Every once in a while our merry monthly malt group breaks with our sacrosanct meeting approach to throw ‘open’ our doors to a sociable evening with better halves. As luck would have it – we managed a full house this month!
The motivation for the evening was a delightful ‘score’ from a recent trip to Goa… With 4 lovely bright bottles of India’s Paul John single malts distilled in sunny Goa, how could we resist?
While John Distilleries has been around in India since 1992, their first Paul John single malt was launched only in late 2012 in the UK. Now a few are available in India (Goa!) and it was a rare treat to try four expressions from the same distillery!
- Paul John Brilliance Single Malt 46%
- Paul John Edited Single Malt 46%
- Paul John Classic Select Cask 55.2%
- Paul John Peated Select Cask 55.5%
We sampled in the above order – without reading the distillery tasting notes.
Then my partner read out in his rich baritone the Paul John whisky descriptions… let’s just say they are unlike any notes we’ve seen!
All are distilled in copper pot stills and while ‘NAS’ are understood to be matured for 4-5 years in ex-bourbon casks. As I keep being reminded, whiskies matured in warm… ok let’s admit it HOT climes (in the case of Goa) have an accelerated maturation cycle and heightened ‘angels share’ loss. However when done right in such conditions, the whisky sipper is the ultimate beneficiary!
An immediate indicator of preference is the quantity consumed. After the initial pour, the bottles are available for further enjoyment. You can immediately see Classic was ‘tops’, followed by Peated then Brilliance. In fairness to Edited, we tried it earlier so a couple of late-comers skipped the sample.
Tasting notes links provided above however overall had the following observations:
- Clear stamp of being part of the same family – all had a luscious tropical feel yet varying degrees of bitterness on the palate proved none are wimps!
- Brilliance and Edited are like twins – one with blue eyes the other brown!
- Some preferred Brilliance’s fruity sweet perfume (blue eyes) over the lightly peated qualities of Edited (brown eyes)… whereas for others it was the reverse
- Classic shows considerable promise – clear favourite of the four
- Much speculation over whether the brilliant ‘gem-like’ colour could possibly natural!?
It would be interesting to compare the Paul John expressions side-by-side with Amrut – such as their entry-level single malt or Peated. Based on our recent experience with Amrut, suspect Paul John would come out ahead. However a ‘blind’ head-to-head would still be an enlightening experiment! Particularly as within our group are a range of palate preferences.
Regardless, how fabulous that India is now producing REAL single malts not just the mass-produced blended ‘whisky’ which is often coloured spirits masquerading as whisky.
Comment of the evening summed it up:
“An interesting work in progress!”
And we look forward to seeing what more is to come!
The real test for me?
I think a Paul John just might join an upcoming trip to Canada end June. My Aunt and Uncle have a whisky tasting club. They also quite enjoyed their time in Goa a few years ago…. So bringing a whisky taste of Goa to Canada sounds like a perfect gift!
What others are saying about Paul John:
PS – Wanna see what the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai had to say about Paul John?
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