Whisky Ladies of Mumbai turn “One”

One year ago, a chance conversation about whisky lead to a fabulous evening… Each month since, a remarkable group of women have met in Mumbai to explore whiskies combined with witty conversations.

Whisky Ladies 1st Anniversary

Together we’ve had 12 fabulous sessions:

  1. Whisky Ladies Welcome Compass Box Asyla, Kilchoman Coull Point, Nikka ‘Yochi’ 10 yr, Caol Ila 12 yr, Ledaig 1997
  2. With Karen Walker – Caorunn ginBalblair 03Old Pulteney 12 yrSpeyburn 10 yrAnCnoc 12 + 22 yr
  3. Cask Strength Diwali – Glenfarclas 105, Chichibu 2009, A’bunadh #35
  4. World Tour – Forty Creek Confederation OakNikka BlendedOban 14 yr, Sheringham William’s White Double Distilled Grain
  5. Go Goan! Paul John Brilliance, Edited, Bold, Classic & Peated
  6. Go American! JD, Hudson Single Malt, Jim Bean, Knobs Creek 9 yr (with Shatbhi Basu)
  7. Sweetly smokey – Dalmore 15 yrMackmyra Svensk RökSmokehead Rock
  8. Chocolate with Hibiki Harmony, Lagavulin 16 yr, A’bunadh #46
  9. Far East – Kavalan Concertmaster SolistNikka Coffey GrainChinese baijiu
  10. “I like the label” – Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s BlendStarwardSmoky Goat
  11. European Tour – Teerenpeli (Finland)Danica (Denmark)Kornog (France)Slyrs (Germany)
  12. 5 Region Tour – Glenkinchie 12 yrJura Turas-MaraClynelish 14 yrCardhu 12 yrArdbeg 10 yr

Whisky Ladies in Mumbai

And the whiskies for our 1st anniversary celebration? Count them… yup that’s 13 whiskies from left to right…

  1. Amrut Single Malt
  2. Amrut Fusion
  3. Paul John Edited 46%
  4. Paul John Peated 55.5%
  5. Cragganmore 12 year 40%
  6. Smoky Goat 40%
  7. Highland Park 1998 40%
  8. Aberfeldy 12 year 40%
  9. Monkey Shoulder 40%
  10. Dalmore 15 year 40%
  11. Glen Grant 10 year 40%
  12. Caol Ila 12 year 43%
  13. Ardbeg 10 year 46%

Along with a bottle, our potluck approach to nibbles resulted in a fabulous spread.

Whisky Ladies Spread

Here’s to wonderful women that make up this Mumbai malty tribe! May we continue to enjoy many more sessions together!

In celebration, we now have a special Whisky Ladies Corner sharing:

  • Blog posts from our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai (other than mine!)
  • Recognition of evenings we’ve enjoyed courtesy of a few kind benefactors
  • Other nights with whiskies we sourced with different themes
  • Related women centric whisky posts

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Paul John Edited Single Malt NAS 46% (2nd bottle)

It is very unusual for our single malt tasting team to try a whisky more than once within the space of a few months.

However that is exactly what happened with Paul John Edited from John Distilleries in Goa.

We managed to sample it on no less than three occasions:

  • Once ‘blind’ by our monthly single malt tasting group in January – 1st bottle
  • Again by our monthly tasting group in March – 2nd bottle
  • Informal evening with a few friends – 2nd bottle

The reason for trying so many times is we were treated to a Paul John quartet which featured:

It was a delightful treat to be able to compare four expressions from the same distillery. And while Edited kick-started the John Distilleries tasting journey, it truly was just the gate-opener to one of India’s single malt distilleries. There is something distinctly ‘different’ and while hitting ‘home runs’ quite yet, it sure seems that Paul John is on the right track…

Paul John Single Malt Edited 46%

Paul John Single Malt Edited 46%

So here goes yet more impressions – focused only on reactions to the 2nd bottle.

Paul John Single Malt Edited NAS 46%

Nose

  • Paul John Edited

    Paul John Edited

    Strong and peaty “Wow, good God!”

