Amrut Naarangi is an Indian single malt released by Amrut Distilleries, makers of the first ever single malt whisky created in the country. The word Naarangi is Hindi for ‘Orange’, and it was chosen to indicate the unique process used to finish this expression.
The name Amrut translates to ‘Nectar of the Gods’, and the company released their first ever expression in Scotland in 2004 to much acclaim during blind tastings. Over the years, Amrut released a number of different interpretations of their single malt whisky. The Amrut Naarangi was released nearly a decade after the first ever Amrut expression was launched.
Amrut Distilleries Private Limited was founded in 1948 in Karnataka, India by J.N. Radhakrishna Rao. While most distilleries in India were still manufacturing whisky using molasses, the Amrut distillery decided to produce premium whisky from barley and malt.
The distillery discovered that India’s hot and humid weather helps the whisky mature faster than it does in countries like the United States or Europe with a far cooler, more spirit-friendly weather. Surinder Kumar, one of the master blenders at Amrut Distilleries estimated that one year of aging in India equals around three years of aging in Scotland and the taste profiles match some Scotch whiskies. This is when the company decided to launch its whiskies in the European market and the brand Amrut Single Malt Whisky was launched in Glasgow, Scotland in 2004, following which it spread across Western Europe and other Scandinavian countries in the next two years.
The malted barley is mashed with water and added to stainless steel fermenters. These steel fermenters are water-cooled to maintain its temperature and prevent them from heating. After the fermentation is complete, the wort is transferred to wash still, where it is distilled in small batches.
The resulting spirit is re-distilled in and added to casks for ageing. The Amrut brand had been wanting to experiment with adding orange notes to their whisky but the EU regulations for malt whisky state that if any additional substance is added to the spirit, it will be disqualified from being a whisky. To ensure that the Amrut Naarangi met all of EU’s guidelines, the company first obtained Oloroso Sherry barrels from Spain and matured wine in it for three years.
The people at Amrut Distilleries added orange peels to these wine barrels, creating a unique mixture of flavours and aromas drawn from oranges and wine. The barrels absorbed these characteristics, enabling it to condition the single malt whisky which was then aged in these barrels for three years. This helped the whisky draw the flavours and aromas from the Oak barrels, helping the whisky acquire an entirely new set of tasting notes.
The Amrut Naarangi contains 50% ABV (100 US Proof), which is much higher than the standard permissible limit for whiskies in India, and most countries worldwide.
Best Indian Single Malt at World Whiskies Awards in 2018.
Citrusy and fruity with a hint of spices and peat.
Rich with flavours of fresh fruits and citrus notes laced with cinnamon.
Long with lingering spice and sweetness.