these single malts have seen only 4 to 6 years of aging due to the intense Indian climate. Let’s dig in!
Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt Whisky – The nose shows plenty of classic peat smoke, but it’s sweet and heathery, almost like Highland peat, with a bit of wood ash and savory, cured meat. It’s a considerable departure from the fruit-forward aroma in the unpeated offering, but I do get some of the same creamy texture. On the palate, this one is bright and light-bodied, an initial oiliness turning almost effervescent across the sip. It’s crisp with classic sweet cereals and honey candies. The mid-palate sees a bit of salty brine that builds into the finish with matchheads complementing sweet biscuits, vanilla cream, and a bit of lemon curd. It’s not nearly as unique, but I think I prefer this version over its all-Indian counterpart. 92 proof. A- / $80 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]
Amrut Peated Cask Strength Indian Single Malt Whisky – This one needs a little time to bloom in the glass, and what arrives isn’t nearly as peat-forward as the standard offering. There’s some charcoal in the mix, but it’s rather sweet otherwise with notes of dark honey, tinned pears, and orange marmalade. With such a restrained nose, the burst of flavor on the palate comes as a bit of a surprise. A generous heat hits at the front end with savory notes of barbecued burnt ends and campfire smoke balanced against candied lemon peel, clove, and licorice. It’s also light on the palate, but that doesn’t stop the flavors from lingering into a generous, creamy finish of toffee, vanilla bean, and flamed citrus peel. A bit of water cuts through much of the peat. 125.6 proof. A- / $95 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]