  • Sweet tropical fruits, a bit of liquorice, some spice
  • Roasted coconut, ripe bananas, jackfruit
  • A medicinal quality, some vanilla
  • After some time to breath a delicious custard apple

Taste

  • After the initial spice, becomes surprisingly soft, settles more gently on the palate, unlike Brilliance which some thought went “BOOM!”
  • Walnuts, turbo-charged oak, hint of cloves and apples
  • Bitter chocolate/coffee quality that mellows

Finish

  • Mild sweet finish, surprisingly minimal sense of peat
  • A kind of fizz like cola, leaving a light tingling sensation

Water

  • Smooth, especially with water

Comments

  • Pouring “just a smidge” may be ineffective!
  • A good “banquet” serve where folks enjoy quantity

While peat has been added to Edited, it is with a light hand –  there but after the welcome more the impression of mild peat than prominence.

Overall those who sampled it originally in January confirmed it showed promise, however both Brilliance and Edited were completely eclipsed by their cask strength cousins Paul John Classic and Peated. It is with these that a ‘Paul John character’ starts to emerge.

Edited label

Edited label

Here is what John Paul says about Edited:

This is where you taste the sea off Goa.

This masterfully crafted Indian Single Malt Whisky brings to the fore a hint of peat, created from discretely chosen cask profiles to delight the ardent malt drinker. Grassy barley shows first, but then slowly makes way for their gentle peat notes. They dissolve into the palate and begins to build momentum and intensity.

Slow down now to a chocolate mint and mocha rush, as well as a sublime molasses note that overwhelms you with a sweet end.

Dreams are made of this.

Only during the March tasting did we read the Paul John descriptions after we sampled the whisky. They may not tell you much about the whisky but are amusingly descriptive of the feel the whisky is trying to evoke.

While I remain more curious about what else Paul John has in store, this is the only of the quartet to survive the tasting sessions so I will have the luxury of re-sampling it solo one of these days when the mood hits. That isn’t such a bad thing…

Paul John Quartet

Paul John Quartet

What others are saying about Paul John Edited:

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Paul John Whisky Evening

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!

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!

Paul John Brilliance, Edited, Classic, Peated (Whisky Lady)

Paul John Brilliance, Edited, Classic, Peated (Whisky Lady)

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?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Paul John Single Malt Edited NAS 46%

Welcome to India’s newest offering in the Single Malt category!

This is the 2nd from our January 2015 Mumbai whisky sampling session after the Bailie Nicole Jarvie (BNJ).

Paul John Single Malt Edited NAS 46% 

Single malt from Goa – 1st bottling

  • Colour – Dark gold with the immediate impression that the colour was added not natural
  • Nose – Rubber, tincture of iodine, detached industrial smell, not fruit or flower, slight caramel
  • Taste – Sharp spice, musty yet also dry, perhaps a bit of salt
  • Finish – Um… well… there were no comments so clearly it didn’t leave much of an impact
  • Add water – While naturally the spice went up a tinge, there was a new element that reminded of bitter tumeric, a sourness added to the mix, then overripe banana

As we were having such fun with our discussions, the malt had time to ‘breath.’ Each time we returned to it, new notes emerged:

  • First the iodine transformed into dry coconut with a hint of vanilla and added a leathery dimension on the palate
  • Come back again and a clear caramel custard welcomed the nose and the sourness on the palate mellowed into sweet

20150115-John Paul Single Malt Edition

The unveiling:

Talk about a surprise! This new single malt from India definitely shows promise. It could benefit from more aging and peat… however as a first bottling, it is a good beginning. While clearly a work in progress, it will be interesting to see where Paul John goes next.

More info:

  • John Distilleries are from Bangalore best known for their “Original Choice” whisky and “Big Banyan” wine
  • Produce their single malt Paul John in Goa
  • A new entrant to single malt, the distillery uses copper pot stills and began manufacturing whisky in 2008
  • We tried one of their two single malt whiskies (Edited and Brilliance) released in May 2013 in Goa (not Maharashtra yet!) – and understand it the ‘1st bottling’- lucky us!

Best quote of the evening:

Promising… but should have practiced susegad a bit longer!

Other whiskies in our January tasting session:

Since this introduction, we’ve had many more brushes with Paul John whiskies!

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