Once upon a time, some lovely ladies from Mumbai hopped on a plane for an indulgent weekend getaway to Goa. This was back in August 2019 and we were on a quest to explore Paul John distillery.
Naturally a highlight of our visit was a tasting – which was no ordinary opportunity! It included an opportunity to sample two limited edition bottles that are deliberately available only in Goa around Christmas / New Years. Even better – they are kept affordable, accessible and celebrate Paul John whiskies unique take on a Christmas spirit.
Paul John Christmas 2019 46%
- Nose – “Oh what fun!” It had elements of the PX lingonberries mixed with roasted pine nuts
- Palate – A lovely spice, sweet, satisfying with a hint of peat?
- Finish – Really rather a nice finish, closing on sweet
Overall this one had great balance – a happy whisky, very shareable, perfect for a social occasion and merry gifting. Priced at approx. INR 4k (USD 50) in Goa, it is excellent value for quality.
What do we know about it? It did indeed spend some time finishing in an ex PX cask with a bit of peated malt mixed in to add some depth. What a fabulous combination!
Paul John Christmas 2018 46%
- Nose – Now this says Christmas! All those lovely Christmas pudding notes with dates, berries, nuts, densely packed and delicious, topped off with smoke
- Palate – Also followed through with Christmas cheer, very balanced and well rounded
- Finish – Was sweet, spice and subtle peat – delightful
- Water – While normally adding water tends to initially punches up the spice then mellows out a dram, in this case it seemed to accentuate all the elements – bringing them out even more powerfully
Now comparing isn’t really fair, however those who tried both tended to prefer the 2018 edition. Not that the 2019 isn’t a fine dram, just 2018 hit all our Christmas high notes with that extra peat punch that added a certain something!
Both are terrific and frankly if you do happen to stumble across either edition, don’t hesitate to grab a bottle and discover for yourself.
As for 2020? For those lucky enough to be in Goa, do check out the new Christmas 2020 edition… I have little doubt it will be in a similar vein and well worth picking up!
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