Now that Amrut has straightened the path for Indian whisky, Paul John is quickly gaining recognition.
The company has been running since 1992, but their single malt production didn’t start until 2008. Distilled in Goa in copper pot stills, two single cask releases were introduced in 2012. They’re now followed by two regular expressions: Paul John Brilliance (unpeated) and Paul John Edited (a combination of peated and unpeated spirit). Brilliance is matured in ex-bourbon casks for about 3 to 5 years.
We already know Indian barley (Himalayan 6-row grain) and their extreme climate can produce an attractive “high-pressure-cooked” whisky that is certainly different from classic Scotch.
Paul John Brilliance (46%, OB 2013)
Nose: a peculiar nose, not as warm and sweet as expected. It starts almost entirely on apple jenever and freshly cut green apples. Some malty notes. Burnt grass and sawdust. Also a weird hint of buttermilk, as well as a refreshing minty / floral aroma.
Mouth: fairly simple. The same overload of apple flavours, but again a slightly mineral / sour profile rather than the expected tropical sweetness. Sawdust, cinnamon and ginger. A little coconut. A couple of disturbingly raw, woody notes towards the end.
Finish: not too long, focusing on new oak with hints of grass and vanilla.
I had been looking forward to trying Paul John for over a year. Maybe my expectations were too high. It has some great elements, but it’s not entirely convincing (yet?). Around € 45.