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Paul John Brilliance Impressions

Original photo provided by Tim Grant and used with permission.

What is it?

Distillery: Paul John
Name: Brilliance
Make: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Extra Info: The Paul John distillery is situated in Goa, on the west coast of India. A popular tourist location with temperatures ranging from an average of 25°C in winter to an average of 30°C in summer. Pair this with a tropical monsoon climate at you have all the makings for rapidly ageing (and evaporating) whisky. Paul John tries to slow this process by ageing their whisky in underground temperature-controlled bond stores, but don't expect to India whisky boasting of double-figure age statements like those of Scotch; similarly to Taiwan and Australia, whisky just ages and is lost to the "Angel's Share" much faster in these climates.

Why did I buy it?

I didn't. This is a review of a sample bottle kindly provided by Paul John. I usually only review full-size bottles since I can take my time and drink as much as I need to finalise my impressions. That is more difficult to do with a sample bottle, but I have done my best.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Paul John whisky has an unusually uniform design language across their entire range. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish between expressions from a distance, since the label differences are very subtle and the colour of the whisky look very similar. Bottled at 46% ABV.

Appearance: All the whisky in the Paul John range looks the same golden hue to me, but Paul John proudly claim their whisky contains no artificial colouring and are non-chill filtered. I can only assume that some form of distillery wizardry must take place to achieve such a consistent colour across the range.

Aroma: Pleasantly oaky, citrus notes and vanilla cream sponge cake.

Flavour: Tingling spices on the tongue, saliva-inducing dry with fennel and pepper.

Finish: Medium length, fading spice with a bitter aftertaste.

Would I buy it again?

If I had tried it in isolation, Yes; but I tried it alongside other expressions from Paul John and to be honest, Brilliance wasn't my favourite. Paul John Brilliance is a perfectly fine example of Indian single malt and I bet if you haven't tried Indian whisky before, it tastes better than you would expect. In fact, Brilliance was awarded 'Best Overseas Whisky' at the 2017 Òran Mór Whisky Awards in Scotland. But in my opinion, Brilliance is the tamest of the Paul John whisky range and is not the one I will be coming back to.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.


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