India is ostensibly a huge whisky-drinking nation, the biggest of them all if you look at the bare consumption figures, but nearly all the domestic whisky"„¢ produced here is dominated by molasses-derived spirit (and therefore, according to EU legislation, not whisky at all).
But there are honourable exceptions, most famously Amrut, launched not in India but in Glasgow in 2004. Since then, the company has evolved its techniques and developed an experimental streak, especially in the field of cask maturation.
And now there is the much talked-about range of Paul John Distillers single malt whiskies, from single-cask offerings to the unpeated Brilliance and part-peated Edited. In both cases, Amrut and Paul John, these whiskies are early-maturing, thanks to tropical climatic conditions which accelerate the maturation process.
Amrut Distilleries was founded in 1948 by JN Radhakrishna. Its initial products were brandy and rum, but in 1982 it became the first company to make single malt whisky in India, discovering along the way that the warm Bangalore climate matures whiskies at three times the rate of that in Scotland.
Amrut, which means 'nectar of the gods' in Sanskrit, was introduced to the overseas market in 2004, where it has since gained a loyal following. Popular bottles in its range include Amrut Cask Strength, Amrut Rye and Amrut Fusion.
AMRUT FUSION 97/100 - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
Consistently one of Indian distillery Amrut's most popular bottles, Fusion is a rich and warming single malt with delicious notes of fresh fruit and vanilla, followed by a smoky finish.
Amrut Fusion is created from a mix of 75% unpeated Indian barley and 25% peated Scottish barley. These are separately distilled and aged for four years, then 'fused' together for a further three months. The result is an award-winning whisky that has introduced many people to the splendours of Indian whisky.