Whisky Advent Calendar 2015: Day 2

2 12 2015

Yesssssss!!!  I have literally been waiting a year for this day.  In my closing comments about the 2014 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, I humbly suggested that the 2015 edition include more international whiskies:  “I’d love to see Japan, Taiwan, and even India show up in next year’s edition.”  Day 2, 2015?  Bam.  Amrut.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Amrut is a brand (basically THE brand) of single malt whisky from India, home of the very first malt whisky ever made in that country.  The name Amrut comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “nectar of the gods”, which, I mean, exactly, right?  This particular bottling from Amrut, called Fusion, is the first intercontinental whisky I have ever come across:  it’s made from a mixture of barley from India and peated barley from Scotland, which is separately distilled in Amrut’s facilities in Bangalore, aged in American oak barrels and then blended for bottling.  If you’re wondering, it can still be called a single malt whisky despite its multinational origins because the “single” in “single malt” refers to a single distillery rather than a single site, grain or production year.  The “west west west” and “east east east” emanating out of opposite sides of the word “fusion” on the label and tube is just priceless.

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Amrut Fusion gained some fame and notoriety in 2010 when Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible named it the 3rd best whisky in the world.  Of course, that same publication just named Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye the best whisky in the world this year, so do with that as you will.  There is something to be said for this Fusion, however.  It is a beautifully deep, lush golden colour and smells undeniably pleasant, mixing honey, wheat, blood orange, apple crisp and toffee beneath a slight whiff of mossiness.  At 50% abv, it is immediately fiery on the palate and needs a few drops of water to open it up, after which it comes out rich, round and spicy, even peppery, but bursting with vanilla, lemon drop, pineapple and almonds.  I didn’t get as much peat as I was expecting from the Scottish half of the Fusion equation, just a lingering sense of smoke after I swallowed.  At a bargain $76, I could definitely see myself buying this.  Cross Amrut off the bucket list!

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