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Paul John ‘Bold’ (2017, OB, 46%)

Paul John Bold Peated

Again from the blind tasting cycle that we organized with some friends during the lockdown, here we deal with an Indian single malt, Paul John: it is a peaty version made using local, Indian peat (for the terroir fanatics amongst our readers: we don’t know what part of India it is from, and yes, of course, India is huge: but if you are really wondering where it comes from, well, we have to say that we feel you) bottled at 46%. Here are the tasting notes, naturally written blindly, without knowing what we had in the glass.

N: aperitif whisky, because the nose jumps from Parma ham to bacon with cheese. Basically a whisky-piadina!, which is our way of defining an organic peat that reminds us of Islay… Will it be a peaty Bunna? Or maybe one of the new Ardbegs? Whatever it may be, it’s young and presumably it’s an OB. Quite herbaceous, it has notes of creosote and even radicchio, and a “floury / mentholated” side of talcum powder. Interesting hints of curry, precisely green curry or curry leaves. Little fruit around here, a little apple and lots of sugar. Maybe industrial apple juice, but peaty (someone should start producing it). There is also a citrus soul between mandarin and lemon sorbet. The peat returns and it is difficult to decipher, between smoking, the medicinal part and the organic side. A touch of iron. Enigmatic.

P. well, it starts on chemical plastic, “like Pampers” says one of the tasters, fresh father. It’s much peatier here, and more ‘burnt’ than on the nose. The peat is compact, strange, different from usual. Particularly herbaceous, like those Ricola herb candies. This balsamic side almost recalls Laphroaig, from time to time. Even a meatier side, we’d say “frankfurters”. The sweet part is there too, but the fruit is undefined, covered with peat: lemon and smoked green apples, Fruit Joy with lime. Bread crust towards the end.

F. very long and salty, anchovy and olive brine! Green.

It’s certainly a young peater, played on a new way of proposing peat: not particularly elegant and graceful, to tell the truth. It has a wierd and balsamic side, not too loud but original and very ‘green’. Actually one of us had sketched the hypothesis that we were not on Islay, but from here to India the mental journey is long… Also because the Paul Johns we happened to taste were more extreme. All in all, a decent and quite funny peated whisky: 84/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Khruangbin – Pelota.

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