The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Bunnahabhain 14 year 56.7%

Long back, a very talented multi instrumental, multi country music buddy encouraged “Bunna” explorations as his kind of Islay – not really peaty but having substance and character to spare. Over the years, I’ve had mixed experiences – some excellent, some so so and some that didn’t quite do it for me.

Bunnahabhain 14 year (24 Oct 2002 / 31 Oct 2016) Bourbon Hogshead No. 3048, 56.7% 307 Bottles

  • Nose – Initially greeted us with quite a distinctive coconut oil… which settled down into salt water taffy, candied guava, fresh bread, orange comfy or cointreau, even a bit of coffee candy, swirling about with a hint of smoke too – more like an echo or subtle embers than a live burn…overall leaving an impression of fruity
  • Palate – Silky smooth… some salted caramel, spicy desert, herbal, buttery… with a wee bit of even peanut butter, richly rolling around nicely on the tongue
  • Finish – Lovely and long, delicious
  • Water – No need… truly

I have to confess that this is without a doubt the best Bunnahabhain I’ve had in a long time. Even better as it sits in the glass, opening up more and more. While a different character, there was an element of the lightly salted ‘buttery’ quality that made us think of the insanely delicious Aveux Gourmands.

As for the folks at Whisky Warehouse No. 8? I’ve taken the liberty to ‘google translate’ my way through Julia’s terrific tasting notes:
Whiskeys from Bunnahabhain are always good for a surprise and this single barrel is no exception. Anyone who wants to deduce the taste from the nose impressions of this bottling will be amazed at how different the whiskey ultimately behaves on the palate. At least one can rely on the well-known attributes of most Bunnahabhain bottlings: hardly any wood, a little salt and a good balance of all aromas.
  • Nose: Soft and fully ripe fruit notes such as cherries, star fruit and lychees. Underneath there is a layer of salty peat that has a slightly medicinal effect, but also a damp campfire that was already burning the day before.
  • Taste: Spicy like in a hay barn, herbal notes like dried thyme and thistles, slightly nutty and almond-like, the fruit notes linger in the background, but they now appear much fresher and crisper. The peat and smoke notes also remain surprisingly restrained.
  • Finish: It is especially the herbal notes that stay on the palate for a long time and become dry towards the end. Very late, a pinch of fleur de sel tickles the taste buds.

What about other Bunnahabhain explorations?

My “Last Chance” set also contained:

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The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – Glenturret 8 year 57.5%

This would be my 3rd Glenturret 8 year from an independent bottler! We were rather impressed by the North Star’s Glenturret – which was distilled the same month as this Warehouse cask and bottled within a month of each other. I’d also had the pleasure of trying Chorlton’s Ruadh Maor aka peated Glenturret.

So what about this one from The Whisky Warehouse No. 8?

Glenturret 8 year (Dec 2010 / Apr 2019) Bourbon Hogshead Cask No. W8 181, 57.5% 330 Bottles

  • Nose – Even before putting in the glass, we had a whiff of our wee bottle and went – Mmmm….sweet smoked bacon! And then into the glass it went and… huh? Where did the delicious aroma go? Instead we found a brine, hay… predominantly cereals like hot (slightly boring) porridge, wet fall leaves, rubber gum… is that gym shoe? Curious
  • Palate – Ah.. now here is the light peat smoke, bay leaves, cinnamon spice, a bit of ginger bread… not a heavy peat, more like peat ‘adjacent’
  • Finish – It does last…

Let’s be honest, we were a tad disappointed. I happened to have the North Star Glenturret bottle handy and pulled it out to compare, making my virtual tasting companions a wee bit jealous. Yup! There were all the fabulous elements we enjoyed about the Glenturret – a nuanced peat, tasty cereals, maple bacon… We dismissed the Glenturret and moved on to our other minis..

However a funny thing happened along the way… as it patiently sat there… an amazing alchemy with air took place. We returned for a revisit and we delighted to discover much that we enjoyed in the North Star was now present! Where had all those lovely qualities been hiding?

