The fine folks over at Paul John – the largest whisky distillery in India, based within Goa – invited us over for a bout of day-drinking at The Stack. What a chore.
Apart from copious amounts of food and great company in the form of Cape Town’s most profilic whisky writers and fundis, we found ourselves face-to-face with the global ambassador for Paul John whisky himself, Mr Madhu Kanna. Madhu decided to punish our livers by bringing along the entire range, as well as his renowned heavy-pouring-hand. Ouch!
Much like SA, whisky matures pretty quickly in India – as much as 3 times faster than in Scotland. As such, all Paul John expressions are non-age stated, but bottled at generous strength, natural colour and non-chill filtered. Starting with Paul John Brilliance (46%) – the bourbon-barrel matured basic expression – you get a real sense of the house style, a surprisingly Scotch-like concoction of warming, buttery deliciousness.
On to Paul John Edited (46%) – my personal favourite. This is a mildly peated expression, reminiscent of Highland Park 12, or a milder Talisker 10. Utterly, insanely excellent liquid, impossibly great value and deserving of the heaps of praise it regularly garners. Wonderful!
From peatier to peatiest. Paul John Bold (46%) is the peat monster of the core range, comparable to Ardbeg or Laphroaig in terms of peaty punch on the palate. Truly rich, powerful stuff, a must-have for the Islay inclined.
We also tried the two single cask, cask-strength bottles in the Paul John stable, starting with Paul John Classic (55.2%), entirely bourbon-matured and the “grown up” version of Brilliance.
If our tastebuds thought they were getting off lightly we ended with Paul John Peated (55.5%) – a mighty monstrosity of peat and alcohol. But like most good high strength, peaty drams, it turns out to be entirely unintimidating. Easy to drink, and very, very easy to enjoy!
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