Good things always start from scheming with friends. About this time last year, me and my Real Dram conspirator were chatting about how we could get to try a wider variety if whisky and how we could share the fun with some friends, old and new. We are now on the run up to our seventh event and we have recently welcomed 16th and 17th members. In the early days we were keen to try whiskies from the width and breadth of the world. We tried to pick up a Master of Malt Paul John for a club night, but sadly it had just sold out. So its great to sit here ready to try a new Indian Whisky.
John distilleries is based in Bangalore and has been running since 1992, creating blended whisky. Their much newer single malt creating distillery is based in Goa. They create whisky using the potstill process and then barrel into bourbon casks, using indian ingredients. This process is made all the more interesting by the local climate. In Scotland about 2% volume is lost from a barrel each year, for Paul John whisky, this is nearer to 12%. This extra heat also causes maturation process to be quicker, meaning that most of their whiskies are bottled after 4-5 years. These years in cask can be thought to be equivalent to 12-15 years in Scotland.
Today’s dram for review is the Paul John Classic, which has an ABV of 55.2% and is unpeated.
Appearance: Warm, golden fields.
Aroma: Cashew Nuts, Dried Apples and Golden Cereals.
Taste: The start of this dram is much calmer than you would expect for a cask strength whisky. It is creamy and nutty, there is a breakfast cereal quality that either exists or it could just be me desperately trying to find more time in the day to drink whisky. Who knows? On second and third sip there is a tropical fruit quality to this part of the dram that only reinforces the tropical granola vibe.
The middle of this dram is silky and full of sweetness, like a thick golden syrup. It glides backwards across the palate and the tongue, descending quickly to the back of the throat. There is a dryness and a spice of oak, but it is really subdued, not fiery. It is liked slicing into a Jamaican ginger cake and supping it back with a warming cup of strong tea.
After this heat subsides, what is left behind tastes like milk bottle sweets, combined with dried apples and leafy woodiness, something akin to pencil shavings. This flavour is long, lasting, throughly pleasant and draws moisture out of the mouth, leaving you ready for another sip and a glass of water.
Mouthfeel: Incredibly restrained for the strength. Warming and creamy.
Overall: I don’t know what my preconceptions were, but at a higher ABV, I think I expected this to be difficult to drink and fiery. Instead it is almost criminally easy to drink. There is a creamy, mellow quality to it that remind me of the better Irish pot stills that I have had the pleasure to drink. However there is a “different” quality to it, which comes from the silky sweetness. This is a whisky that glistens and shimmers in both looks and in taste.
Real Dram Factor: 7.8
Source: Sample from Paul John.
More Information: Paul John Website