  • Nose – Gingerbread joined the light puff of smoke,
  • Palate – Some cheese, smoked meats chased by cinnamon spice
  • Finish – Remained dry and long

Even on the first go, we enjoyed the palate more than nose alone… however with the revisit it was clear this had all the makings of a rather enjoyable dram. Certainly one to wait for it…. wait for it… as it just might be “Legend… wait for it…. dary!

Curious about other Glenturret experiences?

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Talisker 8 year 2009 48.4% (Old Particular)

Last in my Old Particular trio is a complete shift in character to the Isle of Skye with the peaty Talisker. Though technically part of their “Highland” region bottles, it is also an “Island” distillery.

Talisker 8 Year Old 2009 (cask 12578) 48.4%

  • Nose – Mmmm smoked meats, juicy fruits with a bit of brine
  • Palate – A nice smokey burn, touch of ash, a dash of sugary sweet
  • Finish – Cinnamon, then a nice campfire finish

It has been awhile since I’ve had a Talisker… and I gotta admit it hit the spot. Peat and sweet, nothing complicated but well balanced and just… worked. In truth, it disappeared too soon – always a good sign!

As for tasting notes? Here is what the chaps over at Master of Malt had to say:

Part of Douglas Laing’s Old Particular series, this expression from Talisker was distilled in 2009 and bottled at 48.4% ABV, after 8 years of maturing in a refill hogshead. It is one of only 378 bottles produced. Of course, this whisky was bottled without colouring or chill-filtration..

  • Nose: Complex warming phenols alongside intense seaweed notes.
  • Palate: Both sweet and salty, maritime flavours are joined by slightly ashy notes and a touch of brown sugar.
  • Finish: Distinctly sooty on the finish, balancing by subtle sugar sweetness.

Would I agree? Overall yes!

And what about previous brushes with Talisker?

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Jura 12 year (2006) 48.4% (Old Particular)

I found myself in the mood for something uncomplicated… a dram to ease into an evening of sampling… The obvious choice from the Old Particular trio was to start with the Jura. From Jura Island, the distillery style tends towards lighter whiskies intended to support a blend. However more recently, there has been subtle peat added to the equation.

Jura 12 Year Old 2006 (cask 12966) 48.4% – Old Particular (Douglas Laing)

  • Nose – Cereal, butter biscuits or lemon curd cookies – a bit of sour, yet some citrus and sweet
  • Palate – A bit more substance than anticipated, can see the wood influence with a hint of bitterness, a bit salty… like lightly salted nuts and raisins.. is that a hint of toast?
  • Finish – Light spice, that nutty bitterness continued

Overall it hit the spot for something not too sweet, straight forward and a way of kicking off a tasting trio.

As for tasting notes? Here is what the chaps over at Master of Malt had to say:

12 year old single malt from the Jura distillery, named after the island it resides on. This whisky was distilled in December 2006 and allowed to age in a refill hogshead for 12 years, then bottled in December 2018 by Douglas Laing for the Old Particular range. Only 357 bottles were produced.

  • Nose: Custard Cream biscuits, dried lemon and grapefruit peel, a hint of salted peanuts.
  • Palate: Soft oak and smoke appears up front, followed by citrus once again and sultanas.
  • Finish: Almond pastries, coriander and caramel.

Would I agree? More or less…

And what about previous brushes with Jura?

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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Benrinnes 19 year 52.9%

Unfortunately by the time I got around to suggesting to my fellow European based Whisky Ladies that we might want to try a box from The Whisky Warehouse No. 8 – this dram was long gone – both as a sample and the full bottle. Pity.

However my virtual tasting companions were quite happy with their alternative – a Tomatin 9 year (2011).

