‘The temperature here can be above 40C in Summer and down to 2C in winter,’ says Master Distiller Anup Barik, on the Zoom from the Radico Khaitan distillery in Uttar Pradesh in the foothills of the Himalayas.’Very contrasting conditions, indeed’.
Even so, they’ve been distilling whisky at Rampur for 75 years, originally motivated by the fact that the very high duty on imported Scotch made whisky ruinously expensive for most people.
What makes Rampur excitingly different in character to Scottish whisky is the speed of its maturation. The heat of the summer hurries things along, and while that creates a very unique single malt, it also causes extra costs.
Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe angels get a very big share here,’ says Anup ruefully. The angels’ share, the amount of spirit lost to evaporation during maturation, is much higher in hot Rampur than in cool Scotland.
They don’t use any climate control in the maturation rooms and allow nature to take its course using only cold filtration.
As a result Rampur is by no means a cheap whiskey, but neither is it some terrible foreign knock off.
As we tasted the four expressions in turn the quality of Rampur was completely socks off impressive.
Indian flavours in the whiskies are perfectly complementary – tropical fruits, cinnamon, pepper and vanilla. Add to that barrel aging by expression in Spanish Sherry casks, American Bourbon casks and most remarkably Indian Cabernet Sauvignon casks and you have a remarkable taste portfolio.
If you know a whisky lover, then any one of these Rampur Single Malts will be a Xmas present that will have them talking well into the new year.
Stockists in the UK:
It has a rich fruity top note, toffee in the background, floral, honey, dried fruits and a hint of spice. On the tongue there’s an all-round balanced taste with malty and creamy vanilla. Hint of fruits like apricot and apple with sweet and winey taste.
PX Sherry Finish Indian Single Malt Whisky Non-Chill Filtered Ã¢â‚¬â€œ A limited 48 Casks release.
A few exceptional casks of Rampur Single Malt Whisky post maturation in American Oak were handpicked by Rampur’s Malt Master and transferred to PX Sherry Butts from Jerez, Spain for further maturation.
On the nose there’s a sweet spiced aroma evoking toffee, dried fruits and cinnamon; a dash of creamy vanilla and rain forest honey follows. On the palate there is rich sweet caramel with layers of spices winey texture and mouth feel.
Rampur Double Cask
The newest in the collection is the Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Malt Whisky Non-Chill Filtered.
This expression is crafted by maturation in handpicked American Bourbon barrels and European Oak sherry casks.
Delicate balsamic vanilla notes from the American white oak compliment the full-bodied aroma; Rich caramel, dried dark fruits and spicy tonality from European oak add to the depth.
Matured in American Bourbon barrels and perfected in Indian Cabernet Sauvignon casks for the first time in history resulting in a unique expression.
This shows the typical tropical fruity note of Rampur with added notes of apricot, blackberry and plum followed with a faint hint of tobacco and spices.
On the palate a velvety, manuka honey sweetness highlighted by spicy oak, vanilla and balanced with dryness from Indian red wine.