A malt mate of mine, Peaty Paterson, sent me two 50ml plastic bottles of single malt that were poured from regular sized bottles, both unfortunately poured from the bottom of the bottles, which means the whiskies in the sample bottles were bereft of the fresh aromas and flavours that usually accompany a newly opened bottle. Sampling the heavily oxidized dregs at the bottom of the bottle is not a fair way to sample any single malt. Pouring the single malt into plastic bottles instead of glass doesn’t help either. But that’s what I’ve got, so bear with me…
First up is the Singleton 12 (of Glendullan) bottled at 40% alc. First impression: Nothing special. Not much complexity. Too bad it’s so oxidized. This sample tastes old and a bit flat. If I stick my nose deep in the glass, I pick up some sherry and citrus, a distant similarity to Aberfeldy 12 but not as smooth or rich. Not much happening in the palate or the finish. No exceptional smoke or peat. For complexity, it’s in the Glenlivet 12 territory but I’d probably think better of it if I wasn’t tasting the bottom of the bottle. Judging from this first impression, even though the sampling isn’t ideal, I wouldn’t seek it out.
Moving on to bottle #2: Amrut Fusion, a single malt whisky from India bottled at 50% alc. What the hell is that on the nose? I imagine it would pack a punch if the sample was taken near the top of the bottle. What a shame. An odd mix of beef barley soup and flowers. Maybe oak? None of the rounded sweetness I get from sherry, but not harsh. It’s sharp on the tongue but it doesn’t burn. I don’t know what I’m tasting. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate and cognac? A spicey but smooth finish. Lingers on the tongue. It just stays there and then takes on a roasted chestnut flavour. A splash of water opens up the nose, more floral, still nutty, smooth spice. Gets better in the glass after 15 or 20 minutes, more rounded sensations. I wouldn’t pay top dollar for Amrut Fusion just yet, but I like it.
UPDATE (Nov. 18/13): I picked up a bottle of Amrut Fusion a while back and it’s not as smooth or as complex as the dram I first sampled. It’s not bad, but even after getting half way down the bottle, it doesn’t seem to have the same barley soup and roasted chestnut flavour I noticed before. At 50% alcohol, perhaps I need to keep the bottle uncorked for a couple hours to mellow it out. I’ve tried it with varying amounts of water and I can’t get it to open up much. Strange and disappointing.