Benrinnes 19 year (1997 / 2016) 52.9%

  • Nose – Subtle, fruity with sweet grass, a bit shy yet lovely, some tobacco leaf, walnut and raspberries
  • Palate – Gorgeous! Something very unusual – a curious sweetness that strangely reminded me of skunk – sounds horrible but it wasn’t. There was a rusty rustic spice,  more fruit and berries, beeswax, ginger, cinnamon
  • Finish – More of the sweet spices with a sprinkle of salt on top – lovely

This was again a whisky that needs a bit of time to open up… become sweeter the longer it aired… taking on an increasing honey fruity sweetness mixed with light cereals, sweet grass or fresh tobacco leaf.

Unfortunately just as this dram was no longer available to purchase, the notes and any further details have disappeared from The Whisky Warehouse No 8 website!

However my tasting companions and I overall enjoyed our quartet from The Whisky Warehouse No 8… there wasn’t much debate about our preferences with:

  1. The Linkwood 11 year (2007 / 2019) 58.2% was a clear favourite!
  2. It was followed by our respective separate samples – my companions enjoyed their Tomatin and I think this Benrinnes
  3. Next up was the Auchentoshan 18 year (1998 / 2017) 48.3%
  4. Closing with the Dailuaine 11 year (2007 / 2020) 61.5%

For me it was such a delight to be sampling from India, sitting at my very unique desk… an old piano lovingly refurbished by my husband, repurposed to become a comfortable creative corner in our country home. In the background I could hear the cicadas and soft music selected for the evening… my belly happily full of home made dosas with delicious peanut coconut chutney… our pair of country cats curled up companionably together on the bed behind me… perfection!

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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Dailuaine 12 year 61.5%

From Speyside-Bogie & Deveron, we next tried a single cask from Dailuaine, selected and bottled by The Whisky Warehouse No. 8. You may note that my wee sample looks a bit ‘frosty’. This is because I was sipping in our country home outside of Mumbai, India with the temperature outside a “mere” 32′ celsius… so I had put my samples in the fridge to chill a bit before I sat down with my tasting companions who virtually joined from Paris, France.

Dailuine 12 year (11/2007 – 01/2020) 61.5 vol.%
Garrison Bourbon Cask No W8 22015, 72 Bottles

  • Nose – Brine, sour, a combo of motorcycle repair shop and swarthy fisherman, a touch of medicinal iodine, shifted more into lots of cereals, a bit vegetal, copper… and after the 1st sip increasingly sweet – perhaps a bit of herbal digestif like Kuemmerling? Some citrus, leafy, yet still retains that saline element too, joined by vanilla pod
  • Palate – Sweet tobacco leaf, spice, ovaltine, milk chocolate with cinnamon, a bit fruity, yet also had a mineral quality too
  • Finish – Strong and long… or is that simply the alcohol?

What a contrast from the Auchentoshan and Linkwood! Imagine going from a perfumery to a fishing trawl! And on the palate? Let’s just say it was far more mellow than we expected at 61.5%!

We thought this one could open up with water, so gave it a go! Yes after initially cranking up the spice, it settled down, revealed some toffee and caramel cream, more of the vanilla pod… but in truth we were a bit ambivalent about water in this one. If anything, it had more character at cask strength!

We continued on to our 4th dram in the set and returned to the Dailuaine after some time. It initially had a peculiar sour cleaning aroma however after a sip, the aromas again shifted… that said we certainly found the palate its best feature.

I reflected back on other Dailuaine’s I’ve sampled and simply must admit while this style of whisky has its place, it isn’t a favourite of mine – at least their ex bourbon casks. That said, I did enjoy the Dailuaine 11 year sherry cask Dailuaine bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, so perhaps a bit sherry cask would – for me at least – suit this spirit better.

Here is what the bottlers have to say:

There are only a few single malt bottlings from the Speyside distillery in Dailuaine, which is beautifully situated in the countryside. The distillery only brings out a handful of original bottlings.

