Paul John Xmas 2020 46% ABV.

paul john xmas 2020

Over in Goa, Paul John has made what might just be the ultimate post-Christmas dinner dram — it’s the Paul John 2020 Christmas Edition! This lightly peated Indian single malt has been matured in a trio of first-fill casks, with bourbon, American virgin oak and Oloroso casks all making an appearance.

Master of Malt


Mid gold in colour, and it has a super syrupy swirl line that drops very thick slow legs.


I’m lead in with vanilla ice cream, milky coffee, milk chocolate, raisins, and an earthiness, they mix together rather nicely. Wood polish and bourbon biscuits arrive next. Apricots and orange zest bring lovely fruity notes, and the Virgin oak offers up spiciness, oak and black pepper.

More time and the peat starts to build and become recognisable, and for me the dark fruits really come forward, and they are quite sweet. Then the peat, which is giving slightly medicinal aromas, cloaks everything, time to taste.


The mouthfeel is ok, neither oily or watery, and instantly the palate is spicy and Smokey. The three casks have come together to create a nice spicy dram, the balance is very nice, you can taste all three. Even though this whisky is described as lightly peated, you don’t have to go looking for it. The meatiness and slightly medicinal notes are easily found.

With time this dram becomes a spicy Black Forest gateau/Christmas pudding/mince pies. There’s plenty of dark fruits here, it’s still nice and spicy too. Molasses is here, ginger nuts, cinnamon, and cardamom. It’s also pushing towards aniseed and cough candy.


The finish is quite long, even at 46% ABV the strength takes a good time to die down. My palate stays spicy all the way through, and dunnage, cigar leaves and now green grapes finish it off. Right at the end there is some drying, but it’s minimal I’d say.

My thoughts

Iv’e only tried a couple of whiskies from Paul John in India, one being a bottle of their Brilliance single malt. So far iv’e enjoyed what iv’e tried, and even though this sample has been in my drawer for some time, i have really been looking forward to trying it.

Yes it’s definitely a Christmas whisky, the three cask types involved have been used well to craft a spicy and dark fruit rich whisky. The ex bourbon cask element has also provided some punch, and it’s all come together to make a cold autumn or winters evening warming dram. I have to say it has lots going on and is full of character. This bottle is still available, and comes in at around £55 +, it is a lot of flavour for the money, and yes please i’d have one for my whisky cupboard.

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