‘Fusion’ is a word that is thrown around far too much in modern cuisine. In my opinion, the act of combining elements from two different cultures should only be called ‘Fusion’ if it successfully integrates the elements of those cultures to form a truly new thing, distinct from the source material. Amrut’s most awarded bottling to date does this brilliantly. A vatting of Indian malted barley and imported peated Scottish malt, distilled separately and married in ex-bourbon barrels in Bangalore, yields a bright citrusy malt with many dimensions – very much greater than the sum of its parts.
Nose: Light and lemony, with elements of a Lowlander. Some green apple, green banana, and green papaya. Mossy, with green honeysuckle. After a rest in the glass, the Amrut banana starts to come through.
Palate: Silky texture, but not heavily bodied. Bright, acidic notes up front – apple, lemon, club soda, with some light smoke. After a marginal tongue burn (for 50% ABV, it’s not too dry), deeper flavors of smoked almonds, caramel and butterscotch, banana trifle, malty cereal grains, and bakery sweets emerge.
Finish: Medium-long, with some nice light brown sugar, light oak, and malt. Lingering wafts of smoke, and more nuttiness. Not bitter at all. Very pleasant.
Overall: I was a bit put off by the banana in the nose – just this side of rancid, which seems to be an Amrut hallmark – but on the tongue, this dram blooms into a medium-complex whisky with no apparent flaws. A few tropical notes give it an exotic style, which might appeal to those tired of Scotch standards. The peated barley adds dimension without ever overbalancing the malt – a very successful marriage of the two styles. The addition of water doesn’t have any effect that I can determine.
I marked this as a “Must Try” because I believe that every whisky lover should try spirits that are outside of the usual boundaries of old-world whisky. I think Fusion is a perfect introduction to Indian malt, and is (so far) the only Amrut that I can recommend without any reservations. Progressive bars should carry this and the standard 43% ABV Amrut, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a way to taste it.