I have mixed feelings about the seasonal onset of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but I welcome the annual release of Paul John’s Christmas Edition with open arms. For its 2021 iteration, the Indian distiller has aged its single malt whisky in ex-bourbon barrels before finishing the liquid in a blend of port and madeira casks. Christmas-y indeed.
The spirit pours a deep, dark bronze in the glass and carries aromas of vanilla, cream sherry, and stewed fruits on the nose. It’s creamy and substantial on the palate from the first sip, with flavors of raisins, berries, and something approximating bread soaked in red wine. Toasted coconut emerges as a surprise at the center, and is followed by marzipan and caramelized sugar as its feel on the palate grows thicker and creamier. As a send off, we’re treated to a pleasurable hit of peat smoke coupled to burnt sugar and cocoa powder.
As rich and creamy as an Eggnog but with far more depth (and none of the dairy), Paul John’s Christmas Edition is further boosted by its blend of dark, dessert wine flavors and a balanced hit of smoke that may conjure up a small fireplace no matter what your living situation. It’s something I hope to find under my own tree, good behavior willing.
— 46% ABV