Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Amrut Peated Cask Strength Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes

 


Have I been on an Indian single malt whisky kick lately? Yes. For the most part, I’ve been stunned by how well the subcontinent handles single malt whisky, especially in light of almost no regulation.

 

Amrut is the original, single malt distillery of India. Founded in Bengaluru in 1948, it didn’t produce its first single malt whisky until 2004 and grabbed worldwide attention when Jim Murray gave Amrut Fusion a 97 rating in 2010. Bengaluru is about 3000 feet above sea level, with temperatures between 61°F and 94°F, while the average humidity is 66%. The climate causes whisky to age about 3.5 times each year compared to what Scotland experiences, translating to about 12% loss annually to the angels.

 

Today I’m sipping on Amrut Indian Peated Single Malt Cask Strength. Unlike many Indian single malts, including those from Amrut, this version is distilled from 100% peated barley sourced from Scotland. Although it carries no age statement, it spent between four and six years in former Bourbon barrels and new, charred oak. It is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and weighs in at a hefty 62.8% ABV (125.6°). You can expect to pay around $105.99 for a 750ml package.

 

Before I get to my tasting notes, I want to thank Glass Revolution Imports (Amrut's US importer) for providing me a sample of this whisky in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

 

Appearance: Poured neat into my trusty Glencairn glass, this single malt presented as gold bullion. A fragile rim released a colossal curtain that crashed into the pool, leaving tiny, sticky droplets.

 

Nose: As you might guess, the first aroma picked out was peat. It was more sweet than smoky, although the latter was easy to discern. What followed was salted chocolate, brown sugar, apricot, date, orange, and, finally, fresh pastry. When I pulled the air into my mouth, it was as if a vanilla bomb went off with date as the aftermath.

 

Palate:  An oily, heavy texture greeted my tongue. The front of my palate tasted vanilla, cooked plantains, and date. As it transitioned to the middle, I could imagine biting into brisket straight off the smoker, accompanied by toffee, orange peel, and lemon peel. The back featured salted caramel, clove, and charred oak.

 

Finish: A long-lasting, spicy finish consisting of dry oak, smoke, clove, slightly tempered by salted caramel and cooked plantains. My tongue sizzled for just under five minutes.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’ve had several peated Indian single malts and expected more of a peated punch than what I experienced. Oh, it is there, but it steps aside easily enough to make the other flavors shine. I have to admit, this cask-strength version Amrut Peated Single Malt wowed me. Personally, I found this to be a hell of a deal, and it would be a mistake to pass it up. A Bottle rating for sure, cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Monday, March 28, 2022

Barrell Craft Spirits Batch 032 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Barrell Craft Spirits is one of those non-distilling producers (NDP) that causes me a little giddyup in my step when a sample winds up on my doorstep. Barrell is a Louisville, Kentucky-based NDP that doesn’t just source a barrel; they take various barrels and blend them to something (hopefully) special. I’ve been impressed with what Joe Beatrice and his crew created for the most part.

 

The most recent release is Batch 032, a Bourbon married of barrels from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Who distills those? While Barrell won’t disclose that information, I’ve long suspected the Kentucky distillery is Jim Beam, Tennessee is George Dickel, and Indiana is, without a doubt, MGP. I’ve published this repeatedly; Barrell has never corrected me.

 

“Batch 032 began with a balance of two sets of barrels: a selection of 5 and 6-year-old barrels with a creamy and tropical profile and a selection of 6, 7, and 10-year-old barrels vatted for their complex, old, woody character. These two sets of barrels were slowly blended over three months. A small group of spice-driven 7-year-old barrels with notes of cinnamon toast, coffee bean, and chocolate were then carefully added to complete the blend. The result is a decadent and rich bourbon with layers of spice and nuttiness.”Barrell Craft Spirits

 

One thing I respect Barrell for is everything they produce is at cask-strength. Nothing is proofed down. If you want to change things up, you can add a few drops of water yourself, but Barrell won’t do that for you. Batch 032 weighs in at 115.34°, and you can expect to pay about $89.00 for a 750ml package.

 

I thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample of Batch 032 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious and taste how it fares.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my trusty Glencairn Glass, Barrell Batch 032 presented as burnt umber. It created a fragile rim that released thicker, slow legs to rejoin the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose: From the moment I cracked the lid, a waft of old oak hit my nostrils. Upon closer inspection, I found cedar, cherry, plum, and caramel, which then became floral before spicy notes of cinnamon and mint kicked in. When I pulled the air into my mouth, vanilla and caramel caressed my tongue.

