Amrut Distilleries is Bangalore-based. JN Radhakrishna Rao Jagdale set up Amrut Distilleries in 1948 and 56 years on, his grandson launched Amrut Whisky, the first Indian single malt brand. Interestingly, Rakshit Jagdale started it all as an MBA student in Newcastle, UK, in response to his father’s challenge to market an Indian single malt in the very home of the spirit, in Scotland. Conforming to the tough European Union packaging norms took a lot of time and effort. But it was all worth it. We had our jaw-dropping moment when the host at Glasgow’s famous Pot Still whisky pub served Amrut to a group of connoisseurs, without telling them where it was from. Each person named a different region of Scotland as the likely place of origin, but they were unanimous in their appreciation, recalls Jagdale junior, who is an executive director of the company. What sets it apart from other Indian liquor brands is its target market. India has always been a huge whisky market, but at the lower end. We wanted to move from quantity to quality, and the biggest challenge was to gain acceptance from the luxury whisky market in Europe, chairman and managing director of the company. That’s why they set aside a portion of their blends for ageing. The success of Amrut in the Western markets is to a great extent because of endorsements from people who matter.
Pale gold colour. The high spirit prickles the nostrils. Powerful aromatics include damp earth, terracotta, biscuit, manuka honey and lanolin. The palate is achingly intense spices compete with off dry, earthy peat; some burnt toffee apple sweetness enters, but the intense spices are relentless to the point of being mouth numbing. As the spice gradually subsides, kippery, Fishermen’s Friend flavours complete what is a stupendous whisky experience by any measure; ultimately invigorating.