Paul John Bold

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Distillery/Brand: Paul John | Region: India | ABV: 46% | Colour: Dirty Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 85

Amrut, after having blazed an Indian trail across the whisky landscape, has in it’s wake a solid single malt offering from Paul John Whisky from Goa.

Their spirit is nice and flavorful with a lot of tropical fruits. They also have a nice mix of peated and unpeated expressions to choose from alongside some rather tasty single cask offerings.

For the last few months or so I’ve been working hard to rub shoulders (read connect on Twitter) with whisky bloggers from around the world to basically increase my knowledge base and learn from the good ones. One of those bloggers is @TheWhiskyWire who routinely holds ‘Tweet Tastings’ for different expressions.

Essentially how this works is that interested bloggers get a 90ml sample from him and then at the exact same time around the world the samples are opened. What follows is a sort of collective global tasting notes on Twitter which allows for different opinions and comments. Needless to say it’s a super fun exercise which lasts for about an hour.

You get to connect with other bloggers and share tasting notes making it a cool way to taste a whisky.

The Bold is fully peated, served at 46% and, as you can guess, my sample is from a 90ml mini.

Nose: Deep peat. Oak. Dates. Bananas. Chocolate. Wild berries. Sandalwood. Warm it up and the flavors come through more. Now more dark honey. Warm citrus. Bourbon. Vanilla. Hint of black pepper. Soft leather. Green tobacco leaf. Cigar box. I really like the nose. It’s multi-layered and you can sit with it for a while. 22/25

Palate: Full bodied. Smoke. Tobaccos. It’s quite savory. I might have wanted it to be just a touch on the sweeter side. All spice. Cinnamon. Oak. Bitter chocolate. Touch of salt. Brine. Aniseed. All enveloped in woodfire. The palate is nice enough but I feel the nose promise more. 21/25

Finish: Medium to long. Oak. All spice. 21/25

Overall Comments: Look, this is not a bad whisky. I like the peat in here. It’s different and nicely layered (especially the nose). I would have liked some of Paul Johns’ signature fruity flavors to come out more but they didn’t. Maybe they were going for a different approach. Does it work? Yes and No. Lovely nose, average palate and finish. Should you buy it? Sure, why not? Or maybe better split with a couple of friends.

Whatever said and done this was my first Tweet Tasting and so the experience was top notch even if the whisky really wasn’t.

Rating: 85


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