Wine Makers

Amrut Distilleries.

Whosoever has loved the single malt whisky, has definitely heard about the brand of whisky from Amrut distilleries. Headed by Mr Neelakanta Rao, who is the chairman and managing director, the distillery is widely known for its single malt whisky. This also is the first single malt whisky which has been made in India.

The ride to fame began when the whisky savant, Jim Murray, tasted the whisky in 2005 and gave it a whopping score of 82 out of 100. This was followed in the year 2010 when he proclaimed the Amrut Fusion as the world’s third-best whisky in his Whisky Bible. These incidents changed the face of Indian whisky which was earlier perceived as Scotch whisky blended with something cheap. Even the editor of Whisky Advocate, John Hansell, echoed this perception and said that Amrut was making whisky which was really good.

Surprisingly, the Amrut single malt whisky has provided only around 4-5% of the revenue for it. A major portion of its revenue comes from other spirits such as brandy, rum, vodka, gin, etc. Amrut Distilleries has two full distilleries in Karnataka and one in Kerala. The Amrut single malt whisky is sold in around 22 countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, US, etc.

Amrut is a Sanskrit word which means “the drink of the Gods”. Currently, Amrut Distilleries is a subsidiary of the N.R.Jagdale group in Bangalore. Amrut Distilleries began with a liquor blending and bottling plant for IMFLs. They then decided to provide liquor to the defence canteen of the armed forces, which they still continue to do so for specific brands.

The premium segment of whisky found the recognition it deserved which caused a paradigm shift. Other distillers in India stopped blending using flavour-based whiskey or brandy and instead preferred natural malt whisky and grape brandies. The pre 90s period was difficult for the distilleries since the restrictions on import of technology were pretty stringent. Post 90s, following a liberal outlook and import duty reduction, better technology became accessible giving rise to better whiskies.

The story behind the MaQintosh Premium whisky is pretty interesting. Most of the distillers were brewing whisky from molasses. Jagdale decided to brew a whisky from barley that would be blended with malt. In 18 months, the first batch of single malt whisky was ready. But, it wasn’t bottled like so since India wasn’t used to consuming single malt. They blended it with alcohol from molasses and branded it as the MaQintosh Premium Whisky.

The reason behind the existence of the famed Amrut single malt whisky was a result of excesses. The distilleries had a large quantity of fermenting malt than what is needed. Jagdale proceeded to age some barrels for longer than usual just out of curiosity. They aged for almost four to five years until they realised that the comparatively warmer weather of the Indian subcontinent causes whiskies to mature faster than in the usual Scottish regions. It is assumed that one year of Indian ageing is equivalent to three years of Scottish ageing. On tasting those whiskies, Jagdale found them to be nearly on par as that of twelve-year old Scotch whiskies. With a three-year ageing in them, Amrut could then sell them in the European market.

It began with blind-tasting in certain restaurants in Scotland where it was compared to Speyside single malt whisky. In certain areas, people claimed it tasted like a 12-15 year old whisky from Scotland/Ireland and were stunned at it being revealed to be an Indian whisky. Launched as Amrut Single Malt Whisky in 2004 at a restaurant in Glasgow, it faced difficulties getting the customers to try the whisky since a good Indian single malt whisky was unheard of. Unfazed by it, Amrut changed its strategy and focused on tasting events, exhibitions, premium whisky bars and retailers. Within two years, the whisky made its way across Western Europe and neighbouring countries.

From a beginning of a single bottling unit to a well-known respected and preferred supplier of Indian Made Liquor, Amrut Distilleries have come a long way. They now host a myriad accumulation of equipment. There is the presence of a re-distillation plant that produces supreme extra neutral alcohol that is then used for captive consumption. It has spread the knowledge of local bottling arrangements to five other states. Though its market in Europe is still in its young stages, its diverse collection of great products will thrust it ahead.

Today Amrut Distilleries boasts a turnover of about 1500 million rupees per year. And it’s still growing. Or should we say, maturing.

Liquor Cabinet:

Whisky Brandy Rum Vodka Gin
Amrut Single Malt Bejois Portfolio Dark Rum Muscovy Fine Vodka Blue Star Dry Gin
Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky 46%. Bejois Blended Grape Brandyc Old Port Deluxe Rum
Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt Whisky 46% Bejois Premium Brandy Old Port Deluxe Matured Rum
Amrut Fusion Indian Single Malt Whisky 50% Bejois VSOP Brandy Amrut XXX Classic Rum
Amrut Cask Strength Bejois Napolean Brandy Amrut XXX Rum
Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt Whisky Cask Strength Silver Cup
Amrut Intermediate Sherry
Amrut Two Continents Single Malt Whisky
Amrut Portonova
Amrut Kadambham
Amrut Single Cask
Amrut 100
MaQ Scotch
MaQintosh
Prestige
Prestige Fine Whisky
Prestige Blended Malt Whisky
Prestige Rare Whisky

 


AWARDS:

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Others
Ultimate Cocktail Challenge USA 2012 Beverage Tasting Institute USA 2011 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2010 Malt Maniacs Awards 2009 Malt Maniacs Awards 2008 The Spirits Business Awards in London
Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2012 Malt Maniacs Awards, 2011 Malt Maniacs - Whisky Competition 2010 Malt Maniacs Awards 2009 IWSC 2008, London Whisky Magazine, U.K
Whisky Advocate Award, 2012 Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011
  Malt Advocate USA, 2011
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