 

Palate: Many of the Barrell Bourbons I’ve tried were oily. Batch 032 was different. The texture was creamy with a medium weight. The first flavors to engage my palate were cinnamon spice, vanilla, and almond pastry. The back offered a taste of clove, charred oak, and ginger spice.

 

What happened to the middle? That was almost transitionary between the softer front and spicier back.

 

Finish:  Once I swallowed, the finish was soft and spicy before ramping up to big, bold spices. Cinnamon, clove, and ginger led to a kiss of citrus before being completely subdued by freshly-cracked black pepper. It was a ramping experience.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I had fun with Batch 032. The middle was almost frustrating as I took sip after sip, trying to find something that would stand out. It is also one of those dangerous whiskeys; there is no way you’d guess this was 115+° - it went down way too easily. And, because I attempted to nail down the middle, I got a tad buzzed. If you like rye-forward Bourbons (I do), you will go ga-ga over Batch 032. It is a true representation of a Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Broken Barrel California Oak Straight Bourbon and Heresy Straight Rye Reviews & Tasting Notes


Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to review two Bourbons from Infuse Spirits. Both earned my Bottle rating, and you can read more about that here.

 

Infuse Spirits’ founder and master distiller, Seth Benhaim, took aged whiskey from an undisclosed number of casks and transferred it to large, stainless steel tanks. Seth then took broken staves and placed them inside the tanks, believing that the whiskey would interact with a larger surface area than a barrel could accomplish.  Thus, the Broken Barrel Whiskey brand was born.

 

“Though it is often debated, we HOLD FIRM that barrels INFLUENCE roughly 80% of the final flavor of a whiskey. The Notes and character created from contact with oak are what shape the whiskeys we love and enjoy.” – Seth Benhaim

 

Today, I’m sampling California Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Heresy Kentucky Straight Rye. Both came from Owensboro Distilling Company and rested in charred oak before the broken staves were added. Seth calls this his signature oak bills. Neither carries an age statement, but we know they're both at least two years old because both are straight whiskeys. 


I’m grateful to Infuse Spirits for providing me samples of both in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Let’s see how these turned out – let’s #DrinkCurious.



First up is California Oak. It begins with a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley. The oak bill is 80% Central Coast Cabernet and 20% French oak.  Proofed at 88°, you can expect to pay about $35.00 for a 750ml package.

 

Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, California Oak was the color of bronze-orange topaz. A thick rim gave way to long, wavy legs, leaving tiny, sticky droplets behind.

 

Nose: The wine influence was unmistakable; it was jammy with plum and cherry. I found a faint aroma of tangerine, which disappeared into the French oak. I drew the air into my mouth, and that plum and cherry danced across my tongue.

 

Palate:  On the front of my palate, I tasted vanilla cream, coffee, and almond. The middle featured cherry, plum, and cinnamon, while the back offered French oak and freshly-cracked black pepper. Its texture was silky with a medium weight.

 

Finish:  California Oak had one of those freight train finishes. It seemed unstoppable, barreling through with French oak, black pepper, and cherry.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  First and foremost, 88° was plenty for this Bourbon. There were bold flavors that stood out unmuted. If it were any higher, even a few points, my concern would be the spice notes, in particular, would be overwhelming. The nose was enticing, the palate enjoyable, and that Energizer bunny finish was satisfying. For $35.00, this isn’t going to break anyone’s pocketbook; there’s not a reason it shouldn’t take a Bottle rating.




Now it is time for Heresy. It is a 95% rye/5% malted barley recipe, which is relatively common these days for American ryes. The oak bill is 40% ex-Bourbon barrels, 40% new French oak, and 20% sherry cask. Heresy weighs in at 105°, and the suggested retail is $35.00 for a 750ml bottle.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Heresy appeared in a crystal clear, bright amber. A thin rim formed hefty, wavy legs.

 

Nose: Sherry may have made up only 20% of the oak bill, but it's evident on the nose.  Raisin, cherry, and apricot led to nutmeg, char, mint, and floral rye. As the vapor entered my mouth, a wave of vanilla rolled across my palate.

 

Palate:  A soft, buttery mouthfeel (which, considering the proof, shocked me) introduced flavors of vanilla, caramel, and rye bread. I had a tough time finding a middle, while the back featured oak and raisin.