In addition, a number of independent bottlers, who appreciate the special quality of Dailuaine whiskeys, fill one or the other barrel. Only about two percent of the whiskey produced by Dailuaine is marketed as single malt, the rest is mainly used for the blended whiskey Johnnie Walker. We had this single malt rarity Dailuaine stored in a Garrison Bourbon barrel. The specialty of these barrels is their size of just 60 l, which accelerates the maturation process due to the small size.

The vanilla aromas of this bourbon barrel storage are intensified. The disadvantage of these barrels is their availability. There are only 72 bottles of the already rare Dailuaine single malt scotch whiskey.

What more do we know? This single malt is from a single cask No W8  22015, priced at € 80 for a 700 ml bottle.

Overall what did we think? It was worth trying but wasn’t the ‘hit’ of the evening which was clearly the Linkwood with a bit of competition for the ‘runner up’.

What else did we try from The Whisky Warehouse No 8?

As for other brushes with this distillery?

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The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Linkwood 11 year 58.2%

From Speyside-Lossie, we’ve sampled quite a few Linkwoods over the years – from 8 to 28 years – some fabulous, some average, but generally enjoyable. We even have one from Diageo’s Flora and Fauna collection planned in the coming month or so!

Linkwood 11 year (06/2007 – 01/2019)  58.2% Bourbon Hogshead Cask No W8 804350, 283 Bottles

We first sampled it ‘neat’…

  • Nose – Bananas, raw pastry dough, a bit of cherry liqueur, toffee, bakewell tart, raspberries,  javitri (the dried flower around nutmeg), raw almond oil shifting into coconut over time, yuzu lemon, as it continued to open, it further evolved – revealing malt, figs, caramel and vanilla
  • Palate – Remarkable! It was – dare I say it – floral? It also had a delightful peppery quality, a zesty spring that complimented its exceptional floral quality. Quite unusual – in a rather appealing way
  • Finish – Nuanced

The 1st sip was a surprise. We didn’t find it overly floral on the nose but it was like sipping a garden bouquet, not the gulab (rose water) of an India sweet but something more like stepping into a flower shop or perfumery. While sometimes we find something this pronounced on the nose, rarely on the palate. How unusual!

While we didn’t feel compelled to add water, I thought to try anyways…

  • Nose – The aromas shifted back to banana – but this time banoffee pie – that fabulous mix of bananas, dulce de leche, graham cracker crust, fresh whipped cream… and in this case an extra boost of vanilla
  • Palate – Could it be possible that the floral element has become perfume? Yet equally it was stronger, spicier, bringing out more ‘oomph’ and character while still being silky smooth and temptingly sippable…
As I wrote up my tasting notes, I realized several aromas and flavours we found were items that may not be so common – combining experiences from UK to India to Japan.
Much like the whisky, our reactions were a joyful enjoyment of its diversity and pleasure in how it evolved. Distinctive and delightful. There was zero doubt this was a class act and definitely something special.
We also found that we liked it both with and without water. While cask strength of 58.2% may seem intense – it really wasn’t with this Linkwood.

Here is what the bottlers have to say:

This Linkwood has everything you would expect from a smooth whiskey. It is clean, the aromas are very well balanced and the aging notes are well integrated. You can call it an ‘all-day whiskey’ with a clear conscience, because it goes with almost any occasion. It’s actually a shame that there are only 283 bottles!

  • Smell : Red, ripe apples and cherries, milk chocolate with a little amaretto, mace and lavender, pleasantly malty with a distinct malt sweetness.
  • Taste : Not quite as fruity anymore, but still a lot of chocolate, which is now a little darker and mixed with roasted almonds. Warm spicy notes such as mace and long pepper can be recognized. The tire notes are very clean, but remain elegantly in the background. With dilution, the whiskey becomes softer and develops a light orange-zest aroma.
  • Finish : Warm and spicy, the dark chocolate notes remain oily on the palate.

