Paul John “Bold” (46%, OB, Batch 1, 2016)

To finish off the trilogy of entry-level Paul John’s, here is Bold. Bold was the last addition to the standard range, bottled at 46% ABV. Earlier I already reviewed the other two, “Brilliance” is the base-model so to speak. Just well made Indian Whisky, no peat used. “Edited” is like the base model, only this time tweaked with a little peat, achieved by blending in up to 30% casks of peated Whisky. Today we’ll have a look at “Bold”, introduced in 2015 and made from peated Whisky alone (35 ppm). For this edition, all peat was sourced from Islay.

Color: Pale gold.

Nose: Lots of butter and vanilla, youth, and I’m guessing quite some first fill casks. Nice clean peat upfront, smoke second. Enticing stuff. The peat might be recognizable, and it definitely comes across as a young smelling Whisky, but add to that an uncommon floral bit, which sets it apart from Scottish or even Islay peated Whiskies. Slightly waxy. Lacking a bit in the balance department. Sometimes there are whiffs that are too close to new make, but the next breath can be excellent. After a while, still creamy, the peat dumbed down a bit, and the smoke has almost gone. Some green notes, mainly (almost new) oak. If you smell this very calmly, it’s all about the butter, the vanilla, the cream, the toffee, but when you “smell hard”, yeah, that’s where it all comes together. More spicy, dusty and better balanced. Nice peat, latex paint, mocha and nutty as well. The nose lures you in. It’s seductive.

Taste: Sweeter than expected and initially not very peaty, let alone smoky. Lots of warming notes going down though, with nice development in my mouth. All nice aroma’s, but initially not very bold. A wee bit too young again, moving into the direction of new make. Not a lot, but enough to notice. Hints of orange skins and bread, that must be the influence of indian six-row barley. Terroir is happening! Hey, now apart from the floral bit, I also get a slightly soapy note. Fruity and friendly notes appear next. Very easily drinkable. Please do not expect a heavy hitter, it’s not a heavily peated malt in appearance. Its fruity and floral. Sunny with a slight peaty bite.

I would package it in pink and yellow with some black mixed in for the peat used, but it is more a happy Whisky than a brooding one. It’s not gloomy, misty and Scottish, it’s bright, colorful and Indian. So for me not so bold, and the anthracite packaging is way to dark. It’s like your dog, its your best friend and its happy when you get home, wagging its tail trying to lick your face. It’s not a bad-tempered pit bull with a spiky collar, that growls at you when you get home, disturbing its sleep, passing gas, chewing on your beloved furniture.

I preferred the second batch of “Brilliance” over the first, and I’m sure the second batch of “Bold” will be better than the first as well. It’s coming along nicely and I guess all the initial casks at Paul John were rather new. So, a great effort for a first batch, it’s pretty good, but I’m eagerly awaiting the second batch. With more experience and more time, I’m guessing that one will be at least as good as the second batch of “Brilliance”. Paul John is definitely on the way up!

Points: 85

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Paul John “Brilliance” (46%, OB, Batch 2, 2016)

Today the Paul John range of Whiskies has three entry-level Malts. The unpeated “Brilliance” of which I’m about to review batch #2 (released in 2016). The very lightly peated (8-10 ppm) “Edited” of which I already reviewed batch #1 way back in 2013. The lightly peated style is achieved by blending peated and unpeated Whisky. For Edited, Aberdeen & Islay peat was used. Both Brilliance and Edited were introduced in 2013. In 2015 the third expression was released, called “Bold”, where all Whisky used in the blend is peated. The names speak for themselves. Edited is a slightly tweaked version of Brilliance, tweaked with a little peat (8-10 ppm in the final product), and Bold is bolder in the use of peat (25-30 ppm in the final product). Where Edited contained Aberdeen & Islay peat, Bold is made with Islay peat only). When I wrote the last review, there was not a lot more Paul John around besides “Brilliance” and “Edited”. Back then only three single casks were issued (The P1’s).

Today the core range has more members than the original two. Apart from the addition of “Bold”, in come two more additions; The Classic Select Cask and the Peated Select Cask, both are cask strength Whiskies (released in 2013), so not really entry-level any more. All other bottlings, and there are quite a few by now, are single cask bottlings, some of which were released for particular countries alone.

Color: Pale gold.

