Thursday, 17 January 2013

Whisky Discovery #268

Paul John Single Cask 161 NAS (57% abv, 2012)
Indian Single Malt Whisky
Circa £60.00 70cl
The first release from Paul John
I've decided to post this blog post out of sequence as this was first tasted at the Birmingham Whisky Club's Whisky Show in December, and although registered as a 'Whisky Discovery' never sat down and completed a full 'blog post' at the time. Ordinarily I would back-date any blog post subsequently written, so that it followed in numerical sequence. To be honest it's what I would have preferred, and have done to date, but sometimes these posts are written quite a while after the original tasting experience, either due to getting a bottle myself or being sent a sample from fellow whisky enthusiasts or PR from the brand. If you think I should put them back into order - let me know, I always appreciate your feedback.

I remember this whisky being launched at The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show last October however never managed to get to taste it on either of the two days that I visited. Kat did sample it at the end of the day she visited, however being one of the final drams of the day little was recorded. When we saw it was being exhibited at the Birmingham Show it was our first port of call, and certainly appeared to be one of the highlights for the visitors that afternoon

Reading my copy of the latest Malt Whisky Handbook (essential for every whisky enthusiast) I have learned that Indian whiskies feature significantly in the top 30 whiskies of the world, and seven of these are listed in the top 10. John Distilleries is the world’s seventh largest whisky distiller, and this single cask release is it's first foray into the premium market.

Cask 161 has launched with a ‘Liquid Gold’ award from Jim Murray’s ‘The Whisky Bible’ following a rating of 94 points, putting it among top whiskies in the world according to the renowned whisky expert. In a further endorsement of Paul John’s debut cask, Difford’s Guide has awarded it with a ‘Quality Recommended’ 4.5/5.

Bottled to cask strength 57% abv, just a single cask of John Distilleries inaugural whisky was released totalling 150 bottles. The whisky is made from 100% Indian Malted Barley and has been aged in Ex-Bourbon barrels. It is distilled using the traditional copper Pot Stills.

So What Did We Think?

When I wrote our blog post following the Birmingham Whisky Festival I noted that I wished that I could spend some more time with this whisky, in the comfort of an armchair, to sit and saviour. Well my wish was granted and was very kindly sent a sample of this to review at my leisure. Unfortunately by the time I had sat down to enjoy this I found out that it had sold out from the sole UK retailer The Whisky Exchange. However with only 150 bottles available this was pretty rare stuff. Just 150 bottles is not a lot of yield from a single bourbon cask, being distilled and matured in Goa, the Angels Share is a whopping 10%.

Nosing this whisky gave me vanilla notes and a sharp orange marmalade aroma. This is followed by wood notes, like working with some old hardwood furniture, there were also some licorice there. After a little while in the glass some sweet and spicy flavours appear with honey, cloves and a touch of white pepper.

It was malty on the palate with some butterscotch flavours and lots of spicy pepper heat. OK, so not as much going compared to the nose, but a very enjoyable mouth feel. Towards the end there is a brine like saltiness which balances the sweetness and finishes with a dry hazelnut nuttiness.

So I missed the boat on this first release. That's the trouble with having a huge established wish list, and lots of great whiskies being released regularly so I can't keep up! However I will be looking out for new releases from Paul John at the whisky shows coming up, and if I haven't already blown my budget will definitely consider adding a bottle to my shelf.

Did any of you try this at any of the whisky shows at the end of last year and did you get your hands on a bottle? We'd be interested to hear what you think.

You can find out more information about Paul John Indian Single Malt on their website here:

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