Whisky Reviews: Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

, | June 16, 2020

Editor’s Note: These whiskies were provided to us as review samples by Amrut. 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 links towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Scotch whisky was introduced to the country of India during the British colonisation from 1858 to 1947. A year later and with the freedom to do so, Amrut Distilleries Private Limited was established. They first produced mostly molasses based rum and other spirits, then in 1982 they began producing single malts in the tradition of scotch whisky even though the 80s were not a great time for single malts. 

Before Amrut, Indian whisky had a terrible reputation of being cheap and a blend of who-knows-what. Amrut and its competitor, Paul John, are craft single malt makers in India. In spite of this, India only consumes about one percent of scotch and similar style single malts, yet at the same time, Indian whisky sells very well globally.

India obviously does not have the same climate as Scotland, but that just means it takes less time to produce a single malt. In fact, a cask of whisky aging in Indian for a year is said to be the equivalent of aging a cask in Scotland for three years. A disadvantage of India’s climate is that the angel’s share is much greater, so whisky with double digit age statements won’t be found on the shelves. 

Amrut has 21 expressions of single malt in their portfolio, but for this review we will only taste seven. Let’s see how they compare.

Amrut whiskies

Amrut whiskies (image via Courtney Kristjana/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Amrut Single Malt

Vital Stats: 46% ABV. Non-age-statement single malt made with Indian barley.  750ml $50.

Appearance: Gold/pale straw.

Nose: Orange segment and lemon peel steal the show. Almond or marzipan creeps up in the middle before cereal grain, like Cheerios, rounds out the finish. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is light. It comes off hot at first from the alcohol, but on the other hand it’s a quick burn that rounds out. The whisky comes off very phenolic, and it moves into smoked beef jerky. You get the orange from the nose on the palate with a little sweet honey. The dram is woody, and as it moves into the finish, it is reminiscent of black licorice. 

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Final Thoughts: This is a whisky that needs to grow on you. It takes more than a few times to try it before you can fully appreciate it. However, this one is lackluster compared to the rest. 

Score: 3/5 

Tasting Notes: Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength 

Vital Stats: 61.8% ABV. Non-age-statement single malt made with Indian Barley. 750ml $65.

Appearance: 18k gold.

Nose: Orange segment and lemon peel are brighter in the cask strength than just the standard Amrut above. A bit of mint wafts throughout, and there is a distinct touch of jasmine. 

Palate: Again, the mouthfeel is light, however, this one is a little more oily than the previous. It’s hot, but not as other whiskies with similar ABV. Orange peel and honey mix with leather. It isn’t phenolic, and instead has a touch of leather to it. The dry oak finishes off the dram. 

Final Thoughts: The Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength is much better than the regular Amrut Single Malt. Even though it is cask strength, it isn’t as rough as it is cut down at 46% ABV.

Score: 3.5/5

Tasting Notes: Amrut Peated Single Malt

Vital Stats: 46% ABV. Non-age-statement single malt made with Scottish peated barley. 750ml $65.

Appearance: Marigold with glints of copper.

Nose: The dram comes off almost like a perfume. It’s light with fresh mint sprig hovering above the liquid. Lemon peel shines. Digging deeper, there is toffee. The peat smoke is so subtle, I almost missed it. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is velvety soft. It’s fruity and spicy. It reminds me of a marzipan treat. I don’t really get peat from the profile, but I do get a slight amount of ash. Leather comes around and leads into the dry oak finish. 

Final Thoughts: It’s light and delightful. It’s not overly complex, and it doesn’t burn light the Amrut Single Malt that isn’t peated. I think this could sipped year round, when other whiskies or single malts can be too warm for the sunnier months. 

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Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Amrut Peated Single Malt Cask Strength

Vital Stats: 62.8% ABV. Non-age-statement single malt made with Scottish peated barley. 750ml $75.

Appearance: Marigold/deep amber. 

Nose: The oak is really over powering on the nose. It has more of an acetone touch to it, but on the other hand there is also a soured note. A sweetness seems similar to butterscotch or hard caramel candy. 

Palate: The dram is rich with flavor as soon as it hits the tongue. The mouthfeel is warm and oily, which makes it just coat the mouth. It starts with tobacco and ripe black cherry. I do get a bit of cigar ash, but it is minimal and leads the way to robust orange peel. 

Final Thoughts: It’s on par with the regular Amrut Peated Single Malt, but obviously gives a little more in flavor. It really just depends on how bold you want to go. I say skip the unpeated Amrut single malts and just dive into any of their peated stuff. It’s not heavily peated and a novice to peated whiskies could handle this.

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Amrut Fusion

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. Blend of Indian and Scottish peated barley. 750ml $60.

Appearance: Medium amber.

Nose: A soured note starts off the dram and is followed up with apple cinnamon oatmeal. Citrus peel is faint in the middle. At the end, I get toffee bits and the most subtle smoke. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is soft, but at the same time, it comes off a bit astringent. It is faintly sweet with some cocoa like a Heath bar. The strong flavors are oak and leather, but they do not meld well together. 

Final Thoughts: I am less impressed with this one than the basic Amrut Single Malt as I found it jarring. I understand the desire and impatience to wait for a well-aged scotch, but I think the rush to create a single malt in a hotter climate with less time doesn’t quite do it justice.

I am uncertain of the ratio of the unpeated Indian barley and the peated Scottish barley, but it just doesn’t seem to sync. 

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Score: 2.5/5

Tasting Notes: Amrut Aatma 

Vital Stats: 56.5% ABV. Aged 6 years and 8 months in a single port pipe cask. Only 360 bottles were produced, and it is a USA exclusive. 750ml $249.

Appearance: Dark mahogany/ruby.

Nose: At first it smells like nothing except nail polish remover. I decided to let it air because I’m finding that Amrut’s whiskies need time to reveal themselves. A mild earthiness, or fresh soil, blends with soot. A rich demerara syrup mingles with raisin. 

Palate: The velvety mouthfeel disappears quickly from the heat of the ABV, but that’s not an issue as it doesn’t leave a burning sensation. Berries and cherries provide a full body of flavor. The oak dries the tongue during the after taste. It’s not overtly sweet like some more fruit forward whiskies. 

Final Thoughts: “Aatma” means soul or spirit in Hindi. This Amrut is part of the Collector’s Series from the distillery. It provides the most warm afterglow, and I consider this one to be a good sipping night cap, or to enjoy with a rich meal. 

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Amrut Kadhambam

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. The basic Amrut Single Malt is aged further in ex-Amrut barrels that held rum, brandy, and sherry. 750ml $115. 

Appearance: Slight maroonish like the darker tips of some marigolds. 

Nose: This whisky is uniquely sweet, and I don’t think if I was blindfolded I would be able to tell it was whisky. 

Palate: It is sweet and light on the tongue with a spiciness typical of rye. Mostly, I get nutmeg, ginger, and a bit of clove. It has a faint raisin finish to it. This dram warms you up, but not with an overpowering immediate sensation; it’s just a nice slow warmth. For once, oak is not the main characteristic as it is completely subdued. There is a sprinkle of peppercorn throughout and a bit of ashiness or soot in the aftertaste. 

Final Thoughts: “Kadhambam” means combination or mixture in the Tanil language. The Amrut Kadhambam is the first one of the bunch to display its flavor without having to wait for its full potential. I highly recommend this one, and overall this is the best of the Amrut’s in this tasting. 

Score: 4.5/5

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5 (1 vote)

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...