Not sure we agree… Though you could, this certainly is not an “all day” drinking dram! As we considered the tasting notes realized it comes across as something ‘ordinary’ rather than extra-ordinary. While the description certainly sounds ‘nice’, we found a whisky that went a good deal beyond mere ‘nice’, instead more of a special treat – something both delicate and complex – even into the ‘exquisite’ territory.

What can we say but well done – both for Linkwood and the cask selection!

What more do we know? This single malt is from a single cask – Bourbon Hogshead – which produced 283 bottles, priced at € 80 for a 700 ml bottle.

The Whisky Warehouse no. 8 – Auchentoshan 18 year 48.3%

We began our journey through The Whisky Warehouse No 8 sample pack more or less in the order suggested – Auchentoshan, Linkwood, Duilaine and then we diverged – me to the Benrinnes and my tasting companions to their Tomatin.

What all four had in common is that they are single casks, bottled at cask strength and all ex-bourbon rather than sherry casks. They also were all without peat.

Our lone entrant from the Lowlands, Auchentoshan, can sometimes be overlooked…

Auchtentoshan 18 year 48.3% (1 Dec 1998 – 2 Feb 2017) Bourbon Barrel Cask No W8 23553, 168 Bottles

We initially sampled it neat:

  • Nose – Initially some hay and cereals, oats, maybe even a bit of hops, a bit oily, malty, woody… no pronounced floral elements but had some dried fruits in the background
  • Palate – Quite direct with no subtlety, more of the cereals, malt, wood, a bit imbalanced to be honest…
  • Finish – There… but limited to a light spice

While the nose had promise, we weren’t all that impressed. There wasn’t anything ‘off’ but it was just wasn’t exceptional.

So we decided to add a bit of water and see if there was any impact… we didn’t have high expectations given it was already 48.3%…. and wow! In short – you MUST add water!

  • Nose – Now here we found more fruits! Herbal, cardamom… then shifting into a lemony citrus… over time a delightful orange marmalade
  • Palate – Delicious! Opens everything up – making it spicier, fruitier, sweeter, tastier and just balanced out everything that was earlier not quite in synch. From ‘meh’ to sponge cake!
  • Finish – Lovely… now the inviting aromas, equally following through on the palate can be found lingering on the finish too

We set it aside to sample our other drams and returned after an hour.

  • Nose – Could it have taken on a bit of smokey paprika? There was a nice tobacco leaf aroma mixed with cured sweet meats
  • Palate – A balanced spice and fruit

Overall we concluded this was a nice ‘aperitif’ style whisky – a nice ‘starter’. Reflecting back, it is entirely possible we would have caught more without water had we given it more time to open up. Either way, still think adding a few drops of water is the way to go with this one.

Here is what the Whisky Warehouse No 8 bottlers have to say:

It is not a really typical Auchentoshan single malt, it is not fruity and not slim enough. But if you accept that this Lowlander tastes more like a Highlander, the flavors fit together again and you will be rewarded with a muscular, strong, but also very clean whiskey, which a few drops of water to dilute it do very well.

  • Smell: Cactus blossom and fresh Italian herbs like oregano and thyme, a bit floral like hay and slightly buttery, subtle green wood note, a bit spicy like cardamom and lemon balm.
  • Taste: Initially quite spicy, mainly cardamom and pepper, roasted aromas like dark cocoa powder, again culinary herbs. With a little dilution, biscuits and ripe fruit aromas can also be seen.
  • Finish: At first a pepper note dominates, which lingers on the palate for a long time and warms up spicy later, it is mainly the roasted aromas that only fade very slowly.

So… cactus blossom? I must admit I’m unfamiliar with that aroma. Same with my tasting companions – one of whom looked it up. Apparently it is a ‘thing’ – so much so that she also found cactus flower scented candles. Who knew?

We would completely agree about the dilution. And overall we could understand their tasting notes except the buttery one – we didn’t catch that – and of course our lack of familiarity with cactus blossom!