Nose: Fruity and fresh. Nice barley aroma. Fruit cake. Sugared yellow fruits with a hint of smoke. Very, very appetizing. Extremely fruity and floral as well. Fruity first, floral second. Vanilla third. Dry powdered vanilla. Dusty and silent. I imagine a hot day. Next some glue and paint which only broadens the aromatic palate. Warm soft wet wood. Definitely summer in the air. What a wonderful nose. This works perfectly for me. Sure this may be a young Indian Whisky, but it already shows a lot of evolution. Ghanging and growing in my glass.

Taste: Barley and some sweetness, again with a bit of smoke. Incence, smoke from burning herbs. More exotic than the nose. Nice soft wood again and a bit of cardboard. Vanilla, so definitely American oak. Oak bitterness (and herbs) come next, giving the Whisky character and backbone. Both aroma’s are coated with vanilla ice-cream. How’s that for balance?

So this is entry-level Whisky. Wow! I’m not sure about you, but this is right up my alley. It differs from other Whiskies. Its exotic and it is definitely high quality stuff. Amrut already has a fan-club (Amrutfever), but I believe its time someone should start a fan club for Paul John as well.

By the way, reading back my review of the first batch of Paul John “Edited”, also shows me how much the Whisky world has changed in the three and a half years that have passed since then. In 2013, it seems, Whisky was just starting to get global, and today it seems every country in the world already has at least ten distilleries producing Whisky.

Points: 85

Many thanks go out to Shilton (Paul John brand ambassador), for your patience answering all my questions, and for the quickest response-time in the industry!

Paul John “Edited” (46%, OB, Batch 1, 2013)

Being a big fan of the Scottish tipple, I somehow ignored the products made in other countries for a long time. OK, I started out with Whiskey from the United States and very early on, some stuff from Ireland and Canada made its way onto my lectern, but that’s about it. If I tasted something else, I didn’t like it very much back then. Yes, back in the day the Whiskies from other countries, just weren’t all that good. More than a decade has passed now, and visiting the odd Whisky Show, I’m more and more exposed to whiskies from those “other countries” and guess what, they actually became pretty good! As we all have read earlier, Cyril Yates made some pretty good Whisky in New Zealand and here we have a Whisky from India. Whisky is getting really global!

Paul John Single Malt Whisky is made at the John Distillery in Goa, India. The distillery only started in 1992 and in just 20+ years became a big player on the Indian Whisky market. Paul John Single Malt Whisky is a more recent addition (presented to the world on the 4th of October 2012 in London, England) to the portfolio that also contains the regional brand Original Choice, which sells 10.000.000 cases annually. The company also sells another brand of Whisky, but also Brandy and Wine. According to the distillery they only have one thing in mind doing business, to make the best product possible…

The core range of Paul John Single Malt Whiskies consists of the unpeated “Brilliance”, this lightly peated “Edited” and up untill now three Single Casks. The peat for the Whisky I’m reviewing here was sourced from Aberdeen and Islay, and I guess there is no better island to source one’s peat from than Islay! 25 to 30% of the Whisky in this vatting is peated to a level of 35 ppm (parts per million) of phenols, resulting in a Whisky that is has a peating level of 8 to 10 ppm. Yes, that’s lightly peated alright. The Whisky has matured for 4 to 5 years in first fill American oak. If you are expecting a (heavily) peated Indian Whisky than this is not for you. If you’re open to a peated whisky where the peat is not about…in-your-face peat, then you’re in for a treat, if you let it.

Paul John EditedColor: Light ocher gold.

Nose: Malty and the slightest hint of peat. Perfumy and needs the warmth of your hand holding the glass. Hints of oily sowing machines. Powdery. Hints of citrus and vanilla ice-cream. A wee bit of drying wood, but when it gets to the right temperature is shows great balance. The powdery element is connected to some late fruitiness, that reminds me of vanilla yoghurt with apricots and mango. Mellow.

Taste: Malty again, and here the perfect sweetness does show up with toffee, mocha and vanilla. It was less sweet on the nose. This is nice! Extremely drinkable and 46% seems perfect for the profile. The ABV delivers a nice bite, but not alcoholic. Again a little bit of wood, but not typical oak, more like cedar or even plywood. I know this does sound horrible here, but it absolutely isn’t. The wood is in a curious way spicy and it delivers another type of bite or character, that sets it apart from most Scottish Whiskies. In the (medium) finish a little bit of paper and smoke appears (not peat).

Elegant stuff with a lot of potential. It is already a great start for Paul John, but I have a feeling they will make this even better over time. It’s time for the Scottish to wake up. The days of extreme pricing might soon be over and the consumer will wise up and turn to other whiskies, like Paul John and Amrut from India, amongst many, many others.

Points: 84