Yup we are talking about angels and their effect on Whisky!! No it’s not absurd :-).
Basics first.... we all know pretty much that Whisky especially single malts and Scotch are "aged" in different kinds of barrels for a period of time to mature. This process is to let the freshly brewed alcohol to gain flavors, colour and to a certain extent loose the 'edge' resulting in a smoother and more palatable drink? Now different distilleries follow different timelines to age, different conditions, and most importantly different barrels! Just adding a tip here that for any whisky to be scotch has to be produced in Scotland and has to be aged a min of three years & as per the European standard for single malt there can be no “additives”. So basically only water, yeast and the Barley can be the inputs to the Whisky!
Ok now the angels swoop in! I am sure we all have read about evaporation now this phenomenon takes place to whisky as well. When the barrels are stored in warehouses for maturation slowly but steadily the evaporation starts to take place. This accounts to 2-3% of the whisky in the barrel annually in Scottish conditions. Tropical countries such as India record a much higher loss due to evaporation, Jagdalle distilleries that distill the world famous Amrut Single Malt Whisky experiences a record 10-11% of loss per annum. This whisky which is lost during maturation is known as the “ANGELS SHARE”! I guess some part of the Scottish folklore created the name when they realized that the quantity of whisky is not the same from when they filled the barrels. This loss of whisky is also debated to be directly proportional to the ageing of the whisky and hence some opinions that young whiskies from India and other Asian markets have considerable maturity!
Why this update? Amrut has released their “Greedy Angels” last month and has confirmed that there are only 144 bottles! Two casks full of whisky which translates to 360 Liters of which only 86 Liters remain! That’s like 75% for angels share! Can’t really use the term “Holy Cow” here, but yes sentiments remain the same. The maturation is for close to 8 years. Review of this Amrut from Serge from Whisky Fun is below for those who are interested.http://www.whiskyfun.com/2013/Tasting-two-extreme-Amrut.html
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