Tasting: Paul John 5 year-old Indian Single Malt Whisky by Cadenhead’s (b.2017)

Paul John 5yo by Cadenhead's

After the somewhat lackluster experience with the Rampur Select I tasted last week, let’s stay in India and look at this interesting bottling. Independently bottled Paul John, you say? How does that happen? Well, glad you asked! You buy some casks in India, have them bottled and shipped to Scotland, have some unlucky member of the warehouse staff empty all bottles into casks again, roll them into the warehouse for further maturation – and bottle the whisky once someone higher up in the food, err drink, chain decides to do it. Which didn’t take too long in the case of this 5-year-old whisky. Pretty easy, right? Let’s see if it was worth going through all that trouble…

Paul John 5yo by Cadenhead's

Dram data:
Distillery: Paul John
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: –
Bottled: Summer 2017
Age: 5 years
Limitation: 360 bottles
Cask: Bourbon Hogshead
Alcohol: 57,4%
uncoloured / not chill filtered
Whiskybase link

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Tasting: Rampur Select Indian Single Malt Whisky

Rampur Select

Put your hands in the air if you’ve heard of this distillery before. Quite a few whisky nerds have tried the offerings of the “Paul John” or “Amrut” brands, which produce very solid drams, but Rampur? A first for me in any case. It’s produced by the Radico Khaitan group, a big player in the Indian “whisky” market, (in brackets because much of Indian whisky is made from molasses) this whisky doesn’t have an age statement and was launched as their first “true” single malt release in 2016. My sample is from one of their early batches back in 2016. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Rampur Select

Dram data:
Distillery: Rampur
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2016
Age: –
Limitation: –
Cask: oak
Alcohol: 43%
colouring added / not chill filtered
Whiskybase link

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Tasting: Amrut Intermediate Sherry NAS b.30 Indian Whisky

Amrut Intermediate Sherry NAS b.30

Amrut Intermediate Sherry NAS b.30Dram data:
Distillery: Amrut
Bottler: official bottling for Taiwan
Distilled: –
Bottled: May 2016
Age: NAS
Limitation: ? batch 30
Casks: Ex-bourbon – Oloroso – Ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 57,1%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Intermediate Sherry? Now what’s that supposed to mean? Easy! The whisky was first matured in Ex-bourbon casks, then transferred to Spanish oak Oloroso-seasoned casks for a year before a final maturation in ex-bourbon again. That’s a lot of cask-swapping! Let’s see if it was worth the effort!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 reddish amber
The nose is quite strong on the alcohol – no wonder, it is clocking in at 57% ABV! Behind the alcohol, there’s the first waft of slight, fragrant oak and a mixture of herbs and spices. Oriental cough medicine, perhaps? The European oak influence is noticeable! Let’s wait a few minutes! Zzzzzzzzzzz. It’s opened up a bit! Now traces of orange juice, chocolate-covered orange peel appear on a bed of sultanas and molasses. It’s been a while since I last spent such a long time just nosing a dram, if that means anything… The interplay of the freshness and the darker notes works rather well! On to the palate! 

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Tasting: Amrut NAS BA24-2016 by Blackadder

Amrut NAS BA24-2016 by Blackadder

Amrut NAS BA24-2016 by BlackadderDram data:
Distillery: Amrut
Bottler: Blackadder
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2016
Age: NAS
Limitation: 172
Casks: Ex-bourbon BA24-2016
Alcohol: 61,4%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Some bottlers bottle their whisky heavily filtered and heavily coloured, some don’t filter and don’t add colouring – and then there’s Blackadder. Their “raw cask” series even puts bits of charred oak (and, in this case, a string of hessian bung cloth(?) into the bottle. Let’s take a look at this example from the Indian Amrut distillery – if I can manage to pour a “not too crunchy” dram from the bottle, that is – I have misplaced my strainer…

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 dark copper red
The nose has quite a lot of alcohol up front – obviously. The nose needs a few seconds to adapt to that. Once we’ve cut through the alcohol layer, a spicy charred cask character awaits us. Burnt fudge, chocolate-covered vanilla caramel, allspice, turmeric and toasted cask. It feels “warm” and satisfying in a way. I have sniffed freshly delivered ex-bourbon barrels in Scotland, which didn’t nose too dissimilar. With water the alcoholic top note disappears into the background, revealing more of the aromas – let there be dried oranges and pickled ginger. On to the palate!

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