While we’re at it, why not continue with yet another Paul John. In the previous two reviews we first had an Amrut finished in cask that previously held peated Whisky and the second Whisky, a Cadenhead Paul John, consists for 40% of Peated Whisky. This time around, we’ll be looking into a single cask of Paul John, a totally unpeated one. Personally I believe Paul John in its peated variant is often at its best. However, like I claimed in the review of the Cadenhead Paul John, there are very good unpeated expressions as well, so lets see if #1444 is one of them.
Color: Light copper gold.
Nose: Very nice entry, with Paul John’s trademark horseradish. A good Springbank has cocos, and a good Paul John has horseradish. Dusty horseradish in this case, like dried out horseradish cream (from a jar). Prickly and spicy, with trace amounts of smoke and floral soap. Appetizing. Cola flavoured wood, and a zesty oak flavour. Appealing in this zesty soda kind of way. Maybe they should carbonate this particular expression of Paul John? The wood now turns a bit vegetal, somewhat virgin, although it is highly unlikely this came from a virgin oak cask. Cold tea. Complex. This has pencil shavings which is also quite normal for a Paul John, but much less than other unpeated expressions, which is a good thing in my book, since that aroma can often dominate the Whisky, masking the complexity it might have and thus resulting in a lower score. So it seems this is a better balanced unpeated single cask than the ones reviewed earlier. The nose benefits hugely from sipping, showing yet more layers. Wow. Sometimes I smell some creamy fruits from an Alsatian Gewürztraminer (not the lychee by the way). How is that for complexity.
Taste: Wood, mocha, ashes and horseradish toffee. Prickly (white pepper?) and somewhat sweet. Again showing great balance. The next wave concentrates more around the sweet bit, now showing a ripe fruitiness. Yet also quite some wood without ever getting bitter. Hints of virgin oak again, but also some dusty old dried out leather books. Classy. A slight lemony acidity (lemon meringue) at the end of the body and well into the finish, which is nice, nutty and long. Walnuts without the bitter skin, the flesh of walnuts only, so to speak. Warming finish and thus this nutty and woody aftertaste with again quite some length.
I have to say this is a very nice dram, and may very well be the best of the unpeated Paul John’s I tried up ’till now. Just compare this one to the other unpeated official single casks: #1906 (87 points) and #1051 (84 points). Great balance and it all works together quite nicely. The aromas in the nose are nice, as well as on the palate, and both the nose and the taste fit together well. Nice finish and a good lengthy aftertaste. Very good example this one, definitely my favourite of the unpeated ones. Funny really, all these single casks look alike especially because a lot of information is lacking. What kind of cask it is, how many bottles, distillation year and so on. So they all look the same, they seem to come all from Bourbon barrels, but the difference between the different casks can still be really great.