Let’s hold off with the details concerning the production and just throw ourselves into the tasting notes, shall we? If you prefer reading about how the whisky was made, just skip to the end.
On the nose: like most Amruts, there is nothing discreet or gentle about this whisky: it’s a screamer, not a whisperer. A concentration of many things, and yet it all holds together well. A hint of paper glue; diluted Coca-cola; cured meats; an explosion of sweet PX sherry and oriental spices; dried dates. Christmas spices, too, not least cinnamon or even cinnamon stick; cardamom, too. And yet, it’s not at all overly sweet. There is something reminiscent of barbecue sauce, and quite a few herbs. On the nose, this is very promising indeed, even amazing. Water opens up the whisky, the dried fruits move back and a few leaves of eucalyptos are added to the mix.
On the palate (undiluted): it arrives very Christmas-y, with allspice, cinnamon and – sorry about an internal reference – glögg, the Swedish version of the German Glüwein, a mix of red wine and Christmas spices that’s drunk warm. Google tells me this is called mulled wine in English. Then enter the dried herbs and some dark beer, is it stout? Charred wood; dried and fresh fruits, with some plum marmalade in the mix. Way back, a complex and expensive vanilla ice cream. With water: much gentler at first, with Christmas cake meeting up with the stout. Star anise, too. My tasting notes sound as if the whisky is very sweet, but that is not the case.
Finish: it begins with those Christmas spices from the nose; then raisins; dates, lots of dates; the coca-cola has returned, also. Perhaps almond paste? It lingers on forever and really coats the inside of your mouth. With water, the French oak wakes up and bombards the palate with spices.
To conclude: do not buy this whisky. Leave all bottles for me. Without a doubt the best Amrut I have tried. Simply stated, this is perfection.
So, now we’re ready to discuss the whisky, for those who have not read about it before. It’s a six-year-old, having spent the first three years of its life in bourbon barrels. Then followed three more years in special casks made up of five different types of wood: American oak (with three different types of charring!), French, lightly toasted oak, Spanish oak with very light toast, and staves from sherry casks, both oloroso and PX. If you frown upon it being six years old, you don’t know your Amruts; in the scorching heat in Bangalore, the angels are way greedier than in Scotland, and maturation is much faster. Amrut Spectrum has previously been celebrated by Ingvar Rönde, the editor of Malt whisky yearbook, and it has received accolades from Serge Valentin (although while I am ecstatic, Serge just really likes it). I don’t score whiskies, but if I did, this is somewhere above of 90 points, which for me means it is truly amazing. There were only 1000 bottles made of this. It is bottled at an ABV of 50%.
Psst! Ashok and everyone else at Amrut, if you’re reading this, please please please see to it that there will be more batches of Spectrum in the future. The batch is too small, the demand too big. And keep up with those innovative and wild ideas!