Another amazingly innovative (and delicious!) expression from India's Amrut Distillery. Following on from the success of their Fusion Single Malt, they've pushed the boat out again with Naarangi.
The name comes from the Hindi word for 'oranges' and is in reference to the specially treated casks that the whisky is aged in. Ex-Oloroso sherry casks are refilled with wine and, yep, you guessed it: orange peel. After three years of soaking up all the citrus-y goodness, the barrels are emptied again, and filled with a three-year-old malt whisky, left to mature for a further three years.
In the world of whisky, six years of maturation is a little on the young side, but bear in mind that the temperature and humidity is vastly different in Bangalore than it is in the cool Scottish Highlands. In fact, the ageing is so increased in the tropical temperatures of the sub-continent, that this whisky drinks more like a 12 or 15 YO, such is the complexity and depth. A unique and special dram.
The nose is awash with different flavours and layers. Lightly toasted oak, orange peel, and rich sherry. There are sweeter notes too, with chocolate cinnamon and nutmeg, with a flutter of vanilla sprinkled in there. This is a super rich nose and the orange is quite prominent, though, thankfully it does not overpower. The palate has a good weight and a nice, mouth-coating texture. Notes of chocolate and cinnamon with pepper and ginger. There's orange again, but more of an orange cake this time, with subtle oak notes coming through. The finish is extremely long and lip-smackingly good.
The Amrut distillery was founded in 1948 as Amrut Laboratories. Established by Shri J N Radhakrishna, the company started blending and bottling various alcoholic beverages. During the 1950s and 1960s, Amrut launched products for the Indian armed forces as well as the general market; products included the dark rum Amrut XXX and Silver Cup Brandy. During the 1970s, Amrut began marketing a grape brandy called Bejois, made from Bangalore blue grapes.
ANNE-SOPHIE BIGOT - DISTILLER.COM
Despite its name, do not expect something extremely citrus-y here. Of course there are some orange zest notes, but this expression also reveals some interesting dried fruits and spices on the nose. The palate is thick, almost syrupy, with stronger orange flavours, oak and hot spices.
Amrut ingeniously flavored an oloroso cask with wine and orange peel for 3 years before finishing this highly innovative whisky in it. A warmth and richness exudes, the citrus intensity of peel and orange oils develops the longer you resist temptation. Dried fruits, apricot, heather, ripe mango, triple sec, with a slight mustiness. Syrupy, soft orange pulp with zested limes makes it quite nippy. Finish of gum and wood notes after a spicy start. Whatever you do, drink it neat.
Best Indian Single Malt - World Whisky Awards 2018