 

Finish:  The 105° wasn't shy; it warmed both my hard palate and throat. Caramel and rye spice dominated, while black pepper and charred oak rounded things out. Like the mouthfeel, it started off soft but quickly ramped up, giving it a very long finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Heresy is relatively uncomplicated for Rye. The nose was the most interesting aspect of this whiskey. Try as I might I just couldn't find a variety of flavors on the palate, and while 105° is far from unusual for me, it was likely too high for what this whiskey is. It was a shame the French oak was incommunicado, because that may have added another dimension. I'm not suggesting it is a bad pour, it just isn't impressive. Heresy is one you should try at a Bar first before committing to a purchase. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Canadian Mist Blended Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


Let’s get something out of the way here. I’ve not tried Canadian Mist in probably the last dozen years. Why? Because the last time it passed my lips, I was in Orlando, and it was the only whisky poured at the event I was attending. It was hideous. Canadian Mist is the whisky that turned me off of Canadian whiskies.

 

I wasn’t reviewing whiskey a dozen years ago. My palate has refined significantly since then. With the whole #DrinkCurious mantra, I’m supposed to return to things I didn’t previously enjoy and give them second (and sometimes third) chances.

 

What is Canadian Mist? It is a blended Canadian whisky founded in 1967 by Brown-Forman. It is made from a mash of rye from Ontario and Alberta, corn grown from within 100 miles of the distillery in Collingwood, Ontario, and malted barley. Triple-distilled in a column still, Canadian Mist uses water sourced from Georgian Bay. It rested “at least” 36 months in used, charred oak barrels that formerly held “heavier whiskeys” in climate-controlled warehouses. Sazerac purchased the brand in 2020. You can expect to spend $9.99 for a 750ml, 40% ABV (80°) package.


I picked up a 50ml taster for $0.99 at some random liquor store. Let’s see if this is any better than I remember.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Canadian Mist was the color of yellow straw. A medium rim led to fat, sticky tears.

 

Nose: I smelled acetone, caramel, butterscotch, and something like synthetic citrus. When I brought the air into my mouth, it was kinda-sorta butterscotch.

 

Palate:  The texture was thin. The first thing I tasted was something chemical. It took a lot to get past it, but I eked out maple and a fake-tasting caramel. Please don’t ask me to break it up into the front, middle, and back because I can’t.

 

Finish:  Too long and bitter, Canadian Mist’s finish featured caramel and more acetone.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  My gosh, it all came back at me as I was smelling this. The only thing I can say that is attractive about Canadian Mist is it is dirt cheap. It is a palate wrecker. I can’t see attempting to salvage this in a cocktail, and I refuse even to try. Rating Canadian Mist as a Bust does a disservice to the Bust rating. Drink anything else.

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Amrut Neidhal (Single Malts of India) Whisky Review & Tasting Notes



Its fans know that Amrut is the pioneer for distilling Indian Single Malt Whisky. Founded in Bengaluru in 1948, it didn’t produce its first single malt whisky until 2004 and grabbed worldwide attention when Jim Murray gave Amrut Fusion a 97 rating in 2010.

 

Many Amrut fans may not know that Amrut has created an umbrella brand called Single Malts of India. It is a line of whiskies that Amrut produces but doesn’t distill. Instead, Amrut works with small Indian distilleries, then Amrut takes the unaged distillate back to Bengaluru to age in its warehouses. The initial release is called Neidhal.

 

“What we have done this time is dug deep and discovered an uncut gem. We have then procured the gem, carried it to Amrut, caressed it with our touch, and polished it with our expertise. What you discover bottled is truly an amazing whisky showcasing its real potential. Watch out, we as an organization are now sailing into unchartered waters of independent bottling.”Ashok Chokalingam, Head Distiller of Amrut

 

Neidhal is the first independent bottling in India. Neidhal comes from the ancient Tamil texts from the Sangham period (300BC to 300AD). In those texts, the earth was divided into five distinct regions. Neidhal consisted of all oceans and coastal lands. This distillate was sourced from a coastal distillery.

 

Neidhal is a single malt whisky. The mash is 100% Indian six-row malted barley which used peat imported from Scotland.  It carries no age statement, but we know that Bengaluru, where Amrut ages its whisky, has about a 12% annual angel’s share loss, which ages at around 3.5 times that of Scotland. Also, Amrut typically uses a blend of vintage Bourbon barrels and new, charred oak as its cooperage.

 

Worldwide, there are 12,000 bottles of Neidhal, of which only 1200 were allocated to India. It is packaged at 46% ABV (92°), and you should be able to acquire a 750ml for $109.99.

