Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Whisky has had its ups and downs over the years. The popularity of whisky receded and returned over the years, and we are currently in the midst of a global whisk(e)y boom. While globally high demand offers great opportunity to distillers, fluctuating demand presents a unique challenge to the creators of aged spirits. In a world of rapidly changing global demand, anticipating a market 12 to 15 years in advance is a treacherous proposition.
Perhaps this is why so many distillers have searched for an alternative to the slow process of barrel aging. Inventive distillers have tried everything from soaking additional wood chips in tanks to deploying ultrasonic waves in search of a way to bring whisky to maturity, and market, faster. While nothing has proven to be a silver bullet, some distillers have been able to produce striking results not with technique, but with location.
Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky ages in the foothills of the Himalayas. Temperatures here can vary from humid, subtropical highs to mountainous lows. These hot temperatures increase the speed of evaporation, and the shifts from hot to cold increase the interaction between the whisky and the cask wood. These factors speed the maturation of whisky almost three-fold, according to Rampur.
Rampur provides no age statement for its Select Indian Single Malt Whisky, but its mash bill of 100% malted barley and single malt branding invite comparisons to the 12 and 15 year expressions seen in Britain and elsewhere. It’s a bold position to take when whisky has long conditioned consumers to associate age with quality. Even without an age statement, though, Rampur can point to their distillery’s 75 year history and the impressive recognition that previous expressions of their single malt have earned.
Rampur promotes their Select as the Kohinoor of Single Malts. It’s a daring comparison, which indicates they’re aiming for an iconic status. This is a release specifically for US markets, with a style and taste profile comparable to British single malt whiskies. If they can continue building the presence of their Rampur Select, then American audiences may come to increasingly recognize it by name.
Tasting Notes: Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky
Vital Stats: 43% ABV. Mash bill: 100% Malted Barley. 86 Proof. Suggested Retail: 140 USD.
Appearance: Deep Copper
Nose: The scent has a pleasant baseline of stewed fig, accented by the flavorful sweetness of honey.
Palate: The malted barley is present in a bright, raisin sherry note, carried by a somewhat oily mouth feel. There are notes of orange and cinnamon, with the semi-sweet backnote of honey. The aromas open up into the finish, taking on the deeper, spicy character of stewed red fruit and cigar box wood while losing some of the honey sweetness.
Whisky Review: Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky
It’s hard to say exactly what owes to the Himalayan atmosphere, but Rampur Select captures many of the familiar traits of unpeated, aged single malts without needing an age statement. It also has a lightness and sweetness which maintains a distinctly Indian character. While it has a pleasant, flavorful palate for something that likely didn’t require more than a decade of aging, its taste never evolves into something especially complex beyond the initial pleasant profile.
Despite this limitation, I found this to be an enjoyable expression to be appreciated unmixed, and a promising indication of what Himalayan aging can produce.
User Review4.5 (2 votes)
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Taylor is a writer, researcher, and whiskey enthusiast. He came to Portland in pursuit of higher education, and found himself staying to pursue the Pacific Northwest's wide range of olfactory offerings. He's a fan of craft beer, farm to table food, indie perfume, and, most of all, whiskey. While he...