Paul John Bold

Two years ago I reviewed Paul John Edited, a new single malt whisky from what was – to British shores at least – a new brand. And it was very nice. Since then, the Goa-based Paul John have become a much more established name, and have added many more whiskies to their stable. They’re even producing very interesting single cask releases, at a decent price. And they’re winning plenty of awards. It’s safe to say that they’re a serious contender on the world whisky stage.

I think by now the whole drinks world is very comfortable with the fact that good single malts can be produced outside of Scotland. Indeed with Amrut having lead the way in exporting quality Indian single malt, the likes of Paul John and now new brands such as Rampur, it’s impressive to see the rise of this particular location on the world whisky map.

Paul John Bold is one of this distillery’s peated expressions. It uses Indian barley, but the peat comes from Islay – and the barley is peated to around 25ppm, so quite heavy, but not outrageous. (Interestingly Paul John Edited was back in the day referred to as semi-peated, yet that was to 20-25ppm.) Anyway, if you’d like to know more about the distillery, read my previous review. Paul John Bold is bottled at 46% ABV and is available for around £40.

Paul John Bold Tasting Notes

Paul John bold

Colour: deep copper.

On the nose: an interesting mixture of fresh, tropical fruit notes and the sort of wonderful dirtiness you’d find in a Campbeltown whisky at first. Once it settles the fruit begins to dominate – mixed peel, candied fruit, and then later dried apricots. Mead. Lychee. Orange marmalade. Then that light smokiness – almost industrial note which contrasts very well. Excellent aromas.

In the mouth: this needs a little while in the glass before its proper character begins to come through. Plenty of honey and smoke, and some herbal edges too. Barley. Stewed apples. Dark chocolate. Tannic, pepper and tobacco finish. Not much complexity.


The taste was not as good as the nose seemed to suggest, and the depth in delivery wasn’t quite there for me. I much preferred Paul John Edited, although I will be very interested to try more from their range as the spirit itself is clearly very good.

Paul John Bold has won plenty of accolades, but I – and this is a subjective game after all – wasn’t altogether feeling the same buzz. I couldn’t get excited about it. That is merely my opinion. A sample was sent over to me for review, but as ever I must remain totally honest and not tip-toe around the issue to please others. And as ever, it’s you, the reader, who’s most important.


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