Voyage of Discovery for Amrut Herald – Indian Whisky News
Voyage of discovery for Amrut Herald
Amrut Distilleries is once again pushing back boundaries in the whisky world. For its latest offering it has chosen a beautiful, but remote, island as the place to mature four barrels of its Bangalore-distilled single malt whisky. For a project like this, one might have expected Amrut to pick an island in the whisky heartlands, but the Indian distillery has once again opted for the unconventional and chosen an island 45 miles off the north German coast.
Helgoland is an unspoiled unique environment with dramatic red sandstone cliffs and sensuous sand dunes. Not only is it free of traffic and low in pollution, but it also enjoys a gentle climate thanks to the Gulf Stream which allows exotic plants and wildlife to thrive at its relatively high latitude.
From Bangalore, itself known as India’s “garden city” due to its lush tropical environment, the casks of malt whisky were shipped to Germany before being transferred to a boat for the two-and-a-half-hour crossing from Cuxhaven to the northern island idyll.
There, Amrut’s German importer, Prineus, had arranged for the barrels of the malt to mature further. Not only was the Helgoland climate a big contrast to tropical India, but the barrels were stored close to sea level. In Bangalore the Amrut distillery is at an altitude of 3,000 feet. The outcome is the stunning new Amrut Herald.
Keeping in tune with the pure unspoilt atmosphere of Helgoland, the whisky was bottled in as simple a way as possible. It was not filtered or diluted and in fact you will notice sediments in the hand-filled bottles.
This is the first time that any whisky has been matured and bottled on Helgoland and the bottles from one of the casks will be retained on the island, which is a duty free haven. Like Amrut’s previous limited edition malts, Amrut Herald will only be available in small quantities in certain locations and it is sure to become a popular bottling.
Gerd Schmerschneider of Prineus is delighted with the collaboration. “The result is a fantastic whisky, one of the finest examples you can get out of a Bourbon cask. It is clean, powerful and holds loads of vanilla and sweetness. It was a great honour for me, on behalf of Prineus, to work with Amrut. Neither maturation nor bottling of whisky has been done on the island of Helgoland before, but millions of litres of alcohol have been sold there. The environment is perfect for maturing whisky as it is 70km away from the mainland, no pollution is evident and cars aren’t allowed on the island.”
“Making this malt whisky was a real adventure,” said Ashok Chokalingam of Amrut Distilleries. “It travelled 5,000 miles to the edge of mainland Europe. Then we were able to mature and bottle whisky on Helgoland, for the first time in the island’s history. And in Amrut Herald we have created another unique malt whisky which will satisfy the connoisseurs who have come to expect the best from us.”
Further information: Amrut Distilleries
Amrut Single Malt Whisky from India was launched officially in Glasgow in 2004. Since then its reputation has grown, with its range of innovative whiskies using Indian barley from the Punjab distilled in the tropical garden city of Bangalore at 3000ft.
Amrut Distilleries was named a Distiller of the Year in the Icons of Whisky 2011 and was crowned in the Rest of the World category by the independent judges of the prestigious awards, which are organised by Whisky Magazine. The award was made to Amrut “for raising the profile of Indian whisky across the globe and its innovations in the production process”. The Rest of the World title meant the Bangalore distillery was also one of the four contenders for the Icons of Whisky Distiller of the Year title.
In The Whisky Bible 2010, leading whisky expert, Jim Murray awarded Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky the title of World’s Third Best Whisky. Murray said Fusion “has to be one of the great whiskies found anywhere in the word this year”. Admitting his No 3 choice could come as a surprise to some people, he said: “The fact that it is Indian? Irrelevant, from distillation to maturation this is a genius whisky from whichever continent.”
Fusion – which brings together two barleys: Indian and Scottish, with the latter being peated – was named the Best Natural Cask Whisky in the Daily Drams Category at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2009. It picked up the award for the best whisky matured exclusively in “untreated”, regular cask(s) in the category for whiskies with an average street price of up to 50 euros. It was also awarded a silver medal.
One of the Amrut Single Malt Whisky bottlings by Blackadder International won “The Best Daily Dram” category of Malt Maniacs 2008 Awards. All the Amrut brands entered into the same competition won silver and bronze medals.
Amrut Peated Malt Cask Strength Whisky won Silver and Amrut Single Malt Cask Strength Whisky Bronze at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2008.
Amrut is now sold widely in Europe (UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Spain), Canada, South Africa, Australia and the United States.