So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Paul John Classic vs Peated and Ardmore for Whiskyonline 1993/2015 #5750

Amrut is the name most think of when you say Indian Single Malt, but there’s another distilled at John Distilleries’ Goa plant called Paul John.  The parent company has been around since the 90s but their core business had been mass market blends, brandies, vodka, and wines . They made a business decision to enter the Single Malt market in 2008 and started distilling the malt that would later be bottled as Paul John in 2012.

In fact the approach for their Single Malt has been to localize as much as possible – everything has been sourced from India. The barley is Indian, the small 3000L stills are Indian made, the peat in Indian cut. At the very least the claim on terroir makes a good selling point, why compete against Scottish brands with Scottish malt? Well, the barrels are American but that can’t be helped. Unfortunately the weather is Indian as well, and that is no boon to long aging, hence maturation occurs in a climate controlled cellar – which must be pretty big to house all the casks.

John distilleries

(Photocredit – hipcask.com)

Small stills with reflux balls and thin upwards slanting lyne arms. Given the spirit cannot mature for very long, its entirely rational to rely on slow distillation and increased reflux to strip out as much of the undesirable compounds as possible.I suspect that is probably the case here.

Paul John is distributed by Quiach Bar in Singapore, head down to sample the 4 expression core range.


Paul John Classic 55.2%


Nose Nose: Fresh lively. Cored apples and pears quite a lot of wood and vanilla too. Touches of clay, cardamom, grass and menthol cigarettes. Quite lithe and fresh, natural cask style. Very appetizing. A cross between a Speyside and Highlands style.

Taste Palate: Quite sweet wood vanilla and spicy spicy spicy, lots of high fruit esters more clay and other clean earth notes and mentholated tobacco again. Ah youth. Ends quickly.

Finish Finish: Medium clean, grass and some herbals. Green apple.


I would guess 5-8 years of age, and yet the wood influence and spirit development is way ahead of the curve so to speak. Very natural and welcoming. Actually really impressive.


Paul John Peated 55.5%


Nose Nose: A turfy earthy peat. Quite heavily peated too. Ardmore on steriods? Malt, bungcloth and oily rags. Engine room on the Darjeeling Express. Coal, smoking wood, black tea. Lots of wood and vanilla again,  also something curiously ‘ripe’.

Taste Palate: Quite a generous sweet and earthy peat, ashy, some herbal notes, some mentholated notes again. Not as giving as the nose, balance seems somewhat skewed towards the rough peat. Smoked vanilla. Full of potential.

Finish Finish: Medium, smoke and ash, some smoked green fruit.


I know people who would love this slightly out of whack peat, but balance appeals most to me and I think in that regard, a few more years would have certainly helped to iron out the kinks.


Ardmore 1993/2015 G&M for Whisky Online #5750 49.9%

And only because I was thinking Ardmore:


Nose Nose: A medium fairly subtle turfy peat. Also catching pine leaves, an indistinct red and green fruit peel fruitiness dodging about. Wet bark, wet burlap sandbags, machine grease, vegetable juice. Tinned pineapples?

Taste Palate: Right. Quite a mass of flavours, and rather complex. Sweet peat mixes with some linseed oil and charcoal and also some raw green sap. Then grass and right then at the mid palate the tropical fruits arrive gloriously, bright sweet and citrusy. Carries on to the finish

Finish Finish: Long, residual fruitiness, some earth some smoke. Wet burlap again. Very very good.


I like this very very much. Peaty phenolic notes, green freshness and real tropical fruit. A rare combination these days. Only comment is that the fruit does lose out somewhat against the heavier elements. Still far superior to say.. young sweet bourbon flavoured Laphroaig with unimaginative half names. Still available at whisky online’s store at a steal. Buy 2.


3 comments on “Paul John Classic vs Peated and Ardmore for Whiskyonline 1993/2015 #5750

  1. Carissa Hickling
    March 19, 2016

    Haven’t sampled the Ardmore but have both Paul John Classic & Peated.

    One bottle of Peated was closer to what you describe. Another was insanely good. As in impressively ‘wow’!

    Classic is naturally more subdued and balanced in its approach. Surprised you didn’t get as much of the tropical notes we did or the bitter edge on the palate.

    • Whiskyrific
      March 21, 2016

      Really! I did not expect batch variation to be that pronounced. Quite right perhaps these are different batches. Still.. I quite liked the naturalness of the bourbon. Also, if you can you must simply get a bottle of the Ardmore!

      • Carissa Hickling
        March 21, 2016

        I wish I’d kept a sample of the earlier one to compare. All I can say is the one that is currently in my cupboard is excellent!

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