Greedy Angels don’t come cheap. From between $480-$1100 each. To be precise.
The thought of Indian whisky once made even the least discerning shudder. Now the price of it does. Bangalore is a long way from Islay. But Amrut has changed the way we think about whisky made in India. India whisky has been super-premium.
Solan No 1 was the first single malt whisky made by Amrut Distilleries. Amrita means “Drink of the Gods”.
Amrut Distilleries Ltd was founded in Karnataka in 1948 by JN Radhakrishna Rao Jagdale and initially produced IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor). The current main distillery in Kambipura was built in 1987. The first whisky, “MaQuinosh Premium,” was blended with sugar cane. Amrut aged their malts for only a year before discovering that hot weather makes whisky mature faster in India than in Europe and the US. Due to evaporation, the “angels’ share” was higher by ten percent in India than in Scotland, where the annual evaporative loss is about 2%.
Surinder Kumar, master blender at Amrut Distilleries, estimates that one year of barrel-aging in India is equal to three years of aging in Scotland. And perhaps with a better taste profile. Amrut Single Malt Whisky launched in Glasgow in 2004 and in North America six years later.
Amrut uses barley from Rajasthan, Haryana, and the Punjab regions, importing peated barley from Scotland. Amrut used its own brandy and rum barrels to finish. An Amrut whisky is generally aged for four-and-a-half years.
Amrut Greedy Angels was a limited edition 50% ABV, 8-year-old single malt whisky released in April 2013. Amrut Distilleries claims it’s the oldest Indian whisky ever produced. Its name comes from the term angels’ share, the portion of whisky lost during maturation. Greedy Angels were dedicated to celebrating the 60th birthday of Amrut Distilleries chairman and MD Neelakanta Jagdale. A ten year 2019 old now costs $940
Their Fusion Indian Single Malt, launched in 2009, is still much respected and admired. The name derives from the fusion of Indian barley and Scottish peated malt. Naaringi has been held for three years in a combination of oloroso sherry, matured wine, and orange peel. It retails for around $170 a bottle.
The days of Jolly Rodger, Old Monk, Contessa, and Hercules whisky – once made exclusively for the military and sold in the canteen at Bombay -are not quite over. And the likes of “Royal Challenge,” “Black Dog,” “Royal Stag,” “Officer’s Choice,” “ Knockout,” “ Imperial,” and “Antiquity Blue Ultimate” are still popular. MacDowell’s is the oldest surviving brand, named after the man who opened a distillery in 1898. For many, for a long time, Indian whisky has been the elixir of life.
But Indian whisky, thanks to Amrut – as well as “Rampur” (some of which can fetch as much as £900) and Goa’s “ Peter John”- has moved from the back street barsaatis to the gentlemen’s clubs, top hotels, and restaurants and swishest bars in the world. It is high-quality stuff. Don’t be scared of it. Or the price.
Distilled in traditional copper pot stills in the oldest distillery in India, dating from 1943, Rampur’s lineup of single malts has become known the world over for the quality of their liquid. In 2019, the brand added Rampur Double Cask to its range, and it has been stacking up awards ever since. Last year, it was awarded a gold medal at the Fifty Best World Whisky Awards.
: The signature aroma of all Rampur Indian Single Malt expressions is Lychee and a delicate touch of Rose petals. That is the first recall when you sniff Rampur Double Cask.
The Rampur distillery is located in Uttar Pradesh at the foothills of the Himalayas.
“ Every whisky is the manifestation of climatic condition and geographic conditions it belongs to. We are privileged to be located in North India in the foothills of the Himalayas. . Rampur is not about drinking; it is all about the experience. “