Sip Some Single Malt At India's First-Ever Visitor Centre & Distillery Tour In Goa
When in Goa next, may we suggest a tour of the legendary Paul John distillery in South Goa? In the sleepy village of Cuncolim, this distillery and India’s only Visitor Centre makes for a whisky-filled afternoon of learning, discovering and understanding everything that goes into that bottle of premium Indian malt whisky.
What Makes It Awesome
Even if you’re well-versed with Goan roads, allow Google Maps to guide you in your search for the Paul John Visitor Centre. Once you’re close, there’s not chance you’ll miss the building. The mango yellow facade, the artworks that remind you of Mario Miranda and all the restored furniture collected from Goan homes evoke a charm that’s peculiar to the sunshine state. While the distillery itself is massive and industrial, with its unique copper pot stills, the warehouse is all woody and rustic with tall towers holding about 4,000 plus oak barrels (here’s where all the whisky is patiently aged for years). Through different stages of the tour, you’re greeted with aromas, some familiar and some intriguing; making this one a beautifully heady experience.
From the moment you enter, there’s a sense of grandeur that takes over. Beginning with a short film that prepares you for Paul John’s journey into the finest single malts, the tour only gets better from here. For the uninitiated, the expert gives a lowdown on what qualifies as pure whisky to what differentiates a single malt from a blended scotch. Mind you, some facts will be surprising. We, for instance, learnt that we kept drinking as whisky, back home is actually not even whisky, but flavoured rum (whisky’s made from grains while rum is from molasses). Sigh…
After this introduction, the walkthrough begins, laced with some interesting anecdotes and insights. Right from what barley is used to the milling process, distillation and storing, you witness everything. At some point, you’ll find yourself standing by the whisky safe where spirits that make the cut are separated from those that don’t and be prepared, you might be treated to a potent potion here. All the clear spirit is then left in specially imported white oak barrels that lend it that warm, woody flavour and the characteristic golden brown colour. This space itself is a sight to behold.
The precision that goes into every step should remind that there’s a reason Paul John Whisky has garnered so much love, including 200 internationally-acclaimed awards! And now, after all that science, it’s only fitting that you get to taste some of Paul John’s unique expressions. If you’re a true connoisseur, you’ll love the tour and tasting of family expressions where you get to try 5 variants: Brilliance, Edited, Bold, Peated and Select Casks Classic. This is priced at INR 1,000. You also have the option of tasting 3 expressions instead for INR 650 and if you’re pressed for time and would rather see how all that single malt is made, the tour is only INR 350. A steal, right?
The visitor centre will soon stock up all your favourite single malts to take back home. We hear there’s also a cafe in the pipeline.
The space is open Monday-Saturday between 11am and 4pm.