An Indian Beauty

Tasting notes that accompany your average bottle of whisky usually move me to tears. They come streaming out of my eyes, not because of the eloquent wording and prosaic descriptions, but rather at the pure absurdity. Some marketing team out there was convinced by the detailed scribbles of the master distiller that most or at least some of the folk buying their whisky would be capable of tasting rubber, beeswax or even the insert of an old boot. I know a few other whisky drinkers, and to be honest, none of us have tried to memorize any of the above aromas and tastes. It goes without say, that if I were to see anyone sniffing, or God forbid, tasting sweaty shoe leather, I’m certain I wouldn’t ask to share. Ugh.


Kippers (Photo credit: Walt Jabsco)

And yet, with each tasting notes sheet that comes across my desk I’m amazed at the level of finesse a distiller is able to identify scents and flavors. Are they really tasting smoked kippers with a salted butter, peppered bite, or did the geezer hand in a paper napkin that said, “It’s a little fishy, but it’s got one hell of a kick!”? I’m not kidding. The prior is the Nose description on my new bottle of Amrut single malt peated – cask strength. I’ve smelled it and I’m not getting kippers. Nor would I have purchased the bottle had I known they were describing kippers as a good thing.

The taste is described as barely reaching puberty–and that’s just part of it, but I won’t repeat the rest. Now do you see what I mean? Why I’m laughing so hard? You want more? The words used to describe the finish are a bit like the ones Meg Ryan used to demonstrate a woman’s ability to fake an orgasm. Yup. I’d probably keep this tasting sheet under your mattress or in a box in a closet on the top shelf. But hey, this is India. Maybe it’s how they’re trying to compete.  

I usually try not to read any notes until I’ve had my first sniff and sip. It’s really hard not to be influenced by somebody else’s palette and I find that not only does it take the fun out of developing your own nose and tongue, but it can also make you feel a little ill-equipped if you were totally off the mark.

So what did I taste? Definitely peat. A bit of molasses and a malty roundness. Funny enough, there was something about it that came across somewhere around the third or fourth sip that made me think that this malt didn’t come from the motherland. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but after reading the tasting notes, maybe I now know what distilled kippers taste like. Do try! 


Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what I’ve been blethering on about this week in the main post (here).


7 thoughts on “An Indian Beauty

  1. Hi Shelly, Rich here,

    Strange as it seems (has this man been stuck in a cupboard for the past 10 years?) this is the first time I’ve participated in a blog!

    However, having read your witty, articulate and enjoyable offerings I feel compelled to comment, by way of some small repayment for the smiles you have provided to both myself and all your readers.

    I have some experience of Wisconsin, having in a former life experienced the Madison World Dairy Expo. Center-stage memories are:

    1. Trying (unsuccessfully) to eat deep-fried cheese, the vendor of which should have had, by law, an AED under his counter. And…

    2. Rows of young men grooming enormous, shiny-hoofed cows placidly chewing their cud to the scream of heavy metal/thrash music.

    With regard to the plumber entombed in your house, it appears perfectly reasonable that you should be bound to monthly cash offerings to the God of the water closet.

    Lastly, being of Scottish lineage, talk of Haggis and Single Malt reminds me of a night in London with my mad cousin Neil when we indulged in both, excessively, from which I took several days to recover – or did I?

    Thank you Shelly for helping make the world a happier place.


  2. Pingback: How others see us | Amrut Distilleries

    • I’ve definitely come across a few spirits that have not connected with my palate, and can understand anyone’s choice to pass when it doesn’t work. But I truly admire the artistic drive behind the process. Is there something that regularly calls to you? A whisk(e)y you find highly commendable?

Don't hold back ... Hail and Speak!

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