What more do we know? It is from a single cask – Bourbon Barrel – which produced 168 bottles, priced at €100 for a 700 ml.

If we hadn’t known the age, I’m not sure we would have guessed 18 years. As for value for money? I’m glad we had a chance to try it in a sample pack. While enjoyable, it didn’t have that extra appeal of the Glencadam – which initially got me ‘hooked’ on these bottlers and was truly superb. However it was an entirely respectable offering from the distillery.

What else did we try from The Whisky Warehouse No 8 in our tasting set?

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Lochranza Vertical – Arran 23 year 52.6%

I’ll admit it, I simply fell in love with the Isle of Arran. Early September 2020, we spent a fabulous day driving all around the Island… prompted by my desire to visit the Lochranza distillery! It was so much fun discovering this microcosm of Scotland that we completed the circumference – even making it to Arran’s new Lagg distillery too.

I wanted something special from the distillery to commemorate our trip – a bottle that I could not buy anywhere else. There were so many to chose from, but this 23 year old single cask sherry, bottled at cask strength, caught my eye!

I very happily picked this up at the distillery shop and knew the biggest challenge would be my impatience to try it! Determined to share it in an evening tasting with fellow whisky enthusiasts in Mumbai, I sent the bottle home to India with my partner where it would wait…until some indeterminate time to taste…

Thankfully it wasn’t so long! Just a few months later, late January 2021, we cracked it open in a combined virtual / real life Whisky Ladies of Mumbai session.

Arran 23 year (29 May 1996/11 March 2020) Sherry Hogshead Cask No 436, 52.6%  Bottle 245/283

We first sampled it ‘neat’ without a drop of water:

  • Nose – Nuanced and subtle it grew in intensity, from light rose to rich mocha, caramel, cinnamon, clearly complex, rich, the aromas swirling in the glass combining to create a beautiful perfume – one even quipped “American Leather” after a men’s cologne…
  • Palate – Wonderful! A spirited sherry… almost too much of a good thing! Fierce and forceful – there was rich toffee, coffee, chocolate, dates and rum raisins
  • Finish – An intense long finish

My fellow tasters knew this clearly had a higher alcohol percent – likely cask strength. So we were encouraged to add water… how did it change?

  • Nose – Enabled more of the dark fruits to emerge, caramel sweetness, fudge
  • Palate – Ahh… opens it up and does wonders! Now we can really settle in with all those fabulous flavours, fruitier still full and quite fabulous
  • Finish – Perfection! Remains long and lingering… dark fruits of dates, prunes, dried figs with cinnamon spice… rum raisin Christmas pudding

While intense, we found it had an absolutely phenomenal aroma and with water, the elements were lush, rich and indulgent but not overwhelming. Yes the heaviness remained but it was now balanced.

Even after setting it aside, contrasting and comparing, there was a compelling quality about this one – distinctive and definitely a sherry bomb! If anything, the aromas kept getting sweeter – it became like eating sugar or molasses!

In complete contrast, our ‘In Real Life’ Whisky Ladies thought it was like pineapple grilled on a campfire, perhaps even a single rum not whisky at all!

Could I see the rum? Absolutely! Having recently spent a lazy evening revisiting Jamaica’s Hampden 2010, I easily understood why there was speculation I had thrown a rum in – just to mix things up! As I poured a dash more without water, I completely appreciated the strong heavy rum-like quality – that peculiar powerful punch that comes from the unique conditions found in Luca Gargano‘s discoveries.

The colour alone was an indicator that this was something different with the 3rd sample…. while initially the 18 year (2nd) seemed quite similar in colour to the 14 year (1st), there was a subtle deepness to the gold… However nothing compared to the almost ruby red intensity of the 23 year (3rd).

Sitting back comparing all three side by side, there was no doubt the 2nd managed to strike a brilliant balance between age, intensity and flavour. Clearly complex, it was full bodied and flavourful without being overwhelming like the 23 year old. While those of us who sampled virtually eased into the cask strength with water, the 23 year old was a ‘miss’ for those who met in person. For all of us, the 14 year was easily the most accessible, the sherry influence more restrained. It was simply enjoyable without complication.

