Water of Life - Paul John
Chalk it up to the not exactly exuberant or eye-catching presentation of the bottle or the fact that when it comes to Indian whiskies, I have so far been focussed on Amrut, but unfortunately Paul John is a distillery that has largely eluded me and what a mistake that was.
We have covered Amrut and their excellent peated expressions as part of our Water of Life series before, so expectations were running high when I learned that Paul John also has a range of peated emissions.
Bold is one of those formidable expressions and its wonderful aromas is informed by peat that has been imported from Goa straight from Islay, which explains the excellently smoky toasted barley nuances that blends in with green apple and brown sugars.
Honey-esque is what materializes on the roof on the mouth but does not overwhelmingly so but is punctuated by spicy notes, which the boldness of the Islay-an peat serves as the foundation.
The elongated finish left me smacking my lips as the peppery notes are embedded in a bed of peat that leaves one lusting for another dram.
Very good indeed and with its young character reminiscent of Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte in terms of creaminess, an instant new favourite whose affordability is the cherry on top.
Shall we take things up a notch or two?
Aight, let’s shed light on Paul John’s Peated Select Cask: Clocking in at 55.5% ABV, i.e. cask strength, and matured in ex-bourbon casks,
Peated whisky from the Paul John range of single malts produced in Goa. This particular expression was matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being bottled at cask strength, the nostrils are tickled by an earthy peatiness and a very nice melange of spicy and sugary notes.
On the palate, it feels like the scene is to be set for a BBQ with waves of delectable smoke that are highlighted by tropical fruity notes.
The careful calibrated melange of sweet and peatiness of this darkly golden drop culminates in the complex finish that somehow manages to combine cinnamon, nuts and a delicious bitterness that prolongs its effect.
Another exquisite libation from the Paul John portfolio that leaves a memorable and lasting impression.
Change of gear?
anCnoc’s Peatheart expression got my heart rate up because of the name alone. Not that I can claim that I’ve had any other whiskies from the anCnoc’s range, but being very fond of everything peaty and smoky, expectations were high.
Using barley malted to 40 PPM, which is not bad but still a few leagues below where my favourite Islay whiskies sit, it is certainly on the lighter side of things, which is confirmed by what tickles the nostrils, i.e. citrussy notes, earthiness and oak that is pervades by wafts of tobacco.
On the palate, there is chocolatey barley and slightly burned meat notes that are married with cardamom, which transitions seamlessly into a fruity yet smoky finish.
A smoothly peated and light gateway whiskey that makes me want to explore what the rest of the anCnoc portfolio has to offer.