This week of reviews of Indian whiskies started out on an unexpectedly strong note with the new’ish Kamet single malt and picked up even more steam with the triple-distilled Amrut 7 yo bottled for Spec’s in Texas. The Kamet was put together from a mix of bourbon, sherry and wine cask matured spirit; the Amrut was from an ex-bourbon cask. Here now to close out the week is a sherry cask whisky from the Goan distillery, Paul John. I visited the distillery in 2020 (read about it here) right before the pandemic hit. I remember seeing sherry casks in the warehouse but didn’t hear anything about their plans for that spirit—I was on the basic tour; it’s possible they say more about their cask programs if you sign up for the tasting following the tour. Anyway, I don’t know if they’ve released any full-term sherry matured whisky. This is a oloroso finish bottled at 48% (there’s also been a release of a cask strength 7 yo oloroso finish). As per Whiskybase, there have been at least four numbered batches in this series and their Whiskybase scores are all over the map. I have to confess that I don’t know which batch this sample is from (I will check with the source). I do hope that it will provide a good end to this week of Indian whisky reviews. Let’s see.
Paul John Oloroso Cask (48%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Lovely nutty sherry with a good dose of orange peel, light caramel and toffee; some black tea in there too. With time there’s some dried leaves and damp earth. With more time still some raisins emerge and they’re soaked in rum. With a few drops of water here comes the apricot. The whole gets quite sticky.
Palate: Comes in more or less as indicated by the nose but with less orange peel. A very good drinking strength and decent texture. Seems to get thinner with time here—in terms of both texture and flavour; there’s a little more oak as well (not tannic). The (dried) orange peel does emerge with time. Okay, let’s add water. More fruit here too with water—more orange peel/marmalade—and the oak gets pushed back.
Finish: Long. Gets darker with a little wisp of smoke. The oak gets the last word (still not tannic). Develops as on the palate but the spicy oak still has the last word.
Comments: This is my kind of a sherry bomb. That is to say it has a very good balance of dry and earthy notes on the one hand and fruit on the other. And the oak provides a good frame for it all without dominating matters. The only thing holding it back is a lack of complexity/development. Is it worth the price? I guess it depends on your bank balance and whether this sherried profile is now available at all for less money. It might be; if so, please make suggestions below—I’m very out of touch.
Rating: 87 points.