Terroir may not have as big an effect on whisky as it does on wine. There are, after all, consistent oxidation, drying, cask-ageing and finishing processes no matter where you are in the world. Yet the hand nature deals allows for some interesting variations while demanding ingenious solutions.
Take Amrut from Bangalore, India, which has recently looked outside its burgeoning domestic market to a thirsty rest of the world. The scorching climate means biological processes such as ageing occur much faster, and that the “angel’s share” – the amount of whisky lost to evaporation – is disproportionately high. It does open the door for some wacky twists in production, however.
“Amrut Spectrum, made in small batches, sells out almost instantly here,” says Joseph Seah, beverage manager of La Maison Du Whisky. The Spectrum, after all, was quick-aged in “mutant” casks made from American, French and Spanish wood, along with two different ex-sherry variants. “Customers love what (these brands) are doing, because they’re very experimental and daring – and they offer very, very good value on the bottle.”
There’s no better time to build an atlas of whisky – here are seven notable bottlings to start your odyssey.
(Related: Wine in Douro Valley: looking beyond port)