Revisiting the Paul John Bold 46%

As I’m in UK/Canada, prepared this post during a sweltering Mumbai May evening for your reading pleasure while I’m off gallivanting… read on…

Whenever possible, I like to revisit a whisky for a 2nd opinion. While I absolutely love sampling with others, there is also something to be said for sipping solo and distilling your own unique impression.

When the Whisky Ladies first sampled Paul John Bold, we found it enjoyable but slightly tame. In part this was because we had it after the fabulous Peated. In short, it was overshadowed.

At the time, I expected to soon revisit after our first brush with Bold but it took a quiet evening in May to finally pull it out and sample solo.

2016-05-08 Paul John Bold
Here’s what we initially found with Bold Single Malt NAS 46% compared with what I found solo…
  • Nose
    • Whisky Ladies: Bergamont, light, restrained, not quite sweet, a sense of being a bit more sophisticated, with a little vanilla
    • Whisky Lady revisit: Much sweeter and more ‘malty’ than I remembered, some citrus or tart green apple rather than the burst of tropical fruits I normally associate with Paul John expressions, a pronounced curl of peat too which we missed in our initial tasting. Yes honey too with a vegetal spicy undertone… as it aired became even a bit milky?
  • Taste
    • Whisky Ladies: Dare we say… after a name like BOLD we expected the whisky to jump out at us, swaggering into our senses… instead it was… um… almost tame? Light, honey sweet, some citrus, a puff of smoke, lovely but a step back from the luscious Peated
    • Whisky Lady revisit: More burn and ‘oomph!’ than I remembered…. some coffee and malted cereals, delightfully peaty
  • Finish
    • Whisky Ladies: Here was where we found peat – a lightly peaty finish with walnut. Some found it slightly bitter, others found it wasn’t bitter at all – particularly when compared with the bitterness of  the Edited finish
    • Whisky Lady revisit: Nice and peppery, still find the bitter walnut, oak and a hint of cinnamon spice

Did I agree with our initial assessment? Yes and no. Once it sang solo, Bold stands out.

I also found it went well with water and… yes… I will admit, a cube of ice kicks up the spice while cooling the dram – most welcome. What can I say? It is May and hot in Mumbai!

Whereas if I was to pick a season for this whisky? I’m reminded more of fall, all leafy, wood fires and crisp cool air. As I stared my risotto slowly cooking, couldn’t help tip the bottle to add a splash. Bold added a dash of spicy smoke – yum!

2016-05-07 Paul John Bold

The Bold I sampled was from Batch No 1, released in Aug 2015. I understand it is made with Indian barley smoked using Islay peat to around 25ppm. This is different than a short-cut many other distilleries outside of Scotland adopt, which is to import peated barley rather than go through the process of importing just the peat to then play around with peating desi barley.

Here’s what the folks at Paul John have to say about Bold:

Bold is a journey that leads you down the unexplored, unchartered terrains of Goa. It offers you a slice of its best-kept secrets, unravelling the mysteries, bit by little bit. This expression of ours invites you to leave the trail, tread the path less taken and plunge headlong into the delicious depths of Goa.

  • Nose – After the slightest whiff of smoke, a dizzying array of Manuka honey, prickly spice and bourboneque red liquorice takes over.
  • Palate – This melt-in-the-mouth malt has the most profound flavours crashing in like waves. At first, the delivery feels sublimely silky and studded with oak-like honey. And just when you think you’ve savoured it all, you are surprised by a hefty second wave of spice. This is followed by a cloudy, smoky feel that coats the roof of the mouth and leaves a tidal wave of dry molasses, peaty soot and a degree of copper in its wake.
  • Finish – Bold has a light finish with a tinge of copper slowly making its presence known. You can also sense a gorgeous smoked mocha shaped by delicate and intricate spices.

More sampling adventures with Paul John:

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