Amrut is an innovative Indian distillery based near Bangalore. The name is the Sanskrit word meaning 'Nectar of the Gods' and Amrut was the first ever official single malt whisky to be released out of India in the early 2000s. Since then it has grown a significant following around the world. It has won many awards in global spirits competitions beating Scotch and other well-known whiskies along the way.
Amrut is known for its sweet, fruity and expressive style. The spirit develops heavy tropical fruit notes during maturation. They also produce peated single malt and this has a sweet and gentle smoke, similar to peated Highland whiskies from Scotland.
The core range is extensive and consists of both unpeated and peated expressions. These are complemented by numerous special releases and innovative experiments, including some at cask strength. This includes Fusion which features 75% unpeated Indian malt and 25% peated malt from Scotland. Amrut has an experimental approach to maturation with unorthodox casks often used. These include ex-Port, brandy, rum and Madeira wine barrels, although core products are generally aged in more traditional ex-sherry and bourbon casks.
Amrut is home to a wide range of products such as gin, rum, vodka and single malt whisky.
The whisky facility contains two mash tuns and 12 stainless steel washbacks. They practice an extremely long fermentation time of 140 hours, which gives an exceptionally fruity characteristic to the wash. There are six copper pot stills and these work in pairs. Amrut produces around one million litres of whisky per year.
Much of the barley used is Indian and grown in the foothills of the Himalayas near the northern city of Jaipur. However, some is also imported from Scotland. This is especially true of the peated malt they use.
The hot and humid climate of southern India where the distillery is based gives a very fast maturation time at Amrut. This accelerates interaction between spirit and oak, giving the perception of quicker ageing. The 'angel's share' - the evaporation of spirit from the cask - is approximately 12% per year, compared to 1-2% in Scotland and Ireland.
Amrut Laboratories was founded in 1948 by JN Radhakrishna just outside Bangalore. It produced alcoholic beverages and later became the official bottler for the Indian Armed Forces. The best-known products in the years between the 1950s and 1960s were Amrut XXX dark rum and Silver Cup brandy.
They did not begin distilling whisky until the mid-1980s and employed leading Scotch whisky experts to achieve the best quality. Prior to that, regulations in India were poor for whisky production and the reputation of products even lower. Amrut's goal was to improve the quality and standing of Indian whisky.
The current single malt distillery was built in 1987 and is located in the town of Kambipura, around 15 miles from Bangalore. Most initial batches were aged for one year and used in the company's range of blended whiskies. The Amrut brand was introduced in 2004 and became the first ever official single malt to be released out of India.
Amrut was aimed at European markets following changing consumer trends and the birth of the craft distilling movements in America and Europe. It was finally launched in India in 2010 and is now available in over 40 countries. This success meant the distillery was expanded in 2018. The distillery and its brand remain owned by Amrut Distilleries Ltd.