When it comes to Indian whisky, Amrut gets all the accolades, but this distillery is really catching up when it comes to the quality of its single malts. Paul John established his distillery in 1992, distilled his first single malt in 2007 and produced his first bottling in 2012. Despite a temperature-controlled cellar, the heat (the distillery is on the tropical coast of Goa, while the barley grows on the foothills of the Himalayas) causes the expected fast maturation and heavy volume of angel's share.
Their Select Cask Classic is not single cask, but is blended from whiskies matured in ex-bourbon casks. It is non-age-statement. I purchased this bottle at auction, and it's been open for a few months.
The colour is medium brownish gold. Malty on the nose, with dates, brine, beef broth, charred oak, blood orange and light maple syrup. Quite spicy with cloves and cinnamon. A touch of mint. Classic bourbon cask notes of vanilla, honey and toffee. A drop of water increases the density of the beef broth, as if it's been reducing during a heavy boil. Extremely complex, and exquisite.
On the palate there is dark fruits, lime zest and deep oak. The alcohol stings the lips! Baked apples. Grapefruit. Fennel. Salt and pepper. Water makes it hotter and spicier. Enormously complex, rich and very satisfying.
The finish is rich and long with cloves, oak and cumin. This is incredible stuff. The complexity is enormous, and yet so harmonized you can pick out the individual influences on the whisky (bourbon cask, char, fruity spirit, briny environment, etc). And you really don't need to add water, it's pretty easy to drink without it. I really need to find more whiskies from this distillery!