Whisky Advocate

Review: Amrut Portonova

September 16th, 2011

Amrut Portonova, 61.2%, $125

This release is a port version of Amrut’s Intermediate Sherry — a sort of port pipe sandwich. The spirit is matured in both unused casks and bourbon casks, then spends a few months in port pipes, and then returns to bourbon casks. The result is a Pink Floyd show of a whisky: vibrant, colorful, complex, and nearly too much. A blackcurrant and wispy, smoky nose gives way to an intense and bittersweet mix of chili, blackcurrant, oak, damson, dark chocolate, and peat. Astounding. —Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

20 Responses to “Review: Amrut Portonova”

  1. Bob Siddoway says:

    Wow, that combination of aging is something crazy. Sounds unique, yet delicious, though. I definitely want to try this stuff…

  2. anorak77 says:

    How old is it? Age Matters! =)

  3. Dominic Roskrow says:

    It’s probably not much more than three years old but it really doesn’t matter. I’m writing about this very subject for this magazine. Many distillers across the world are questioning whether Scotland should be seen as a benchmark when it comes to age and quality, pointing to cask size and climactic conditions such as average temperature, temperature extremes and humidity as relevant. They argue that the proof is in the taste and in cases such as this, I for one would agree with them.

    • sam k says:

      As your copy editor, I can say that you did an outstanding job on the subject, Dominic. It’s a very comprehensive look at the subject from a number of angles and is an excellent read. It should appear in the December issue.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Folks can do lots of things with cask size and climate control but they can’t replicate the sophistication of a spirit which has been successfully subjected to long term aging.

    • Ryan says:

      Would age matter if it were only 40 days old? If it were 40 years old? Of course age matters to most consumers, and we all understand that is precisely why emerging distilleries often omit it. Most level-headed people understand that age and quality operate independently of one another, and that age alone doesn’t predetermine that a whisky will taste great, but it’s fallacy to conclude that therefore age statements should be factually irrelevant to consumers. All facts are relevant to consumers considering whisky purchases, no matter the price! And seeing as how you make a living off of the whisk(e)y consumer’s unquenchable thirst for information, you of all people understand this.

  4. Oldest Amrut ever bottled is The Double Barrel which was exactly 7years old. (the other cask in that bottling was older thou, Slightly older than 7½ years. Amrut Fusion is around 5yo. I’d reckon Amruts are around 4-5yo’s in general. The maturing enviroment of this whisky makes these ages more or less the limit

    Steffen

  5. Danny Maguire says:

    I’ve never tried an Amrut, but my understanding is that the warehouses are much hotter than anything we get in Scotland so there is more evaporation which means that you can’t leave it long if you want to bottle at a reasonable strength. So if you’re somewhere there is slow maturation, age matters. By the time you’ve got to the mid teens you’ve got a nicely matured whisky.If you are somewhere there is a high temperature once again age matters; if you leave it as long as it’s left in Scotland you’ll have nothing left to bottle.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Most warehouses are climate controlled, Danny, so it doesn’t really matter where they are.

    • The Climate that matures Amrut (it’s not controlled) makes the ABV go up or stay level. The problem is the volume with casks loosing 10-15% or so (I can’t remember their exact figure). Casks will go empty in less than 10 years. The climate also matures Amrut different, speed matureing is a word that can be sued to descrtibe it. At 4-5 years old it’s matured like a 20+ scottish whisky. The comparison is not 100% right as the whisky matured nboth faster and different, but I once guessed on Fusion as being 20+ yo scottish whisky in a blind tasting

      Steffen

  6. anorak77 says:

    Agreed. Look at the Kentucky rickhouses where George T Stagg is aged… they say the top floors can be dozens of degrees hotter than the lower ones, and this year’s release and last year’s release are about 70% ABV, and aged SEVENTEEN + years!

    $125 for a 3-5 year old? I will pass and spend my cash on something like the Rosebank 21 from the 2011 Diageo special releases.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Right-on, anorak.

    • If you look at this as $ spend per year matured in a warehouse I think you make a mistake. I would look at the quality of the whisky instead. I just bought three 20-23 yo Diageo Special Releases 2009 and none of them came no where close to the general Amrut quality.

      So why are these whiskies not cheaper. Obvious reason is the fill level of the casks. If they are less than half full the price is doubled compared to a cask where not a lot has evaporated, like it would be if the 3yo is from Scotland. Another step that makes this more costly to produce is the sandwich maturation. It takes some work and effort.

      This is also their version of a premium bottling. There are cheaper Amruts available

      Stefffen

      • Tadas says:

        The price is high because profit margins a high and they are increasing price as much as the market will bear :D Has nothing to do with the refills or labor. Labor is around 10 times cheaper in India than in Scotland. $125 for a bottle of young whiskey is a crazy price.

        • mongo says:

          in any case, the special amrut releases are limited enough that it does not matter. there are enough people who are willing to pay the premium, for whatever reason. i will not join in this time. i purchased the intermediate sherry, and while i quite like it i don’t like it more than other sherried whiskies of its kind that are made in a less involved manner and are available for a lower price. if i did i’d pay for a second bottle and not worry about the age.

  7. Red_Arremer says:

    You try any water with this one Dominic?

  8. Dominic Roskrow says:

    Sorry Red, just noted your question. Yes I tasted with water. I prefer to add water where possible but don’t like to taste Whisky under 40%. So an ideal bottling strength for me is 46%. A Whisky of this strength gives lots of scope for experimentation.

  9. Raj Sabharwal says:

    Great discussions. Ultimately, Single Malt consumers decide what is a and is not worth buying. For the US we have a total of 55 cases (330 bottles) arriving early December, and I am sure that they will not be around for long.
    Amrut Two Continents will be hitting the retail shelves this week.
    Enjoy
    Raj

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