Having recently tried the Amrut Rajigala, I was scouting for an almost equivalent expression by the next big Indian Distillery that had made itself a name – Paul John. Enter Nirvana; a bit of a rarity this one is, knowing that once I moved it to my cart and went through with the purchase, there was no further availability on Nick’s anymore (this too after scourging the local liquor shops and Dan’s for a glimpse).
Nirvana is Paul John’s answer to an entry level single malt, introduced in 2019. The expression is made from six row barley, which is typical of most Indian distilleries when selecting their grain. Unpeated, the spirit is aged in a combination of second and third fill ex-bourbon American barrels, and matured for a minimum of three years. It is possibly Paul John’s only release that is chill filtered, but keeps with the distilleries’ natural colour approach. The expression upholds the traditional Paul John contour and shapes but deviates in clothing, adorning orange hues, both with boxing and bottle. The box reverberates a very Indian feel with illustrations of farmlands, valleys and the mountains along with portrayals of backwaters and mahouts. The centre of the box adorns the distilleries’ muse and is a token of their Indian heritage – the Indian Elephant.
Abv : 40%
Eye : Yellow Gold, Natural Colouring | Chill Filtered
Nose : Honey and vanilla with a damp, earthy undertone. Corn syrup, bread and pecan nuts infused with cantaloupe and charred wood; spicy and floral notes married with a whiff of raisins.
Taste : Sweetness emanating from cantaloupe and vanilla with a drizzle of honey are accompanied by hints of brine and warm earthy nuances. Some licorice and traces of fermented grain show themselves off along with a pinch of white pepper and oak.
Finish : Honey dew and charred wood with vanilla and warm, mild spiced notes | Medium
Coming at a lowered ABV compared to its peers (40 vs 46% and higher), the Nirvana is tropical and sweet, showing restraint inspite of being amateurish and young. Though quite heavy on the cantaloupe and honey dew nuances, it wasn’t overly sweet, exhibiting good breadth for an entry level whisky. What it did lack however was depth, with little to show in the spice department.
At AUD $69, it’s not too expensive for an Indian whisky and delivers more punch and VFM than most entry level expressions from other distilleries. Though not a must try, it is one I wouldn’t mind giving a shot if the opportunity should present itself. I see this one better suited as an all-rounder – plain as is, or in a high-ball or as a cocktail mixer.