Years ago speaking about Indian whisky meant you were discussing one of those things: Either you had bought it in India, and it was questionably whisky in name only (and actually was closer to a rum), or you bought either an Amrut or a Paul John and people had a concerned look when you brought it up.
Jumping ahead to now we now have these two distilleries as whisky nerd household names. No longer are these bottles odd curios or bought strictly to celebrate one’s ancestry, and certainly are no longer something you have to explain too much to other whisky nerds.
Enter Paul John 7 2011 Cadenhead World Whiskies – Individual Cask: This will be the second Cadenhead picked Paul John. The last one was without a doubt legendary, interesting, and worth every penny paid for it.
That’s not easy to be the next one after: In this case we have more years on the whisky, and it’s from the World Whiskies section versus the now dead Small Batch.
Beyond that these are very similar: But how does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Bottled: May 2019
Cask type: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Number of bottles: 348
Colour: 2.5Y 6/8
Nose: Plum/dates, toffee, white cake, honey, wood
Those of you who have grown up with English food will identify what a majority of these flavours bring you to: Sticky Toffee Pudding. And I fucking love Sticky Toffee Pudding.
The fact I live in a commonwealth country, that has pubs, and fucking none of them clues in on that is frustrating, to say the least. This is scratching that itch, and I’m loving it.
Taste: Toffee, melon, rosemary, wood
Wait, where did my pudding go? I finished my meat, I should get some pudding! Alice Cooper told me so!
Yes, there’s some toffee there, but I wanted the dates, the toffee, and the white cake! Instead I just got the wood. Which in this circumstance wasn’t what I was aiming for.
Finish: Smoked honey, apple, lemon, dates, herbal
Nice mixture of fruits. And the dates are back, which would be great if it hadn’t gone more bitter like in honey, or apply, or had any cereal. Bit of herbal at the end sticks out a tad. It kind of works and kind of doesn’t.
Conclusion: All nose, no cattle (or taste or finish either), to borrow a phrase. The finish attempts to pair up some smoke, some honey, and some fruit, but it doesn’t quite get there. I’ve had that flavour combination, in the form of smoked mead and in other whiskies, and here it didn’t quite come together.
Not to mention: Have you ever been thinking you’re going to get something, and didn’t get that something? That’s what happened here. The whisky itself is fine to drink. It’s not going to blow your mind, and if you had it as the first Indian or first Paul John, you’re gonna be alright. Just alright.
World Whisky review #423, India review #37, Whisky Network review #2190