Paul John 5yo, Summer 2017, 57.4% – Cadenhead

Paul John (not Ringo George) is one of those weird distilleries that somehow don’t really resonate with me. Which is increasingly rare since I think about what I tried from them. None of the whiskies have been bad, most have been punching quite a bit above their weight, honestly.

They have quite a range of official bottlings which aren’t too prevalent in The Netherlands, again, as far as I know. On the other hand, I do know there are quite some single casks available from Cadenhead. I’ve tried some in Cadenhead, when international travel was still a thing. Cadenhead also brought some to Maltstock several years ago, which also helped.

And still, they’re not on my radar. My loss, I guess.

Somehow, I got my hands on this sample, but I don’t recall how. It might have been through RvB who is a big Cadenhead fanboy and somehow I see him buying a bottle of this.

With Paul John being a distillery in India, they have a massive Angel’s Share, which results in their whisky reaching maturity a lot faster than their Scottish contemporaries. This, at five years old, is more like a regular 12 or 15 year old Scotch whisky.

Image from Whiskybase

Dusty like an old library. Lots of barley, but quickly there’s some fruit in the mix. Old apples, but also more tropical stuff like pisang goreng, and maybe some mango.

Quite sharp, and very dry. Fruity, but also malty. Apple, barley, hints of vanilla, cork, oak. Lots going on.

The finish is very typical for Paul John. Not sure how that is, but all these Cadenhead’s ones are like this. Dry and malty, but also with some fruit, some oak. A bit of a burnt edge to it too.

It’s actually quite ridiculous how much maturity there is in a five year old whisky. It shows depth and quality. However, it sits in a bit of weirdly fruity direction that doesn’t really fit me. It’s a tad too sweet with malt sugar, banana and things like that.

So, in the end this is one of those whiskies that are of high quality, but not really in my preferred profile. Also, it’s no surprise with the high evaporation and costs to get the stuff to Europe, it’s not exactly cheap. Currently it clocks in at € 105 per bottle, but I guess it was a tad lower initially.


Paul John 5yo, Summer 2017, 57.4%, Cadenhead. Available at Cadenhead’s in Austria and Denmark.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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