Paul John Edited, 46% ABV, non-chill filtered
Recently, I have been reading about single malt whisky from places other than Scotland. The local shop where I buy my whisky has had some single malts from Japan and now has added some from India. I decided it was time to take a personal look. After scanning a few reviews, I decided to try one of the single malt whisky offerings from Paul John, a distillery in India.
Among the available choices, I was very interested in tasting Paul John Edited. As with all of the Paul John offerings, this is a non-age statement single malt whisky. All of the Paul John single malt whisky is aged a minimum of 4 years. The Edited is unique in that the whisky is the product of blending Indian barley and Scottish peated barley. I have read different accounts, but the most consistent summary is that the final barrel aging has about 15% of the whisky from the peated component. The aging is in American Oak Barrels and the final expression is 46% ABV, non-chill filtered, and without coloring.
It is fun reading about the nuances of aging this whisky at the distillery on the west coast of India. The heat and humidity variations, compared to those in Scotland, are argued to produce an accelerated aging process, and an increase in the “angel share” of the whisky lost to evaporation annually.
So, at many levels I was curious to explore this particular Paul John offering.
On the nose, I get sweet honey and pineapple mixed well with light peat and charcoal. On second and third pass, I find a bit of spice added to the balance. One the palate, I find it to be initially sweet. I find flavors of spiced apricot and banana with gentle waves of peat following. The finish is medium-long, smooth, a mix of sweet and spicy mint. The smoke and peat first mingle with the spice and then persist as the sweet elements fade away. At the end, there is a bit of peppery heat to remind your tongue of where you have been.
I do like this whisky. I find it to be very well balanced, particularly for a young whisky. And I would find it hard to distinguish from some of the single malt scotches that I have sampled. The qualifier is, of course, that I do not pretend to have the palate nor expertise to detect finer distinctions that others may well find in such a comparison.
With that qualification in mind, in my tasting I find that something about the sweetness intermingled with light peat reminds me of an Islay whisky finished in sherry casks. While I have not tried a side-by-side sampling, my initial perception is that the profile of Paul John Edited would be comparable to some of the Bruichladdich single malts I have tasted.
When you add a price comparison, the Paul John Edited is a very good buy – particularly if you are looking for a whisky with this sweet and peat profile. It is certainly not going to be my last Paul John purchase (I do hope my local shop acquires more of their offerings).