GOAN GIVE IT A SHOT
10 Nov 2015 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
At a blind tasting with other whiskies, we found out a few interesting things about Asia’s latest name-checked whisky Paul John. The fact that it’s from Goa, India, is not even the most interesting thing about it.
Since 1992, while ravers partied to psychedelic trance, a whisky distillery was quietly and ambitiously set up in Goa. The idea was to produce single malts to rival the best in the world. Even the peated soil was imported from Scotland, but the six-row malted barley used was uniquely Indian, specially grown in cold weather and harvested in summer for maturity.
Why Goa? The weather is ideal for making whiskies, and for a new distillery, the hot weather helps them mature faster than any other whiskies produced in cold climates. It does mean the whiskies presently have no vintages, as the angel’s share of the single malts is 8% (compared to 2-3% in colder countries), and according to master distiller Michael John, “Whisky matured at these temperatures simply cannot be aged for the kind of time expected with Scotch. Even trying to mature our whisky for just 10 years would barely leave a bottle of liquid in the barrel. Fortunately, the heat actually speeds up the maturation process considerably.”
And as a result, they have produced single malts (Brilliance and Edited) that are full-bodied, filled with spices, vanilla, honey, marmalade, chocolate and dry fruit, and have won over 50 awards since the first batch was released in 2012. The accolades include Asian Distiller of the Year 2015, Wizards of Whisky Gold Award 2015, as well as a Gold Medal in the Spirits Business Awards 2015 for their Paul John Edited. Whisky authority Jim Murray (The Whisky Bible) also gave the Edited a rating of 96.5. To compare, the Laphroaig 10 Years is 90, the Talisker 12 Years is 86. (See chart below).
Both single malts Brilliance and Edited have a 46% ABV, and because of its proximity to the sea, have naturally acquired a saltiness that’s rather charming and special. The distiller recommends you “pour yourself a peg, allow it to breathe for at least 10 minutes before taking a sip.” It’s the best way to taste the magic of India. Psych soundtrack not included.
Paul John Single Malts are distributed by The Whisky Store in Singapore. The Paul John Edited is available at $145.00 and Paul John Brilliance at $135.
The whiskies will also be exhibited and available for tasting during Whisky Live 2015 (Nov 28-29)
Like this? We tried the peatiest whisky in the world