Paul John Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (57.4%): Now this is a whisky I was wanting to sample for quite a long time... A very limited seven year old single cask bottling from Paul John which was released earlier this year. The whisky spent its first three years in ex-bourbon casks before it has been transferred into a single Oloroso sherry butt which was used as a solera cask for 55 years in its earlier life for another four years. At the end the cask yielded only 252 bottles loosing almost its half of the volume and distributed in very limited quantities worldwide. I have been told that the sample I received is taken from the cask a few months before it got bottled though.
Color: Dark amber, red copper.
Nose: Zante currants, prunes, beeswax and dates. Olive oil fruit cake and diner style banana cream pie. Dusty, old and leathery... Kiln dried malted barley, roasted hazelnuts and roasted sunflower seeds. Vanilla extract, overripe baby bananas, dried mango and barrel aged maple syrup. Nutmeg, crystallized ginger, Nutella spread and candied orange peel. This is quite a nose... Layered, sweet, fruity, nutty and spicy. One can easily spend another hour nosing it. It gets better and better. Adding water releases some alcohol first but after allowing it to air we get more roasted nuts and roasted malt.
Palate: A little hot and tart first... Passion fruit, malt vinegar and carrot cake. Oily and thick... With water it gets easier to drink and we also don't loose too much of the sourness which I liked a lot. Geuze beer, dried cranberries and pipe tobacco. Damson plums. And of course my brain comes up with Slivovitz notes as soon as I think of damson plums... Dried mango slices again but spiced this time. Dried strawberries, plantain chips, unsweetened grape juice and dry sherry.
Finish: Long, sweet and sour. Dry sherry again, fresh and tart berries, underripe figs and red pepper flakes.
Overall: Hands down, amazing whisky... You can spend hours and hours with all the layers of goodness both on the nose and on the palate. It was almost impossible to keep up with the aromas and flavors popping up one after another while I was trying to scribble down the notes. It's like watching a rapid slide show of images of references and memories. I know that it carries a pretty steep price tag but if you ever decide to blow $200 on a bottle of whisky you should consider yourself damn lucky if you can score something half as good as this. Looking forward for new limited releases from Paul John... Congrats... Thanks again to Ajay Bhoja and Paul John for the official sample.