I was introduced to the Indian single malts by Paul John Whisky, at a whisky paired dinner at Smoke House Deli, Connaught Place, recently (read about it here). Hence, I wanted to visit their distillery on my recent trip to South Goa (read more about my Goa trip here). Read on to know why a Whisky Tasting and Tour should be on your next Goa itinerary.
PAUL JOHN WHISKY:
The proprietor of John Distilleries, Mr. Paul John, felt the Indian market was ripe to produce its own single malt. Under the able guidance of Master Distiller Michael Dsouza, the whiskies began retailing in 2012 in the United Kingdom, and on the Indian market in 2016.
This range of single malt whiskies offers something truly unique- a distinctly Indian flavor. By using indigenous barley, water and yeast, they serve an Indian palate. They offer variants to appeal to numerous tastes, and preferences in strength. The whiskies are at par with their international competitors in taste, packaging and price.
Pictures courtesy: Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
PAUL JOHN DISTILLERY, GOA:
To cash in on the success of the whiskies, John Distilleries is now opening its doors to tourists and connoisseurs alike. From the end of January 2019, the distillery will offer whisky tastings and tours, by knowledgeable guides. (All details at the end of the post).
I was invited for a sneak peek before the official launch of the whisky tours. Pankaj Poovanna, the Manager of the Visitor Center at the distillery, gave us an in-depth tour. His polite and charming manner, coupled with his thorough knowledge of the entire procedure, ensured a memorable experience.
The distillery has a distinctly Goan setting, decorated with colourful paintings by local artist Bianca. A café, a merchandise store and other attractions opening soon, are going to make the distillery a fun family/ large group destination.
The distillery. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
The Tasting Room. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
THE WHISKEY TOUR AND TASTING:
After greeting us warmly, Pankaj led us to the sleek Presentation Room. We watched a short film on the origins and philosophy of Paul John Whisky. Pankaj readily shared his insightful knowledge of whisky and how it’s made.
We then made our way to the distillery, which employs the same kind of machinery as Scottish distilleries. We learned the six-pronged procedure to make whisky- milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing and tasting. We also learned fun facts, about the use of oak barrels originally used to distill whisky in America; and the story of the angels share, which is the amount of alcohol lost to evaporation.
Our tour culminated in the well-designed Tasting Room. Five whiskies are included in the Tasting, three Flagships available across India, and two Select Casks sold only in Goa. The Flagships include the smooth Brilliance, the peaty Edited and the smoky Bold. The Select Casks are premium whiskies, priced on the higher side. As a special perk, we also tried the Christmas edition whisky, which had a distinct sweetness to its strong flavor. The distillery follows the Jim Murray (of Whisky Bible fame) method of tasting.
The Presentation Room. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE PAUL JOHN DISTILLERY:
The distillery is a wonderful attraction for whisky lovers, as it provides a distinctly Scottish experience in India. It’s the only distillery in India that offers a tour and tasting of this kind. It also makes a nice excursion if you’re staying in South Goa. Once all the amenities are in place, it’ll cater to families as well. Most of all, I recommend a visit to the distillery to support our homegrown industries, while enjoying ourselves in the process!
INFORMATION ABOUT THE DISTILLERY:
Address: Paul John Visitor Centre, John Distilleries,
Plot #M21A, Cuncolim Industrial Estate, Salcete, Goa, 403703
(Location available on Google Maps)
Cost: Tours at INR 350 per person.
Tours and Tastings of flagship whiskies INR 650
Tour and Tasting of all five whiskies for INR 1000
Days: Monday- Saturday (Sundays and Public Holidays closed)
Timings: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Contact Number of Visitor Center: +91-74477 88979
*All pictures, unless specified, are taken on my phone. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla. Featured image courtesy Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre
**I was invited for a tour and tasting by the Paul John team, but this is not a sponsored post. All thoughts are my own.