Brews & Spirits

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‘Alter’ing the whiskey realm

‘Alter’ing the whiskey realm ‘Alter’ explores the duality of whiskey by utilising the same ingredients and distillery, but with very different maturing processes, culminating in two unique taste profiles.

Paul John presents second single-cask special edition, created exclusively for members of the Single Malt Amateurs Club

On 15th October, the Single Malt Amateurs Club (SMAC), India’s foremost whiskey appreciation club, in association with Paul John Distilleries, released the first of two club-exclusive whiskey expressions, ‘Alter’ and ‘Ego’.

‘Alter-Ego’ was inspired by the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, created by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, and focused on showcasing the many facets of a single malt whiskey.

Drastically diverse flavours resulting from the same ingredients, production methods and distillery is a concept relatively unknown in India. The launch was held during SMAC’s annual pilgrimage to the Paul John Visitor’s Center, complemented by a tour of the distillery and culminating in a gala. The launch was an experiential process, rather than an event.

‘Alter’, the first of the duet, consists of a rich, amber-hued, peated Sherry whiskey, matured for 6 years and complemented with a finish in an ex-Madeira cask. Further enunciating the dyadic nature of the set, the designs evoke two sides of the same coin.

This release explores the duality of whiskey by utilising the same ingredients and distillery, but with very different maturing processes, to bring two unique taste profiles to market.

According to Hemanth Rao, Founder of SMAC, “Cask 6028 was our first exclusive bottling with Paul John, and it offered members of SMAC a peated whiskey with a lovely rim of sea salt. It was a great hit, and we are delighted to work with John Distilleries for yet another special, limited-edition single malt.”

‘Alter’ (Cask 14366) is characterised by distinctive notes of Sherry nuanced with the Madeira cask. The whiskey interlaces tropical dry fruits of raisins, dates and figs. The palate shines through with medicinal peat and iodine finishing with a natural coastal salt rim and sweets.

Bottled in 750 ml at 50% ABV, there are only 276 units of the non-chill filtered ‘Alter’, priced at Rs 10,000 for SMAC members.

Michael D’Souza, Master Distiller at John Distilleries, said of the new launch: “Alter’ is one of those rare magical whiskies that are not just about tasting notes but the shape, depth and overall experience it offers. It has to be said that this is pretty close as good as it gets!”

Responsible for persuading critics the world over that Indian whiskey is here to stay, John Distilleries’ flagship single malt won international acclaim and awards, and making its mark on the Western-centric world of whiskey.

Made in the tropical climate of Goa, Paul John single malts have been awarded the Liquid Gold Award by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible; Best Indian Single Malt Award and Best Asian Whisky Award; the Double Gold Award from San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and the Chairman’s Trophy by the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

Established in 2011, SMAC is a platform for amateurs, professionals and connoisseurs to share experiences and their passion for single malt whiskey. The club has been in the forefront of the whiskey appreciation movement in India, bringing new vigour and popularity to the liquor and taking Indian whiskey to newer heights.

With over 4,000 registered members across the globe, SMAC curates whiskey tours, tasting sessions, master classes, and produces exclusive bottling, merchandise and glassware. For more information visit