Unboxing Amrut: An Indian Legacy

When Amrut Fusion Single Malt was adjudged as one of the three best whiskies in the world, not a single whisky lover was left unsurprised. No one could have imagined that a new Indian brand from Bangalore could have stirred up such a storm. This whisky comes from Amrut Distilleries set up in Bangalore in 1948. It is a family-owned brand which has been owned by successive generations of the Jagdale. The single-malt whiskies are made from barley grown in Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan. The water for the magical spirit is sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas.

Judged the Best

Neelkanta Jagdale and his son Rakshit are pioneers in Indian-made single malts. They came up with an idea, then beyond the comprehension of Indian whisky connoisseurs. For long, India was perceived to be only capable of producing molasses-based whiskies. In 2004, Jagdales created the Amrut Fusion. The same year Amrut Fusion was first launched in Glasgow. Amrut’s success story can seem surreal at times. Three years since 2004 the future of Amrut looked bleak. Things did not seem to fall in place in spite of immense struggle and hard work. The distributors did not respond favorably and the malt was proving costly for the Jagdales. However, a couple of years later, the single malt finally witnessed success. It found the first break in 2009 when Malt Maniacs, an independent group comprising whisky connoisseurs recognized the whisky as the Best Natural Cask Whisky in the category “Daily Drams”.

An Interesting Beginning

Amrut Fusion has an interesting start. In 2004, Rakshit decided to host a blind product tasting of their liquor in one of Glasgow’s popular whisky pubs. Much to his surprise, he discovered that the new product was well received by whisky enthusiasts. Some of the guests mistook the whisky to be a 15 year Scottish Malt. The customers could not believe that something which was had pleased their taste buds beyond expectations hailed from India. Most thought that it was either from the Highland or Speyside – the two most famous regions which produce single malt whiskies in Scotland. This response encouraged Rakshit to give a concrete shape to his dream project.

Evolving into a Successful Brand

It took the entrepreneur close to two years to achieve the global packaging standards while abiding by the EU norms. Most of the packaging material was exported. After having created a strong position in the market, the whisky is riding the wave of success. At present the demand is so high that the company cannot match up to it. 30,000 cases are sold across a dozen countries.

A Carefully Planned Process

The single malt is made with a lot of care. The barley is milled, mashed, fermented and then distilled carefully in small batches. Small batches are chosen to preserve the intoxicating aroma. In Bangalore’s tropical conditions, the barley maturation takes place in oak barrels. The barrels which are used to age Amrut have been previously used as Tennessee or Bourbon whisky barrels. After the process of maturation, the whisky is no-chill filtered so that it retains its uniqueness. Finally it is bottled and is ready for dispatch.

Whisky drinkers who have tried Amrut have had pleasant things to say. They feel that it is an enjoyable tipple and offers a pleasant nose. To ensure smoothness adding a drop of water is not a bad idea. The company offers another whisky, Amrut 2 Continents which is partly matured in Bangalore and then transferred to a German archipelago, Heligoland where it is again matured and bottled.

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