Amrut first hit the US market last year with their much-anticipated Fusion. Jim Murray had rated it the world’s third best whisky in the world in his 2010 Whisky Bible. I picked up a bottle and thought it was pretty darn good – but the world’s third best? No Mr. Jones, I am not drinking that kool-aid.
Fast forward to WhiskyFest 2010 in San Francisco. During the VIP hour I noticed a large red box, actually more like a case, sitting on Amrut’s table. I did not recognize the packaging so I had to ask about it. And it turned out to be Amrut’s Intermediate Sherry Matured. I had to give it a try and simply put, it was amazing! Even after consuming more whisky than I care to acknowledge, by the end of the night the Intermediate Sherry Matured still stuck out as one of the best whiskies I tasted.
So when ImpEx Beverages, to whom we are very grateful, provided us with a sample of Intermediate Sherry Matured, I was elated. I couldn’t wait to try this whisky again and see if it was still as good as I remembered. – Chris
Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured ~$110
This whisky is a non-age statement (NAS) whisky that is bottled at 57.1%ABV. What makes this whisky unique is the maturing process. The new make spirit is first matured in ex-bourbon or virgin casks for a period of time. Then the spirit is transferred to sherry butts to mature again. Last, the sherry butts are emptied into ex-bourbon casks to age for another period of time. The official information from Amrut, as you can see is very vague as to how long the spirit is actually aged for in each of the casks, but I am assuming that it is relatively young given their decision to go with a NAS bottling. However, the tropical climate of Bangalore makes whisky mature and age at a faster rate than in Scotland.
Color: Dark copper
Nose: Lively, spunky nose, rich sherry backbone – but not overpowering, then dark spices, cinnamon, sandalwood, fragrant woods that I just can’t identify, something very different going on here – in a good way, then overripe plumbs, raisins, cranberry cobbler.
Palate: That intense fragrant wood, lush sherry sweetness but not cloying or overpowering, great waves of spices, plumbs, prunes, lively and intriguing, some dryness, damp wood, oily, dark cherries.
Finish: Long, spices, sandalwood, long lingering spice that feels like it just decided to set up camp on the middle of the tongue.
Comments: Yes, it was as good as I remembered it. Some amazing stuff happening here. There are some familiar flavors in there, but Amrut brings something else to this gustatory party and I really like it. I am a little hesitant with the price of this whisky though, given that it is a NAS bottling.
I remember a bottle of this at the Amrut table at WhiskyFest 2010 proved to be the dram to get your hands on (and then your lips). If I am not mistaken, and I often am, the bottle was later stashed under the table for more-clandestine pours. I had been looking forward to trying this under more controlled circumstances ever since. The dusty amber sets a distinctive tone. Rich scents of fruit, spice-from-wood, and an almost char-tinged iodine jump out of the glass in what is a distinctive and lively nose. The first sip and the ones that followed delivered. Warm malts and almost-dark sugars preceded a flash of candied orange and grapes. Sherry and a spicy parchment character coat the palate before receding slowly in a wake of more wood notes and an undertow sherry sugars. A signature flavor that contributes something meaningful to the world’s repertoire of whisky expression with the heat acting as a catalyst that transforms and transitions but never dominates.