Its no secret that this Indian whisky is a particular favourite of mine and whenever I hear of something new coming out I get a little excited.. To my surprise I heard a few rumours a while back that there might be some additions to the core range and the word sherry was used, now I am intrigued..
The distillery itself is located in Goa, on the southwestern coast of India and is owned by John Distillers, which was founded in 1992 by Mr Paul John.. The whisky from the distillery first hit the Uk shores in 2012 and soon became a name that buzzed around the underground scene ( ok that sounds shady ) The whisky in todays market is certainly gaining a well deserved reputation for high quality and great value for money amongst the whisky enthusiasts, the many spirits competitions which shows from the overflowing awards cabinet ( ok there might not actually be a cabinet for all the awards !! ) those soft spices that run through the core range really show off the essence of an Indian whisky and give you some notion this whisky is a little different..
The single malt sector is certainly gaining pace throughout the rest of the world with distilleries popping up all over the place and with so many in competition its hard to see where each one can gain an edge.. Better production, better casks and a good Pr certainly helps but Paul John also do things a little different.. There are only 3 ingredients in whisky so its hard to alter things up too much but Paul John found a way, It might not have been intentional but the use of 6 row barley instead of the traditional 2 row style typically used in the vast majority of whisky production is the way they went.. The 6 row barley is more traditionally grown in India and is a cheaper growing alternative to the 2 row strain we know, but it does have its downfalls for the use in whisky production..
Although its a cheaper crop to grow and harvest, it does not offer the distillery a cheaper way to distil ! The 6 row version is higher in protein and therefore gives you less starch which is essentially the very thing you are after !! You therefore also get a larger grain to liquid ratio. What it does offer though is a slightly different flavour profile !! More oils and a creamier texture.. There are also a few people mentioning that the malted barley used in the peated expressions has been imported from Scotland, this is not true !! It is 100% Indian 6 row barley that is used to produce Paul John whisky.. They only import the peat from Scotland..
PX Select Cask – Paul John
Distillery.. Paul John
Region.. Goa / India
Age.. Nas ( approx 7 years )
Cask.. Bourbon / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Butt Finish
There has been two new expressions released in the select cask series, this Px and an Oloroso finished version, both new expressions have been originally matured in Bourbon casks for around 5 years before receiving a finishing period of approximately 2 years in “long term seasoned” Sherry Casks..
Nose.. Its a ” O hello” moment.. Typically the dried fruits are instantly noticeable with dates, raisins and plenty of fig notes all giving this a delectable start, plum jam and freshly grated orange rind slowly blend themselves into a definite nutty note with dark chocolate, espresso coffee, damp leather and aniseed notes that are so enticing..
Palate.. Soft spices perfectly balance out dried fruit notes before the chocolate, coffee and roasted almonds take control.. After a few minutes you begin to get a little more exotic fruits with some delicate hints of sweetness from the initial bourbon casks maturation..
Finish.. Long and elegant..
Thoughts.. Its hard to find any faults with this but if i have to offer something up it would be the drop in Abv from the bourbon versions.. Both Bourbon releases are offered up at the 55% mark and with the drop to 48% for the two sherry cask finish releases it is a little disappointing BUT lets consider the reason why..
We all know the price of sherry casks is considerably higher than that of a bourbon cask so that has to be factored in and i guess by dropping the Abv it allows the company to offer these two expressions up at a lower Rrp than it would have had they been at the higher abv..
That said there is still a small hike in price too but before we moan about that lets consider one fact, I have always said the two Bourbon cask expressions are under priced for what they actually offer !! so the price tag for these two is probably more where we would expect them to sit and as already mentioned there is a small extra cost to these two..
So onto the positives..
This is so easy to get lost in, the aromas just awaken the senses and invite you in.. The seductive nature to some whiskies is hard to explain, they just whisper to you in that sexy voice ” You know you want me, just give in to temptation and allow me to show you what you are missing ” and before you know it, its too late, your nose is firmly planted into the tip of the Glencairn and your lips are about to taste the sweet liquid that gives you such guilty pleasures…
This is almost certainly going to be one of those whiskies that I sit down with and just lose myself in thoughts, just let it take you on a journey and you will not look back. I do know that from my initial thoughts of this Pedro Ximenez release is that it will become a firm favourite and a must have on my shelf and in the open bottle section as I know anyone who visits will be more than happy to sit down with this and just enjoy it..
For the New Oloroso finished select cask review look HERE