 

I want to take a moment and thank Glass Revolution Imports, the US importer, for providing a sample of Neidhal in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and see how this experiment turned out.

 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Neidhal presented as bright gold. A minuscule rim formed that gave way to long, wavy legs.

 

Nose: Smoky peat was the first aroma to hit my olfactory sense. It took some work to get past, but notes of seaweed, coconut, pineapple, iodine, and tasted oak eventually passed through. An interesting blend of coconut and brine rolled across my tongue as I pulled the air into my mouth.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was incredibly oily yet somehow light and airy. The front featured fruity notes such as cherry, plum, pineapple, pear, and sea salt. A punch of smoke, followed by coconut and vanilla, formed the middle. The back consisted of oak, white pepper, leather, and tobacco leaf.

 

Finish: Each time I sipped, the length of the finish changed. The first was very short. Subsequent tastes gave incredibly long durations. Yet, others brought it more to medium to medium-long. Regardless of the span, the flavors of smoke, pineapple, pear, salted caramel, and white pepper were consistent.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Neidhal is a complex single malt whisky. If you don’t like peat, don’t bother. But, if you’re like me and enjoy the earthy smoke, you’re in for a treat. The $109.99 cost is a bit high, but I wouldn’t let that preclude me from enjoying a Bottle. Just take your time to savor it. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

  





Saturday, March 19, 2022

Ole Smoky Flavored Tennessee Whiskey Reviews & Tasting Notes


If you’ve been to a liquor store, convenience store, grocery store, or truck stop, you’ve probably seen Ole Smoky Distillery products on the shelf. Ole Smoky is known for flavored moonshines typically packaged in mason jars and flavored whiskeys.  Located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it was founded in 2010; it is one of the fastest-growing spirits brands in the United States, available in all 50 states plus another 20 or so countries.

 

Earlier this year, I reviewed a Straight Tennessee Bourbon from Ole Smoky called James Ownby Reserve. I was impressed with how good it was, and it scored my Bottle rating. Ole Smoky also sent me five samples of its flavored whiskeys:  Peach, Peanut Butter, Salty Caramel, Salty Watermelon, and Mango Habanero.

 

There are some commonalities among each of the five. They’re all 60°, making them whiskey liqueurs, and all have natural flavors with added caramel coloring. Each of the five runs $19.99 and should take minimal effort to locate a bottle.

 

I’ll provide notes on each, but before I do, I thank Ole Smoky for these samples in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews.  Let’s #DrinkCurious and take them on one at a time…

 

◊◊◊◊◊


 

The first one up to bat is Ole Smoky Peach Flavored Whiskey.

 

Appearance:  Served neat in a Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the color of chardonnay wine. It formed a thick ring on the glass, which generated slower legs.

 

Nose: As you’d imagine, I smelled peaches and nectarines. The aroma was overwhelming, but that sensation subsided as I allowed it to rest for a while. When I drew the air into my mouth, it seemed as if peaches and cream rolled past my palate.

 

Palate:  The texture was thick and creamy. As far as flavors are concerned, they were limited to peach and vanilla from front to back.

 

Finish:  Medium in duration and slightly peppery, the peach continued to the end.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  If peaches and cream are your things, this liqueur won’t disappoint. The peppery quality in the finish was unexpected, but it helps remind you this is booze and not something like Capri Sun. I wasn’t entirely happy with it, though, and I will give this one a Bar rating.

 

◊◊◊◊◊


 

The next batter stepping up to the plate is Ole Smoky Peanut Butter. Let’s get something out of the way here: I’m a peanut butter freak. It could be a sandwich, mixed in ice cream, or it can be a flavored whiskey, and merely because it says “peanut butter” on it, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to taste it.

 

Appearance:  A yellow-gold appearance offered a medium-thick rim on my Glencairn glass that yielded slow, wavy tears that fell back to the pool.

 

Nose:  Honestly, I’d have been shocked if I didn’t smell peanut butter. Thankfully, there was a lot of it, but I also experienced graham crackers. When I inhaled through my lips, only the peanut butter remained.

 

Palate: A creamy, thick mouthfeel led to a flavor more of fresh, roasted peanuts than peanut butter.

 

Finish: Slightly warming, a medium-length finish was closer to peanut butter.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I was slightly confused by the peanut butter nose, roasted peanut palate, and peanut butter finish. Regardless, it was tasty. While I have had better peanut butter flavored whiskeys, there’s nothing wrong with the Ole Smoky version. I’ll toss a Bottle rating at it.

