It is one of those strange ironies that being able to BUY in India an Indian single malt produced in India is actually difficult.
Rampur Single Malt is from Radico Khaitan distillery in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The distillery itself dates back to the 1940s, however this is their first single malt. Touted as the ‘Kohinoor of Single Malts’.
This particular bottle was purchased in the US. We sampled it blind – freshly opened.
Rampur (06/2016) Batch 383 43%
- Nose – Banana, spice, sweet lemon, peaches, nectarines, jackfruit, summer fresh with juicy fruits, cashew fruit, mandarin orange canned segments, honey sugar drops… if covered for a bit lost some of the fruitiness and took on a young wood quality, then as aired more… melon toffee, light perfume, cashew feni
- Palate – Green capsicum, a bit of spice, not at all bitter yet also no body, no complaints per se but nothing wonderful either
- Finish – Spice, bitter, a sense of being quite green or young
- Water – Just makes it sweeter with a bit of spice – adds nothing
Our speculation ran rife – the nose was initially quite lovely but by contrast the palate disappointing. Discussion turned to how this is characteristic of some young whiskies that are bursting with fruit aromas but haven’t yet spent enough time in the cask for it to shift to more complex notes or have any staying power. We all felt this whisky had promise but just needed to spend more time maturing.
We also speculated that this may be one of those whiskies that do not keep well… some more powerful peaty and even sherry bombs seem to mellow out with a little oxidation, revealing more nuanced characters. Others, again tending to be younger or more delicate drams can lose the very quality that makes them interesting if spend too much time oxidation in a bottle.
We could not specifically identify its origin – just that it was neither Scottish nor Japanese and not typically American either.
With the reveal, we were terribly impressed out host managed to track down a bottle as we’d been coveting an opportunity to try it since launch.
In all we pronounced it a “Good early attempt.”
At the end of the evening, we returned to see how it fared with an hour or so open… there was a lovely toasted coconut on the nose, a coffee bitter on the palate yet overall it was a ‘mono-dimensional’ whisky… lacking the nuanced complexity we ideally seek in a dram.
Who knows, perhaps future editions with a bit more patience will reveal further characteristics. And certainly this is an entirely respectable early effort and nothing to dent desi pride in yet another home grown single malt.
PS Our ever so kind host donated the remainder, so it was re-sampled Aug 2017 as part of a Single Grain Trio and Desi Duo. What did the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents think?
- Nose – Saffron, sweet, full ripe oranges, that Middle Eastern orange water, nuts, baklava, very sugary and back to a sweetened orange reduction
- Palate – Cherries, mixed fruits, stewed plums and grapes. Overall quite accessible
- Finish – Limited finish but quite bitter, in an oddly artificial way, with the bitter aftertaste staying… not entirely pleasantly
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When will we at Bangalore be able to taste our own Indian RAMPUR Single Malt? Can it possible to make it available as a special request?
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Alas I’ve only encountered outside of India so far… Good luck with your quest!