What do the folks at Arran have to say about this 23 year old?

A rare opportunity to purchase a bottling from one of our oldest Sherry Hogsheads. These precious and unusual bottling are in short supply and as such are a real treat for those who love a Sherry Cask matured Single Malt.

This particular Single Cask is a Sherry Hogshead from 1996. In the first years of production at Arran, Sherry Hogsheads were often used. We have an outstanding, but small collection of casks from this year still slumbering away in our warehouses. This cask was specially selected and liberated for our visitors to Lochranza and our online whisky shop by Master Blender James MacTaggart and is the perfect one for sipping and savouring.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose – Toffee, fudge and caramelised lemon
  • Palate – Delicious sweet spice and hazelnut
  • Finish – Sweetness, Spice, Vanilla, Smooth, Hazelnut, Dark chocolate, Creamy.

After a long time, it was such a pleasure to sample a single distillery vertical – we could see the progression – building in intensity and complexity. A fabulous evening!

You can find here the detailed tasting notes for the other Arran‘s sampled together with the 23 year:

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Additionally, there are the two ‘off-shoots’ with:

Vita Dulcis 1 – India’s Amrut Fusion 50%

What a way to kick things off! With a dram from my much missed home – India!!

Over the years, I’ve sampled many an Amrut Fusion… however it has been some time since I ‘properly’ sat down with one – particularly the international version that helped catapult Amrut to global attention.

My first taste was in 2010? (I think!) at a spirits exhibition in Mumbai with father and son Neelakanta Rao Jagdale and Rakshit Jagdale. I was impressed by their passion and commitment to bring Indian whisky to the world – by establishing their credibility outside India. At the time, I found the concept of “Fusion” interesting but was personally more drawn to their “Two Continents” – yep that was the 1st edition.

After that, I had a mixed experience with the Fusion version which became available in India – with a very clear caveat that the conditions under which these bottles are stored likely varied considerably.

The most memorable was an evening in 2015 with N R Jagdale and Jim Murray.

I next properly sampled Fusion 50% at Singapore airport and went – huh?! This was NOT the same Fusion available in India. True – the alcohol percentage is different as Amrut must abide by the state regulations on strength for domestically produced alcohol. But it was more than that…

So what did I find with the Vita Dulcis 2020 Advent Calendar mini?

India – Amrut Fusion 50%

  • Nose – Hmm… is that a hint of bacon? Shifts into toffee apples, oatmeal, cream and honey with a light peat chaser
  • Palate – Full warming spice, some oak, tannins, definitely more spice, chocolate
  • Finish – A nice cinnamon spice, slightly bitter
  • Water? Nope! Not a drop…

Well? Thumbs up or down?

This version, this day… its a yes. Particularly the way the cinnamon spice interplayed with the sweet subtle peat.

And Amrut’s official tasting notes?

  • Nose : Heavy, thickly oaked and complex: some curious barley-sugar notes here shrouded in soft smoke. Big, but seductively gentle, too
  • Taste : The delivery, though controlled at first, is massive! Then more like con-fusion as that smoke on the nose turns into warming, full blown peat, but it far from gets its own way as a vague sherry trifle note (curious, seeing how there are no sherry butts involved) – the custard presumably is oaky vanilla – hammers home that barley – fruitiness to make for a bit of a free-for-all; but for extra food measure the flavours develop into a really intense chocolate fudge middle which absolute resonates through the palate
  • Finish : A slight struggle here as the mouthfeel gets a bit puffy here with the dry peat and oak; enough molassed sweetness to see the malt through to a satisfying end, though. Above all the spices, rather than lying down and accepting their fate, rise up and usher this extraordinary whisky to its exit

What about some of my other encounters with Amrut?

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