Tour of Amrut Distillery – Tales of Malts and Drams
Went for the tour of Amrut Distillery organized by Vgulp. It was for 10:00 and we reached by 9:50.
Unfortunately the 10:00 mentioned accounted for Indian Standard Time so we were way too early. It wasn’t a lost cause though. It gave me time to have some thate idly.
Anyway so the tour started at 10:30 with a talk by Mr. Surrinder Kumar (VP, Production) which was pretty
informative and covered a lot of rumours, myths and also the popularity of Amrut across the globe. There is a display of the product, the peat and the grains in the room which is shown below.
We were also shown samples of the Loch Lomond Rectified spirit(RS), 3yrs and 8yrs. Observe their colors the 3yr is pale straw and the 8 little darker while the RS is plain without color. Both the 3 and the 8 had incredible nose and was a delight to the olfactory senses
Let me bullet what I can remember
1. The temperature and humidity in Bangalore is such that 1 year aging is almost equivalent to 3.5 in
Scotland. So an Amrut aged 3.5 years gets the color, notes of a 12 year old scotch
2. The angel’s share (the amount of alcohol that evaporates from the aging barrels) is almost 11% as
compared to 2% in Ireland or Scotland
3. For those confused between blended scotch and single malt , a single malt is made with one grain (barley)
and from one distillery only where as blended can have a mix of products (single malts) from distilleries. The
age of this blended scotch is the lowest age of the single malt that is part of the composition. Eg a blended
scotch can have upto thirty (more or less also possible but certainly more than 1) and any of the single malt
can be aged upto 10 years. However if there is a single malt which is aged 1 year then the total life of the
blended scotch becomes 1 year. Yes they are fighting againt the board about this rather ridiculous rule
4. If any adulteration is found, the hefty fine that the owner has to pay will be more than the cost of the
distillery itself if sold
5. In the process of distillation, the first product is the beer (not the drinkable one) which is fermentation of
the malts with yeast forming a sludge. This is then distilled and made into a clear alcohol which is almost 80%
6. The government does not allow more than 43% and so some of the brands such as Indian Peat which has
close to 65% alcohol is imported.
7. The water used is the common borewell passed though RO and softeners.
8 Last but not the least if you have bought a bottle of good whiskey drink up. It gets no better hidden away in cupboards !!
One of the cleanest distillery I have seen with no stink or smell accept if you go close to the fermentation plant. We were shown the aging casks and given a taste of all they had including the ones they don’t release in the Indian market due to alcohol percentage stipulations. The lowering of the alcohol takes place in the blending section.
The packaging is very orderly and efficient for all their products and I see a lot of women employed which is a good thing….right?
Now coming to the fun part of tasting. We tasted almost all of its offering but my favourite will always be the Indian Peat with 65% proof. It was smooth with nose of vanilla . The taste was a hint of fruits such as banana and kiwi after the initial burn. I would say it’s an impressive product from India that has made the world sit up and tke cognicance of the fact that this young brand is competing with the veterans. Jim Murray in his whisky bible 2010 has named it the third best in the world.
I see two more released in the market Amrut Intermediate Sherry (cost Rs.4000) and the Amrut Portonova (cost £68.57 not released in India)
Sadly the world gets of their products but India doesn’t 🙁 We get only the Fusion mostly and the Indian Single Malt and now the intermediate Sherry.
Tasting Notes of Amrut Potonova (Taken directly from https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/amrut-portonova-whisky/)
Nose: Fruity, chocolate-driven nose with syrup, toffee and a hint of coconut, pepper and allspice. Red berries too!
Palate: Fruity and intense with tropical fruits, redcurrant jelly, baked bananas and cinnamon.
Finish: Long and fruity, hints of cranberry.
The company is not only famous for Amrut. Before that they already had established products in the market though not in the global quality that Amrut competes in such as Prestige Whiskey, Bejois Brandy, Maqintosh single malt etc
For more information you can head to their website(http://www.amrutdistilleries.com/validated/pages/about.html)
Would like to thank Mr. Surrinder Kumar for his time to explain and also show us the distillery to our satisfaction…
Overall it was a day well spent on knowing details of now one of the worlds favourite dram!! sláinte mhaith
P.S – If you thought Angel’s share is a funny term then you will choke up with Devil’s Cut and Releasing the Serpent… Yeah there is some more loss of whiskey by absorption through the wooden casks and this is called Devils Cut !!
Releasing the serpent means releasing the aroma and flavor of the by adding a dash of water to the single malt
Jim Beam has brought out a bottle by the same name by managing to extract the absorbed alcohol in the casks and it is supposed to be awesome. I haven’t had it yet. It costs about £25.95 in the whiskey exchange
Check out the other snaps in the slide show below
Linked to ABC Wednesday(T) with tour of a distillery