In a blind test, I’m not sure that I’d know this was whisky at first, as it noses up with a distinctive winey-ness. It’s winey-er than unloved stepchildren at an airport toy store after a 14-hour flight. So then I read that it’s aged in ex-Oloroso sherry casks, but only after those casks were used to season wine and orange peels for three years. The Naarangi name is in reference to this unique approach, for Naarangi is the Hindi word for “orange.” But I prefer to think of it as the Sanskrit name for a man in a rubber lizard suit crushing scale models of cities like Chennai and Delhi. After all, there’s a powerful thickness in the nose, which I associate with Sherry and with allegories about man’s destructive dalliances with nuclear technology.
The mouth pops with the memory of the homebrew pluot wine that a dinner guest poured to everyone while you were in kitchen. You come out to see everyone nodding in a kind of shared wonderment. Then I think, I’ve got to read the label again, because this might just be a really interesting Port. Like maybe it’s the kind of Port made precisely to introduce some disruptive technology into the Shandy and Radler markets. In short, it’s fruity, drinkable, and even bubbly. Tannins from oolong tea and the torn up bits from a charcoal sketch that couldn’t quite render properly the eyes of Marisa Tomei in all of their twinkling perfection.
The finish begins with some bite, like a Bing cherry and ginger fizz. We get more of the feisty bubbliness, or its aftermath, like the residual sensations from a Pop Rocks dare that might have ended in the emergency room if we didn’t have Seth’s steady hand and his apricot fruit leather epi-pen. The finish bids me to reach, again, for more research on the whisky. Surely this is the stuff of fruitwood casks, with orange treewood heads and Horween leather hoops.
–Our thanks to Raj Sabharwal and PVI Global for the sample!