Sometimes our sessions have a small ‘bonus’ offering. A little something extra tagged on after the main show. Call it an ‘encore’ performance.
Usually there is a specific reason it is kept separate from the main trio of whiskies sampled. Hosts often have a little ‘surprise’ like my sharing a rather unique tequila like Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo or another evening with a post dinner El Dorado Rum.
In this case, after dinner we were offered a sample of a sample… introduced blind with no context.
- Nose: Immediate in your face sherry replete with all the usual dried fruits, diwali crackers smoke, burnt brown sugar, kopra, dry roasted coconut, chokecherry, port wine, rubber and kokum
- Taste: Dry… then stewed prunes, hint of spice, chilli chocolate, honestly a bit peculiar – very much on the dry spice side without sweetness, different
- Finish: Wine finish, prunes, closes with spice
Observations: Prunes were consistently there in nose, palate and finish. Distinctive and difficult to adequately describe. None could place. And frankly it wasn’t exactly the kind of whisky that appealed immediately. Like a novel experiment but not necessarily one you would run out to repeat or share with the world.
Our mischievous supplier of the mystery malt then started to drop obscure clues to prompt our guessing the whisky like:
- Single malt that is a mixed palate
- If in Scotland, may not meet the rules
- James Bond…
We gave up.
Reveal? A sampling of Amrut Spectrum which has sparked both controversy and admiration for the innovation of its approach.
One of the uniquest whisky malt in the world, to make this whisky malts were initially matured for a period of 3 years in ex-Bourbon barrels after which they were transferred to a custom built barrel. This barrel was constructed at an undisclosed location in Europe with the help of a few experts. Whisky is traditionally aged in a barrel made of one type of wood, which lends the flavor and complexities to the malt, however, Amrut Spectrum in matured in a barrel with five different types of wood.
- Nose: raisins, rum, nougat, figs, oranges, tiramisu, cocoa, caramel, coffee, dried fruit, burnt rubber.
- Palate: sherry, rum, butterscotch, chocolate, prunes, molasses, pecans, walnuts, almonds, English wine gum.
- Finish: caramelized almonds, old cognac, apricots, Brazil nuts.
Those who’ve followed Whisky Lady tasting adventures for some time would know that I’m very proud of my adopted home India. I’m also delighted to see its nascent single malt whisky experiments begin to garner attention.
However I’ve had mixed experiences with Amrut whiskies sampled til date. In large part that is because what is available in India is NOT the same as what folks outside India rave about!
Case in point, the Fusion we buy in Mumbai does not have the same alcohol strength as what I sampled in Singapore last December. Fusion at 50% is certainly much more interesting than what you can pick up from your local Mumbai ‘wine shop.’
Spectrum is certainly different. And there is something to be said for pushing the boundaries… so bravo for that.