This was the second of the Paul John samples I was lucky enough to have been given.Bold is the more heavily peated expression, it is a fairly new expression being first released in 2015 I believe. Unlike a lot of other distilleries around the world, Paul John don’t import peated barley in to make the malt, they peat there own barley importing just the peat from Scotland. Giving them more opportunities to experiment with the levels of peat, letting them find the right level that’s suits what they want for the expressions.
With the location of the distillery in Goa, Paul John store there maturing casks in a temperature controlled cellar. Because of the way the maturation works in India with the loss from the barrels to evaporation (the angels share) being so much higher, around 8-12% per year compared to the 1.5-2% in Scotland. You are never going to get a malt that is aged for 15+ years, you would be lucky to get more than a couple of bottle out of a barrel. On the plus side the higher temperature and humidity mean that the maturation process is speeded up, so a malt that is aged for 4-6 years in this climate is approximately the same as a malt matured in Scotland for about 12-15 years.
Nose: The peat is there from the start with a some cinders from a bonfire, when the peat starts to settle you get some toffee notes, soft herbal mint leaf, then the fruit appears in the form of melon, orange and some stewed apples..
Palate: The peat is not as dominant as it was in the nose, some orange peel and lime give way to a sweet manuka honey and dark chocolate, underneath is a subtle oak with a warm spice (a little tangy)..
Finish: The strength of the peat in the finish is just right, it doesn’t dominate but reminds you of its presence, giving way to the oak that wants to come to the front.. very enjoyable..
I think Paul John chose a good name for this expression, it is a very bold whisky that leaves a lasting impression. If I had tasted this blind I would have said it was an Islay malt, to me it is somewhere between the Laphroaig 10 and the Bowmore Darkest. Some people will disagree but I do feel it is that good, I think any lover of peated malts would be satisfied with this experience.
Now after sampling both this and the Edited I think Paul John are on to a winning formula with regards to there malts. I personally have liked both expression but I will say that the Edited is the one I would choose first. It was just a more rewarding dram for me to drink..
Thanks again to Sorren at OCDWHISKY for the sample.