  

◊◊◊◊◊


 

Salty Caramel is next in line. I’ve sampled a few salted caramel flavored whiskeys over the years, and typically they’re good on their own without the need to put them in cocktails (but there’s no reason you couldn’t).

 

Appearance:  The color certainly matched the name. It formed a heavy rim and stuck like glue to the wall of the Glencairn glass.

 

Nose: The aroma of caramel syrup, reminiscent of ice cream topping, exploded from the glass, and I had difficulty putting it down. The ice cream topping refused to stop as it wafted between my lips.

 

Palate:  The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. The only flavor I discerned was caramel.

 

Finish:  Until now, I was a bit disappointed because while the caramel was present, there was nothing salty about it. The good news is, while it did eventually come out, it was not dominating. The entire finish was medium in length.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Ole Smoky Salty Caramel is, simply put, dangerous. If I wasn’t paying attention and sipping right from the bottle, I might plow through the whole thing. Would it make for a good cocktail? Probably. Did it need anything else, including ice? Nope. But it did take a Bottle rating from me.

  

◊◊◊◊◊


 

Salty Watermelon is in the fourth position. Much to Mrs. Whiskeyfellow’s horror, I’m not a fan of watermelon. I’ll eat it, but it would be one of the last fruits I’d choose.

 

Appearance: Light caramel but crystal clear in appearance, Salty Caramel formed a heavy rim with legs that crashed back to the pool of my Glencairn glass.

 

Nose: This whiskey smelled precisely like a Jolly Rancher watermelon, then somehow included the rind. How is that done? When I pulled the air past my lips, there was no shock when I tasted watermelon.

 

Palate:  Thick and full-bodied, Salty Watermelon tasted of sugar and watermelon rind. Mrs. Whiskeyfellow taught me if you put salt on watermelon, it brings out the sweetness.

 

Finish: Short-to-medium in duration, the sugary watermelon remained to the end.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: In my opinion, Salty Watermelon was closer to flavored rum than whiskey. I believe it was the sugary quality that contributed to this conclusion. Like the Salty Caramel, this one was dangerously easy to drink and good to boot. Because I’m not fond of watermelon, but I do like Salty Watermelon, which will earn it extra points and steal that Bottle rating.  

 

◊◊◊◊◊


 

The last in the lineup is Mango Habanero. I left it for last for a specific reason:  I can’t drink it. I’m severely allergic to mango, and the fact these all contain “natural flavors” means I can’t risk a reaction.

 

Final Assessment:  My favorite of the flavors I tasted was hands-down, Salty Caramel. But the most impressive was Salty Watermelon. I was surprised Peanut Butter came in third. Before tasting any of them, I would have assumed Peanut Butter would have taken the top spot when this whole thing started. There’s nothing wrong with it; just the Salty ones eclipsed it. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Quiet Man 8-Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Beannachta√≠ na F√©ile Padraig Ort! The traditional Irish blessing translates as “Blessings of Patrick’s Festival Upon You.”  Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I can find no better way to commemorate it than to review a new-to-me Irish whiskey.

 

Before I get there, though, what exactly is Irish whiskey? First and foremost, it must be a complete product of Ireland, distilled from a mash of malted cereals with or without unmalted grains. It must be fermented with yeast and distilled at less than 94.8% ABV. Here’s a tricky part: when distilled, it must have an aroma and taste of the representative grains, with no additives other than water and caramel coloring. It must age at least three years in 700 or fewer liter oak containers.

 

Beyond those requirements, Irish whiskey falls under four categories: single pot still, single malt, single grain, and blended.

 

The Quiet Man is a venture of US-based Luxco and Niche Drinks of County Derby in Northern Ireland. The whiskey enjoyed distribution throughout Europe before making its US debut in 2016. There were talks of building a distillery in County Derry, but those fell by the wayside in 2018. Regardless, the brand is going strong today, but the actual distiller remains undisclosed.

 

“Now that I am making my own whiskey, I am naming it after my father. As a bartender, he saw a lot of things and heard a lot of stories, but like all good bartenders, he was true to his code and told no tales. My father, John Mulgrew, ‘The Quiet Man’, or as they say in Ireland ‘An Fear Ciuin.’”Ciaran Mulgrew, founder of The Quiet Man

 

The Quiet Man is available in two versions: a blended Irish whiskey and an 8-year Irish single malt. I’m sipping on the latter. Like most Irish whiskey, it is triple-distilled in copper pot stills from a 100% malted barley mash. It is then aged in first-fill former Bourbon barrels for at least eight years and bottled at 40% ABV (80°) with a retail price between $42.99 and $49.99.

