Review : Paul John Bold

Even with summer dawning to a close, the heat has been stubbornly holding on to the late 30s. Hot and  bored after a fair share of channel surfing, I plopped myself onto the couch positioned well below the aircon vent with a glass topped just enough for me to sip and spawn yet another review – this one being Paul John’s Bold! The Bold is one of three expressions from the distilleries’ flagship range – the Brilliance being unpeated, the Edited mildly and the Bold being the peat head of the lot.

The Bold uses six row barley that is sourced indigenously, typical amongst most indian and a few american distilleries but distinct from the more popular 2 row barley.  The barley is dried from heat dervied from firing up peat, and gets influenced from the dried, decayed vegetal matter, lending it a respectable 25 pppm; the peat itself is sourced from abroad, none other than from Peat Mecca, Islay!

The wort post fermentation is first distilled in the distilleries’ bell shaped wash still following which the contents are relayed over to the onion shaped spirit still before being matured exclusively in casks that previously held bourbon. The copper pot stills here were custom made for the distillery, built with long necks with the intention of achieving a fruitier character. Although there isn’t an age attached to the expression, the warmer temperatures act as a catalyst, accelerating age and hence flavour, colour and character to the whisky. 

ABV : 46%

Eye : Natural Colour, Non Chill Filtered

Nose : Brine and caramel, leather, ash and white pepper; honey yet nutty with notes of charred honey dew and faint hints of hay and ginger interleaved with moist earthy nuances.

Taste : The sweetness of caramel is at first cut by kosher salt, savoury and peaty notes. Brine with a bit of astringency, a pinch of pepper and cinnamon. Woody and earthy with the sweetness of tropical fruits and char.

Finish : Peat and char with a subtle yet comfortable sweetness of caramel

The Bold is a well peated malt, delivering more than what I had initially expected, yet balanced and restrained. It has all the floral, lighter charachters of the Paul John with earthy, peaty influences and the exclusive exbourbon maturation, reminding me of a younger, less dominant Laphroaig.

So is the Bold BOLD? Well, if you like peat in copious amounts, then this one doesn’t quite fit the bill. This expression is not overly complex but still upholds the name with a good dollop of peat interleaved with the sweetness of caramel and some spice. So, not as much punch as the Neidhal (a great dram as well) but still robust, eventful and entertaining – the Bold is gooood!



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