Reviewed by: Mooresy
Keen not to be left behind, India’s first single malt was launched in 2004 by Amrut Distilleries and has had a meteoric rise to success in the world market over the last decade. Not trying to imitate Scotch, Indian whisky brings its own special something to the field.
True to its name, this variant is a fusion between the traditional methods of the Scots and the experimental, unshackled approach of Indian distillers. Like a child who has moved out of home in defiance but is still keen to impress the parents, Amrut whiskies are a reminder to the world that independence can lead to innovation in a way only ex-colonial powers demonstrate.
For long-time drinkers of Scotch whisky who are yet to stray into the realm of Australian, Japanese or any other countries, Amrut Fusion will be a surprising drop. On the nose there are hints of spice and sweetness, pushing the mind to thoughts of chai and other familiar Indian flavours.
After a short while, the intensity fades and, I for one, was left with the clearest smell of warm cinnamon doughnuts. On a cold night sitting on a balcony somewhere looking over the ocean, one would feel they were right there at a carnival surrounded by cotton candy, caramel popcorn, and of course the doughnuts.
To taste it gets more traditional, the fruitcake and chocolaty flavours, with the vanilla notes almost inescapable in bourbon-matured drams. The Scottish barley has arguably its biggest influence on the palate through the peat it brings to Fusion, giving a nice smoky kickback to whisky’s origins. Nothing overpowering, just enough to affect the finish and push it out that little bit longer.
There’s a moderate finish, but it’s hard to identify the length because once finished there is a strong desire to just top up the glass a little more and keep the sensation alive. Imagine opening a box of 12 cinnamon doughnuts: you never eat just one.
In the same way that Suntory exhibits qualities archetypal to the qualities of the country in which it was made – precision, exactness, and patience – there is something of the same in Amrut. A busyness and complexity that may make it hard to pin down individual flavours at first but given time all come together and paint a picture everyone can enjoy. There are few whiskies where the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is so applicable.
Amrut has several variants including a peated and a cask strength version of their original single malt, but Fusion is delicious, readily available, affordable, and has a hedonic quality that so far differs from all other Indian whisky (not to mention Scotch whisky) in a charming and moreish way.