 

Before I go further, I’d like to thank Luxco for sending me a sample of The Quiet Man in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and learn what this whiskey is all about.

 

Appearance: Sipped neat in a Glencairn glass, The Quiet Man was brilliant gold. It formed a bold rim with husky, fast legs that crashed back to the pool of whiskey.

 

Nose: A floral fragrance accompanied by caramel, honey, citrus, and lightly-toasted oak. When I drew the aroma into my mouth, citrus and vanilla tangoed across my tongue.

 

Palate:  A full-bodied, somewhat creamy mouthfeel greeted my palate. The front featured banana, apricot, apple, and vanilla, while the middle offered nutmeg and orange zest. Clove, cinnamon, coffee, and oak comprised the back.

 

Finish:  Flavors of oak spice, coffee, and clove were joined by apricot and orange zest. The finish was long and lingering, and I was admittedly taken aback that something at 40% ABV could make my hard palate tingle.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  An eight-year Irish single malt whiskey for $42.99 sounds like a heck of a deal if it is enjoyable. The Quiet Man may tell no secrets, but the whiskey named for him is full of flavor and character. I savored it, and I believe you will, too. The Quiet Man 8-Year Single Malt has earned every bit of my Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Amrut Bagheera Indian Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


 

If you read (or watched) The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, you’ll remember the black panther that protected “man-cub” Mowgli. The panther’s name was Bagheera (which, in Hindi, means black panther). Bagheera was wise and well-respected by most of the other jungle animals, and when he found Mowgli in a wrecked canoe, Bagheera dedicated his life to teaching him and protecting him from harm.

 

Amrut is the original, single malt distillery of India. Founded at Bengaluru in 1948, it didn’t produce its first single malt whisky until 2004 and grabbed worldwide attention when Jim Murray gave Amrut Fusion a 97 rating in 2010. Bengaluru is about 3000 feet above sea level, with temperatures between 61F and 94F, while the average humidity is 66%. The climate causes whisky to age about 3.5 times each year compared to what Scotland experiences, translating to about 12% loss annually to the angels.

 

Today I’m sipping on Amrut Bagheera. It is a limited-release offering, taking its flagship Amrut Single Malt and finishing it in former sherry casks. Amrut begins its journey with a mash of six-row barley, 99% of which is unpeated and 1% peated. That’s then aged in both former Bourbon and new, charred American oak barrels for an undisclosed period. While the type of sherry cask is unknown, I’m going out on a limb and believe it was Oloroso, and my tasting notes will explain why. It is non-chill filtered and naturally colored. You can expect to pay about $89.99 for a 46% ABV (92°) 750ml package.

 

I want to thank Glass Revolution Imports (the US importer) for providing me a sample of Bagheera in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it’s time to #DrinkCurious and taste what it is all about.

 

Appearance: Sipped neat from my Glencairn glass, Bagheera presented as deep, burnt umber. A medium rim released sticky droplets.

 

Nose: Bagheera was very fragrant from the moment I opened the bottle. It was as if I had released a djinn from its prison. There was no possible way to miss the sherry influence. Raisin, date, dried cherry, leather, and candied citrus peel wafted from it. Caramel, cocoa, and oak were next, with a touch of brine for good measure. As I pulled the aroma into my mouth, leather and date tangoed across my tongue.

 

Palate:  An oily, medium-weighted texture greeted my tongue. Fruity date, raisin, prune, and apricot created the front, while brown sugar, sweet tobacco, toffee, and almond formed the middle. Chocolate, roasted coffee beans, leather, and dry oak rounded the back of my palate.

 

Finish: Remember that 1% peated barley? I forgot about it until this point. A puff of mild smoke enveloped date, raisin, dried cherry, apricot, and dry oak from beginning to end. There was some pucker power to the dryness as it lingered for a medium-to-long finish.   

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  With single malts, there are sherry bombs and sherry-influenced whiskies. Bagheera falls somewhere in-between. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it wasn’t a supporting cast member. I found Bagheera to be tasty and decidedly different. Sure, it is non-age stated, but nearly every other Indian single malt is. I’d have no problem paying the $89.99 because the experience was delightful. Bagheera earns every bit of my Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.