Friday, November 5, 2021

Paul John Single Malt Christmas Edition 2021 Review & Tasting Notes


Have you ever had whisky from India? This subcontinent makes some truly lovely whiskies. That’s not to say that they’re all good because India is pretty fast-and-loose as to what qualifies as whisky. But, if you stick with Rampur, Amrut, and Paul John, you’ll avoid those shenanigans.


Paul John is located in Goa, India, which is in the western part of the nation. The average temperature in Goa is the high 80s to low 90s (Fahrenheit), which translates to a naturally-accelerated aging environment.


Here we are in November, and that means that it is time for the Christmas Edition 2021 release. This would be the fourth in the series. Paul John uses its Christmas Editions to give a sneak peek into what’s new for the following year. I’ve had the 2020 and 2019 Editions, and they’ve been divine.


Christmas Edition 2021 is, as always, a single malt. Paul John sources six-row barley grown in the country, which is said to have a higher protein and fiber content. This leads to an oilier whiskey than two-grain barley. Any peat that Paul John uses is sourced from both Islay and the Highland regions of Scotland. Fermentation takes 40 hours or longer before the mash is distilled through its copper pot stills. 


Aging took place in ex-Bourbon casks and mingled with cooperages that formerly held vintage port, tawny port, and Madeira wines. The whisky is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and carries no age statement, although it is somewhere in the five-year neighborhood. Before you roll your eyes and dismiss that, understand that due to the hot, humid climate of Goa, things tend to age at about a 3:1 ratio compared to a Scotch counterpart.


That’s bottled at 46% ABV (92°) and you can expect to pay about $84.99 for a 750ml bottle. It is available now throughout the USA.


I’d like to take a moment and thank Paul John for providing me a sample of Christmas Edition 2021 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. To find out if this one is worth the trouble, I’ll have to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this single malt was the color of dark rust. It presented a thinner rim that led to slow, husky legs and crawled back to the pool.


Nose:  Nutty and fruity, the nose was obvious the second I cracked open the bottle. I let it rest for about ten minutes before bringing it to my face. Aromas of English toffee, toasted coconut, roasted nuts, candied orange slices, raisin, and, for good measure, light peat wafted from the glass to my nostrils and just made me smile. When I drew the air into my mouth, it became a caramel bomb with a bit of plum.


Palate:  First things first, and that’s the mouthfeel. It was super creamy and thick. The more I sipped, the weightier it became. Racing out of the gate was butterscotch and smoky chocolate. Beyond that, I tasted nutmeg, caramel, berry, and raisin. The back featured oak, Nutella, and molasses. My smile became more pronounced.


Finish:  Long and lustful, notes of smoke, oak, Nutella, berry, nutmeg, and clove stuck around, only to be eclipsed by molasses. It left my hard palate tingling slightly despite the lower proof.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This is everything Christmas should be. It is sweet, it is smoky, it is savory, and the flavors blend stupendously to one another. The fact that I only had a 50ml is heartbreaking because this whisky is stunning. The good news is that in my area Paul John Christmas Editions aren’t too difficult to come by, and I’ll track a Bottle down to earn a coveted place in my whiskey library. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


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