India's Paul John stepped up a notch again with a stellar single malt in 2021, Mithuna. I received two sample bottles (50ml) earlier this year, and I need to tell you that I enjoyed them. This is an unpeated, not-chill-filtered single whisky. It is matured in virgin American oak (the way folks following the Scotch model say “new”) and finished in ex-bourbon casks, before bottling at 58% ABV (116 proof).
John Distilleries was founded in 1996, and presently boasts sales of more than 15 million cases, John Distilleries is also the manufacturer of the world's sixth-largest whisky brand (if you count Indian whisky as true whisky, and many do not), Original Choice Whisky. Paul John, a single malt whisky from John Distilleries. Its other major brands include Bangalore Malt, Black Pelican Fine Whisky, Mont Castle French Grape Brandy and Big Banyan Wines. Sazerac, the second-largest family-owned spirits company in the US, has made a significant investment in John Distilleries.
John Distilleries uses six row barley sourced from across the lands of Rajasthan and Haryana to the foothills of Himalayas. Because of the high fiber and protein content, the six row barley offers a distinct and bold depth of character to the whiskey. The more proteins and tannins in the barley the more of fatty acids that add to a whiskey's character.
Because of the higher husk content, the barley produces an oilier wash which translates to an oilier, richer whiskey. To make the most of that, all Paul John malts go unfiltered.
It's the second whisky in Paul John's Zodiac series, Mithuna being the Indian equivalent of Gemini. (The first, called Kanya, which is Indian equivalent of Virgo) The whisky carries no age statement; however, the distillery states it is at least five years old.
The whisky is a mild oak colored oily liquid rolling in my glass. The nose is full of fresh grainy malt with tropical fruit overtones dancing within my senses.
The front and mid-palate are warm and malty, filled with fresh cut tropical fruits reminding me of pineapple, passion fruit and mature oak. The mouthfeel is oily and viscus with hints of citrus peels and exotic candy. The finish is long and complex with multi-levels of fruit sugars, notes of sugared apple sprinkles, vanilla and subtle honey oak wood essence. The afterglow in my glass is an oak bomb which is impressive for a five year old whiskey. This is an enjoyable bold complex whiskey which really surprised me.
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