Nose: Sultana grapes, honey, milk chocolate, vanilla spice, golden raisins, summer flowers, cappuccino flavored hookah tobacco. As time passes chocolate chip cookie, apricots, mango and passion fruit with toasted oak.
Palate: Creamy, apples, brioche, almond paste, orange zest, subtle black tea at the back with bitter red forest fruits, walnuts.
Finish: Medium and creamy with oak spices, white chocolate ganache, white peppers, sage.
I wanted to start off 2021 tasting a different spirit than whisky. Paul John XO Indian Grape Brandy was with me for a while and, to be honest, I have already killed a bottle during holidays. That is actually the reason that made me share this as the first post of 2021.
Paul John Distillery is known for their stellar single malt whiskies like Paul John PX Select Cask, which made it to my Best Whiskies of 2020. Though not a lot of people know that they already have a lot of expertise on brandy, rum, vodka and other spirits they make for the local market under the parent company John Distilleries. Roulette and Mont Castle are the two brandy brands that they offer in India. John Distilleries also have a wine brand called Big Banyan which offers really interesting and delicious wines that I personally tasted in India in 2019.
What Is Special About This Brandy?
Paul John Distillery followed the same quality path as they did with their whiskies. They wanted to have a unique, premium brandy to reflect the Indian heritage. Therefore, they used three different grape varietals from India. Ugni Blanc and Bangalore Purple grapes, which are both grown and harvested in India.
After being distilled in copper pot stills, the spirit is aged in medium toasted French Limousin oak barrels for 8 to 10 years. It is bottled at 46% abv in a gorgeous bottle! There will be only 972 bottles (minus 1 or 2 because of me, oops!) in the US.
How Does It Taste?
There were some whiskies that I almost forget to write a review because I was finishing the bottle or the sample since they were really delicious. Paul John XO is also one of them, just not a whisky. It is incredibly easy to drink and without any doubt, delicious.
The nose is very rich and complex starting off with Sultana grapes, milk chocolate, honey, golden raisins, cappuccino flavored hookah tobacco (yes, I know this very well!). As time passes, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, apricots and passion fruit arrive with a gentle toasted oak flavor.
The palate is creamy and very easy to sip with an apple cake start with brioche, almond paste and orange zest. Traveling to back, some subtle tannic feeling from black tea arrives with bitter dark forest fruits and walnuts. The finish is medium on and creamy with oak spices, white chocolate ganache, gentle white peppers and sage.
As I mentioned before, Paul John XO is one of the things I enjoyed a lot lately and knowing that it will be released in the US this spring is very exciting. Sometimes packaging can be very exciting with the new releases, but this time the liquid inside the bottle is even better than the packaging! A great brandy to have as a digestive, after a light work day or even a good accompany for a medium-bodied cigar. Now, do we call it #TheGreatIndianGrape ?