Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Less than 25 years old, Paul John are a relatively young distillery. They are located in a country that consume more whisky per capita than anyone else. Where am I talking here? India! However, I’m not that well versed in Paul John whiskies. I’ve had a few, such as the Christmas Editions, which are fantastic, and the Edited that is phenomenally good value. So when I originally heard that they were releasing 2 new exclusive sherry cask-finished whiskies, my ears pricked up. And when I heard one was a PX cask and the other an Oloroso cask……well, it would be rude not to dive in and investigate.
And they even come in posh boxes. What more do you want?
Paul John PX ‘Select Cask’ - 48%
Appearance: Medium amber. Long, thin legs trickle down the inside of the glass.
Nose: Wine gums in sherry. There’s a real sweetness that hits you in the face like when you tear open a fresh bag of fruit gums and the aroma wafts out – especially the red and black gums. Then a big * confident whoosh of aromatic sherry greets you. There’s no mistaking what type of whisky this is. A deeper nose into the glass and the senses pick up a slight nuttiness and toffee.
Palate: Like on the nose, there’s an immediate sweet nuttiness – almost like an alcoholic like peanut brittle. It’s sherried, thick, and the flavours wash all over the tongue and palate. The 48% is strong enough to deliver lots of flavour, but gentle enough not to be aggressive. It’s an ABV that absolutely works. A second sip delivers more sweet sherry influence with some creaminess, an ever-so faint sourness and a distant whiff of tobacco at the end.
Finish: Long. The sweetness turns to a slight sourness, reminiscent of rhubarb & custard sweets from years ago. The tongue holds the flavour for quite some time.
Water adds... More of a caramel note on the nose, slightly drier with some fruit on the palate.
Conclusion: I’m liking this a lot. The style is ticking lots of boxes for me and Paul John’s distillate profile is working brilliantly with their cask selection and management.
Paul John Oloroso ‘Select Cask’ - 48%
Paul John has knocked out some seriously impressive whiskies in the last few years. And for a young distillery of less than 25 years old, they’re making a mark. Located in India, where more whisky is consumed per capita than anyone else, they have a fair amount of demand. This latest special edition ‘Oloroso’ cask-finished whisky really got my attention as I’d heard it was a sherrybomb delight. It also comes in a fancy presentation box that opens out to reveal the treasure inside. So I was looking forward to trying it.
And oh-my-days was I glad I tried it.
Appearance: Dark amber verging on deep walnut. Ridiculously slow legs travel down the inside of the glass.
Nose: A rush of deep and aromatic sherry, mingled with waxen furniture polish fumes, stewed fruit, and another wave of rich sherry & thick sherry. Wow. Another nosing uncovers a gentle nuttiness, raisins, dark sugar, and toffee. These are all the things I love, so this is a good start…
Palate: Fantastic. An absolutely glorious delivery on the tongue. Muscovado sugar, intense & thick sweetness of sherry, the faintest twang of cinnamon, and even more waves of sherry dance around. A second sip now delivers more of a rich, oily consistency. And then in the background, there’s a caramel-like taste, almost reminiscent of a Caramac bar. A very gentle spiced-tingle continues to play on the tongue.
Finish: Long. Oily sweet sherry and dark muscovado sugar linger on the tongue and slowly fade into a faint creamy chocolate note with a touch of warming spice.
Water adds... Sacrilege. But if you must, there is more sweetness in the nose and a drier woodiness on the palate.
Conclusion: This is an absolute blaster of a release. Those who like sherrybombs will totally love this. It’s a great ABV (kudos to PJ for not going lower), and the sherry influence is glorious.
Summarised thoughts on both bottles:
They are both really, really good sherried whiskies. And they are both well crafted. Both exhibit a good influence of sherry, have a well-considered balance, and both are seriously good drinkers.
The winner for me was the Oloroso Cask. It exhibits more refinement and deeper aromatics. And it's this one that I’ll be buying another bottle. A seriously good job by the people at Paul John Distillery.
Circa £75 each and openly available. In fact, I’ve just bought another Oloroso. It’s my January 2021 treat.