I have to admit; it has been exciting to see the growth in popularity of Indian single malts. My first experience was about a dozen years ago with Amrut. I’ve been a big fan of Paul John. Rampur has been showing promise.
Watch out, folks, because there’s a new player in town, and it is called Kamet. Kamet is a joint venture between Peak Spirits and Picadilly Distillery. If you shrug your shoulders and ask yourself (or me), “What’s the big deal about that?” I have two names to mull around: Surrinder Kumar and Nancy Fraley. Surrinder is considered the father of Indian Single Malts; he was formerly the Master Blender at Amrut. Nancy “The Nose” Fraley is one of the most respected blenders in the United States.
“The story begins at the base of Mt. Kamet, the third highest peak in The Himalayas. From here, the Kamet foothills unfold into verdant plains where the fertile soils become a patchwork cut by mountain-fed streams. For thousands of years, the lands beneath Kamet have been a breadbasket for the Indian people providing water and agricultural sustenance. The stories, legends, and fortunes of this region have been passed along and are carried forth today by the sacred Parrot, our brand icon. We are reminded and inspired by the winged messengers of the region to work hard, be loyal to our community, and be thankful for our bounty.” – Kamet
Kamet starts with 100% malted six-row barley, the most common kind used with Indian whisky. It utilizes French yeast in the fermentation process and Scottish-style copper pot stills for the distillation process. It aged in former Bourbon barrels, ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry butts, and vintage Bordeaux wine casks. Kamet is the first Indian single malt to utilize the latter cooperage.
Kamet carries no age statement, but that’s not uncommon with Indian single malts. They age much faster, often at a rate of three times that of Scotch due to India's hotter, more humid climate. It is non-chill filtered and naturally colored. Proofed to 46% ABV (92°), you can expect to spend about $44.99 for a 750ml package.
One of my favorite Madison-area liquor stores brought Kamet to my attention, and I bought a bottle, both to #DrinkCurious and put together a review. Let’s see if all the background lives up to the only thing that matters: the whisky.
Appearance: I served this neat in my trusty Glencairn glass and allowed it to rest about ten minutes before approaching it. It was one of the most orange-amber ambers I’ve come across. This whisky formed a fragile rim but couldn’t hold onto the fast, fat legs that crashed back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: The first thing I smelled was candied orange peel. It was joined by caramel, toasted oak, raisin, cherry, English toffee, and roasted almond. When I inhaled the vapor into my mouth, I discovered cherry vanilla.
Palate: The mouthfeel was medium-weighted and silky. At the front of my palate, I tasted black cherry, plum, raisin, and orange slice candies. The middle featured sweet tobacco, caramel, and vanilla. Then, I tasted dark chocolate, leather, dry oak, and clove on the back.
Finish: My tongue tingled slightly from the medium-long, spicy finish. Heavy raisin, dark chocolate, fresh leather, dry oak, and clove remained.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I started by stating how exciting it is to see the explosive growth of Indian single malts. New players will be welcome so long as they provide quality whiskies. I believe Kamet falls in that category. I admit that I was looking forward to a peated whisky, but that wasn’t meant to be, and that’s perfectly fine. Kamet is tasty, well-constructed, and quite affordable, and I failed to find anything to complain about. I’d love to see more from this brand and am happy to confer my coveted 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.