Paris Whisky Live – Exploring India’s Rampur Jugalbandi, Asava and Double Cask

We were first introduced to Rampur Single Malt in 2017 when we tried an early release of Rampur “Select” (06/2016) 43%. We found it quite promising and so I was delighted to see the folks from Rampur had a booth at Paris Whisky Live – and even better, they were releasing new expressions that weekend!

As this was a festival environment, I’ve only jotted down a few impressions – enough to get a ‘feel’ for the whisky but nothing that can be relied on as a proper sense of what each expression brings to the table.

In classical Indian music, a “jugalbandi” is a playful duet of two solo musicians – one plays and the other responds with a further variation – a kind of musical “one upmanship” that delights the audience with its flourishes and embellishes leading to a fabulous crescendo as both the instrumentalists combine their solos into a resounding duo finish!

We were delighted to discover that these Rampur “Jugalbandi” expressions were released just that Sept 2022 weekend of Paris Whisky Live – what fun!

Rampur Jugalbandi #1 56.1% (approx Eur 120) Red ie left in the above photo

Our whisky guide shared this whisky came from casks matured first in Bourbon, then in Portuguese Muscatel casks – a combination that, in this case, worked together rather well.

We found that it was intense, heavy, and tropical on the nose (particularly ripe mango!), whereas on the palate we found “gulab” (rose) syrup, coming across more like a dessert wine than whisky, then it shifted to spicier notes. We also tried this one with a small splash of water which we found opened it up nicely.

Rampur Jugalbandi #2 56.3% (approx Eur 120) Green ie left in the above photo

Then it was on to the 2nd in this “jugalbandi“. Again our guide shared that this whisky was the product of both 1st fill ex-bourbon and ex-Calvados casks from Normandy, France – interesting!

Much like the 1st, we found this was an un-whisky-like whisky! Our 1st impression of the aroma was that it was more like a liqueur, with simply loads of tropical fruit – in this case lychee was more prominent than mango! On the palate it was intense and a bit all over the place. Here is where we could first sense the Calvados influence with roasted apples and it closed with a dash of spice.

Our conclusion was this was a rather interesting duo – with a complete contrast between 1 and 2.

Rampur Asava 45% (approx Eur 75)

The next “duo” we sampled was Asava and Double Cask. With Asava, we were told it was matured in ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in Indian ex-Cabernet Sauvignon casks.

The nose rewarded us with luscious berries. The palate was soft with more juicy berries and then some tropical fruit notes. We found the finish was at 1st a citrus twist and then it returned to the berries.

Rampur Double Cask 45% (approx Eur 70)

By contrast, the Double Cask was much more balanced and for us, in some ways quite interesting. A “marriage” of American ex-Bourbon casks and European ex-Sherry casks, we found it the most accessible of the four whiskies sampled. The aroma had tropical fruits and honey, with sweetness and spice perfectly balanced on the palate with a nice long finish.

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