There comes the favorite time of the year! 2020 has been a really interesting and challenging year so far and I know that most of us just want to be over with it soon. Yet, Christmas is around the corner now and as usual we are seeking some happy moments. The release of Paul John’s Christmas Edition Series is a part of those moments for me. Paul John Christmas Edition 2020 is the third release of the annually released series. This year, it got even more exciting with an extra cask type in the maturation.
In 2018, Indian distillery used ex-Bourbon and Oloroso casks. In 2019, ex-Bourbon stayed the same but PX casks were used instead of Oloroso. This year, the master distiller Michael D’Souza decided to use ex-Bourbon, American virgin oak and Oloroso casks! During an interview Michael told that Christmas Edition also served as experimentation bottles for them. We can actually observe this experimentation with the releases of Paul John Oloroso Select Cask and Paul John PX Select Cask which have a similar maturation structure with the former Christmas Edition releasees. The 2020 release has virgin oak as a new addition which can be a hint of what Paul John Whisky is working on.
Paul John Christmas Edition 2020
Paul John Christmas Edition 2020 will be coming in a red dress this year. Stellar packaging from the distillery with their bottles is highly appreciated. Kudos to the branding team! But let’s see if it is all about the packaging!
My sweet age for Paul John is between 6-8 years old. I have tasted from hundreds of different casks when I was in India and among the first fill ex-Bourbon barrel matured single cask samples, I mostly enjoyed the ones in this range. However, aside from being a master distiller, Michael is also an incredible blender. We can see that with a way younger product Nirvana! That was another reason for me to get excited about this whisky, to try the tri-cask maturation!
My first impression is the lighter Oloroso nose. Since virgin oak was introduced, whisky’s character got a little bit onto that side. The nose offers you a warm welcome with the signature honey notes you can get from numerous Paul John whiskies. I can get some damp oak aromas which I enjoy, complemented by toasted bread, cinnamon, walnut, sandal wood, caramel and of course sweet smoke coming from ‘the Hint of Peat’. As minutes pass, the nose gets opened and grape like aromas are released making you feel you are nosing a brandy.
If I had to tell the palate in a word, it would be luscious! Rich with raisins, oak spices, cardamom, black pepper, allspice, dried figs, light but distinctive peat smoke and touch of ginger. Back of the palate is covered by a juicy feeling as well as milk chocolate.
The finish is lingering with peat! Yes, peat explodes here and I found Paul John Christmas Edition 2020 to showcase its peat more than the former editions. A nutty feeling with, earthy components and orange zest accompanies the finish.
Overall, this whisky will be accompanying a good amount of winter nights for me. In comparison to 2019 Edition, 2020 is a little bit brighter and having more oak spices on the palate. Texture of the whisky is a touch lighter and peat shows itself more. You can definitely feel the impact of virgin oak and it is very well blended with the other two casks, which made me even more excited for the upcoming releases!