Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of Indian single malt whisky once again.. Paul John is for me the premier Indian whisky, there are of course other great whiskies coming out of the country but Paul John just seem to be making whisky that excites me a little more than the others..
the distillery which is located in Goa, the Portuguese area of India began making single malt whisky back in 2008 and entered the Uk and European markets from 2012, since then they have gone from strength to strength and gained many an accolade from various outlets and have been awarded more medals for the whiskies than i care to mention..
What is very obvious is the whisky is made with care and dedication, add to that pride and attention to detail and they are more than half way to creating something special.. Each bottle you buy comes with a little Indian flair, Goan sunshine, extra detail that is not typical of the normal whiskies we buy.
I was first introduced to the Paul John whisky range by Shilton Almeida, it was his enthusiasm for the product that really started me on my Indian whisky journey, and maybe even the rest of the world. I remember thinking like so many others still do ” Indian whisky, can it really be any good? ” The simple answer to that is YES, it really is good in-fact i will go out on a limb and say they produce some of the best whisky i have had the pleasure of drinking !!
What is very evident is the small differences they do to make their whisky sets this whisky apart from the others whilst keeping the liquid very familiar, things like using 6 row barley, making advantage of faster maturation and of course that Indian flair i mentioned earlier…
Over the years i have many discussions over topics like age, price and whisky from outside of Scotland, all of these topics will continuously keep on rising and all do come up with the Paul John range…
Firstly age… The amount of people that still think age is important is unbelievable, its not, get over it.. Please. Age is not a guarantee of quality, age is not telling you anything more than the minimum age of whisky within the make up of that bottle, it does not tell you the make up of the cask which is far more important, an 11 year old 3rd fill is very different to an 11 year old first fill or re worked cask for example. If you use a first fill seasoned sherry butt for example the flavours and aromas will be very different to using that same cask for a third time, so what did the age tell you about that ? Absolutely nothing ! Start to trust the people deciding that a whisky is ready rather than a number slapped on the bottle intended to excite you into believing it is important and you are getting something special..
Price.. This is a little more controversial, price is subjective and relevant for different reasons, we all know there are some superb releases for under that magical £50 (not sure who decided £50 was the magic number but so many think it is ) Yes we could all find bottles within this range and Paul John have a number including Nirvana, Brilliance, Edited and Bold to name drop them, and yes they then jump a little to the awesome Classic select and Peated select, why the jump, well its quite simple, smaller releases, higher abv and to be honest a better whisky experience.
Then you jump again, to the single cask prices, this is where the relevance and controversy comes into play, do you want a unique experience ? Do you want something a little more rare ? Do you want something that can never be repeated ? well my friends if you answered yest to any of these questions then i am sorry to be the one to tell you but you gotta pay for that pleasure !!
There is of course a point where price needs to be looked at a little more closely but again the question is, do you want the whisky ? if so can you justify the extra price tag, again if for you the answer is yes then it is not for anyone else to tell you it is wrong, get over yourself ( yes i include myself in that statement too !! )
That said i do sometimes think distilleries do take advantage but again we have to understand why,why did they charge a little / lot more for what might be very similar whisky to something half its price ? This might be the perfect whisky for that very question….
As for whisky produced from outside Scotland, I am more than happy to tell you that its a fact and i will even go as far as saying it can and does either equal the quality or on occasions surpass it !! whisky as we know is subjective and all our palettes differ, therefore what one person finds exciting someone else will find it dull or very poor quality, that is fine, its life..
Paul John – Mithuna
Distillery.. Paul John
Region.. Goa – India
Cask.. 4 years in American Virgin Oak – Finished for 2 years in First fill Bourbon Barrels
Nose.. Dates and chocolate with a delicious honey note engulf the senses before Plum jam, rich toffee and coffee start to mingle. Add some rich vanilla, candied orange segments, cinnamon and roasted chestnuts and you start to have a wow moment….
Palate.. Spices and a delicious sweetness are instantly received with Cinnamon and pepper notes riding on the back of some ginger heat. Vanilla is evident but battles with far bolder flavours like maple syrup and rich syrups from those dried fruits.. There is a hint of banana, pineapple and stewed apples but again they are a little subdued.
Finish.. Lingering spices..
Thoughts.. Wow, just Wow… This whisky is absolutely full of big bold flavours and aromas. Tasted blind you would probably swear its sherried, either finished or matured, either way it has massive dried fruit notes which obviously come from those virgin oak casks but they work so well…
So lets jump back to the price – This is commanding a price tag of just over £200, and before you ask is it worth it lets look at why it might be.. Firstly this is a limited edition Indian single malt whisky and part of a series of releases for the Indian zodiac.. Then we add the fact this is cask strength, and finally it is unbelievably good and tastes so very different to anything i have tasted from them.
So ask yourself this before deciding if you want to pay the price or just sit behind your desk remonstrating about something you never had any intention of buying regardless of the price, do you want an experience different to your normal run of the mill whiskies or do you want to be taken on a journey ? if its the first and your £50 limit is exactly that, then this whisky is not for you. However if your budget does allow you to look at this whisky and you can justify paying for the experience, quality and privilege of owning this expression then don’t hesitate, this is superb whisky and is worth every penny !!!!!!!
Yes this review is from an official sample sent by Paul John but the bottle i just ordered is not !!