Paul John Peated Select

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Distillery/Brand: Paul John | Region: India | ABV: 55.5% | Color: Gold
Nose: 23 | Palate: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23
Strength: 25 | Variety: 20 | Quality: 24 | Harmony: 22
Final Score: 91.5

I recently hosted a Paul John evening for some close friends. Given the consistently high performing Amrut, the other Indian single malt, hopes were quite high for this too.
I’ve tasted the Paul John Brilliance before and thought it was a decent dram. Though, mind you, I liked it a touch less when I had it the second time around at the tasting. I think maybe the oxidization had intensified the vanilla too much.

Anyway, enough on the Brilliance. Let’s talk about the Peated Select. Given that we all (and by that I mean somewhat seasoned whisky drinkers) gravitate towards peat and cask strength spirits at some point in our journey there was understandable anticipation on what this bottle held.

Using the same base spirit as the other expressions the Peated Select includes spirit distilled from imported Scottish barley. It is also bottled at a reasonable cask strength of 55.5% (compared to the miserly 46% of the Brilliance and Edited – it’s locally available expressions). My sample was from a brand new bottle.

Nose: Peat. Quite sweet. Nuts. Lots of vanilla. Peaches. Oak. Cinnamon. Melon. Musk. Smells quite full bodied. Chocolate. Cherries. Fruit basket. I really like this nose. It doesn’t hold back. Captures, what I now feel is the distillery character, and layers an earthy peatiness on top. 23/25

Palate: Firing on all cylinders. Peat. Mango. Banana. Pineapple. Spices. Oak. Cinnamon. Chocolate. Licorice. Caramel. Quite full bodied. The spices spike and then mellow. The fruits remain consistent through out. It doesn’t give up flavors that easily but that just means you have to spend some time with it. 23/25

Finish: Long. Garam masala. Oak. Peat. 23/25

Balance: 23/25

Strength: Perfectly bottled at 55.5% – I really feel this is a good strength to truly appreciate this spirit. 25/25

Variety: Coaxing flavors from this one is a bit taxing. I would have liked more. And believe me, I tried. 20/25

Quality: Smells and feels top draw. 24/25

Harmony: No off-notes and performs quite consistently over time. 22/25

I would buy another bottle. For sure.

Based on my scores I give this whisky 91.5 points

Paul John Brilliance

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Distillery/Brand: Paul John | Region: India | ABV: 46% | Color: Pale Straw
Nose: 22 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 88

Paul John are the newest players to come out of India with some solid single malt offerings (after Amrut of course!). They’ve been in the industry longer than that, though. Since 1992 they have been producing their special style molasses ‘whisky’.

What I didn’t know was that they are the sixth largest producer of whisky in the world (WHAT?) producing over a million cases a month. However, their single malt foray is relatively recent (not more than eight years old).

This was my first Paul John and I can understand what all the commotion is about. Jim Murray thinks very highly of them and I respect that he has made it a point to champion the lone distilleries fighting to carve a niche for them.

Their Master Distiller Michael John (no relation to Paul) started at the distillery in 1995 and is responsible for the distillery’s single malt range. They have also moved from a more traditional Scottish production process to one that is more tailored to their raw ingredients.

Their biggest difference to Scotch is that they use Indian barley in production, Himalayan 6-row grain rather than the more usual 2-row European grain. This gives a lower alcoholic yield than is often found with Scottish production, but gives a more complex wash and thus more potential for flavor in the spirit.

Like Amrut they too have issues of enormous Angels Share (12%-13%) and so their whiskies are quite young.

Paul John Brilliance is part of their standard range and is made solely from unpeated barley and aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 46%

Nose: Quite delicate. Vanilla. Cucumber. The bourbon influence is quite obvious. Coconut. Mild coffee beans. Nuts. Understated herbs. Milk chocolate. Barley. Oak. Sandalwood. Grist. Honey. Quite pleasant. Reminded me of a typical Speyside whisky.

Palate: Coffee. Chocolate. Star anise. Grist. Ginger. Vanilla. Barley. Natural sugars. Oak. Banana. Tastes like a typical Speysider, too, if you ask me. Quite nice.

Finish: Long. Coffee. Vanilla. Oak. Spices.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this distillery and can’t wait to tuck in to the other expressions.

Rating: 88