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A good whiskey is one that will appeal to the novice and the connoisseur both. Here are our top five whiskeys that will be enjoyed by both the novice and the connoisseur. They offer bang for your buck, explode with great aromatics and flavor and perfectly enhance a classic cocktail. If one of these is your first whiskey, it will make you want to drink more; if it’s your hundredth whiskey, it’ll confirm everything you already knew about how excellent whiskey can be.


Indian Whisky Review

Amrut Bagheera Indian Single Malt Whisky

Rating: B+








Last summer, Indian whisky-maker Amrut released this special edition single malt, dubbed Bagheera. Bagheera also happens to be the name given to the black panther character in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (who appears to be skulking around in the foreground on the label). That, along with a gilded image of the grand Mysore Palace on the label, and there should be no mistaking this bottle holds Indian whisky. Like most (if not all?) Amrut whiskies, there’s no age statement, and while it is finished in sherry casks, we’re not told what type of sherry nor how long. It’s all rather mysterious, not unlike that shadowy panther on the label. Anyway, let’s dig in.

The aroma showcases that familiar Amrut style with a foundation of toasty, subtly smoky cereals. Initial berry notes transform to prune in time, then sweeter raisin, and eventually give way to brighter, overripe stone fruit as things really open up. A touch of cocoa powder also gives the nose a slightly dry edge.


There’s quite a bit of citrus peel and sweet orchard fruit at the outset on the palate, all complemented by delicate baking spice and a gentle warmth. Darker raisin notes and berry compote arrive on the mid-palate along with a bit of pipe tobacco and old leather.

Rampur Asava Indian Single Malt

Rating: A-









The single malt carries no formal age statement, but it’s a double casked expression, spending the bulk of its time in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Indian Cabernet Sauvignon wine casks. Rampur says that’s a first in history, and I have to believe them on this one.

The whisky is immediately approachable and fun — unique but not so “out there” as to be inscrutable. Initially fruity and toasty with cereal on the nose — much in keeping with Rampur’s house style — the whisky layers in a hint of camphor and white flowers, giving it a much more perfumed character than other whiskies from the brand. That all builds on the tongue to inform a surprisingly sweet body, sharp with cherry juice, applesauce, and apricots, layered atop a honey-laced core. It’s gently tannic and surprisingly savory on the back end — which I have to assume is due to the impact of the wine barrel — and offers notes of both cut lumber and fresh asphalt, drying things out as it finishes.

The overall impact intense and exotic yet elegant, a whisky that takes a real journey from floral and sweet to gently woody and earthy and keeps you glued to the ride. It’s easily the best whisky I’ve seen from Rampur to date, and one of the best and most complex Indian whiskies I’ve seen to date.

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