Mr. Paul John, the visionary founder of John Distilleries Pvt. Ltd., has established an extraordinary reputation in the world of spirits. Since its inception in 1996, John Distilleries has grown into a global powerhouse, with its flagship brand, Original Choice, ranking among the world’s best-selling whiskies. The journey of Paul John Whisky began with the establishment of a malt plant in Goa in 2008, leading to the launch of Paul John Indian Single Malts in 2012. The brand’s diverse portfolio, numerous accolades, and innovative collaborations, such as the recent partnership with Bengaluru International Avolta Duty Free, underscore its commitment to excellence and innovation.

Can you share the story behind the inception of Paul John Whisky and how your passion for single malts inspired its creation?

I started my liquor company in 1992 and established John Distilleries Pvt. Ltd in 1996. Today the company’s flagship brand – Original Choice – is one of the largest selling whiskies in the world. Over the years I grew to enjoy single malts. As I travelled and visited distilleries, especially in Scotland it occurred to me that we in India, should be able to produce world-class quality whisky too. With in-depth research, we believed that our barley, water, and climate should be favourable, and eventually in 2008, the malt plant was set up in Goa. In 2012 we launched Paul John Indian Single Malts in the UK and it has been a great journey ever since. 

Michael John, Head Distiller, Paul John Whisky

Could you elaborate on the diverse portfolio of whiskies offered by Paul John, highlighting any unique characteristics or signature styles?

At Paul John, our whisky portfolio stands out due to the unique provenance of each expression, even though they all share the same fundamental ingredients: barley, yeast, and water. The distinctiveness of each whisky is shaped by the characteristics of the place where it is crafted, allowing time to reveal the typicity of the region.

As pioneers in the Indian Single Malt industry, we have consciously created our distinct narratives drawing from our provenance of vast Indian heritage. We had the foresight to build a range of expressions in our portfolio that cater to everyone from the curious to collectors and from the younger to the vintage generation. Our product range offers carefully curated experiences that engage and captivate our consumers in meaningful ways, providing something for everyone within the spectrum of whisky lovers.

What can you tell us about the limited releases or special editions within the Paul John range, and what sets them apart from your regular offerings?

The Christmas Edition series is our established annual limited edition and was launched with the Paul John Christmas Edition 2018. It was well appreciated across markets leading us to launch an edition with a limited number of bottles every year since. Now it has grown to be a much-awaited malt that is picked as a Collector’s Choice by whisky connoisseurs around the world. The Mars Orbiter had been one of our first limited edition releases and was greatly appreciated across markets. The Oloroso had also first been a limited edition as a Single Cask and was so greatly sought after that we later brought it out as a regular expression in our Select Cask range. 

We’ve seen Paul John Whisky collaborate with various entities in the past. Can you discuss any recent collaborations and their significance to the brand?

We have associated with various events and brands over the years including various premium clubs, outlets etc. from across cities.

Paul John Whisky has garnered numerous international awards. Could you share some insights into the recognition received and what it means for the brand reputation?

At present, we have won over 325 Awards for Paul John Indian Single Malts and 388 awards in total for John Distilleries across all categories of whiskies, gins, brandy and wines. The awards have brought us recognition and appreciation in the global world of single malts. 

Among the Paul John portfolio, do you have a personal favourite expression? What sets it apart for you?

I enjoy the Oloroso Select Cask tremendously and the Paul John Brilliance. I prefer fruity flavourful malts and these expressions are rich in flavour. Mithuna by Paul John is an all-time favourite as well.

What are the current plans for expansion and growth for Paul John Whisky, both domestically and internationally?

We are undergoing massive expansion in our distillery to continue fueling our growth. We have a robust product/ brand architecture and will continue to expand our product portfolio strategically. We need to nourish the portfolio and hence our expansion is more mindful. Beyond markets, we have made strong strides in the Indian Armed Forces, global travel retail and airlines.

Recently, there was a collaboration with Avolta Duty Free at Bangalore International Airport. Could you provide some details on this collaboration and its objectives?

In partnership with Avolta Duty Free we recently launched an exclusive single-cask release for global travelers at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru. This single cask single malt expression is bottled exclusively for global travel retail and is available at the T2 Duty-free. The cask is dedicated to the city of Bengaluru and the packaging has been thoughtfully designed, capturing the glorious spring blossoms of this famous Garden City. This release marks a significant milestone in the brand’s illustrious journey, epitomizing its commitment to excellence and innovation in the world of whisky.

Crafted in the tropical coast of Goa, India, this exotic single-cask Unpeated Madeira expression embodies the essence of Paul John Whisky’s artistry. Aromas of delightful Christmas cake, dry plum, and Manuka honey laced with a lively orange zest lead to a blend of rich flavours, from sweet vanilla and dark chocolate to a subtle tinge of dry resin, culminating in a bold and gratifyingly oaky finish.

With only 228 bottles, this non-age statement (NAS) single-cask release is priced at USD 300 per bottle.