Paul John Mars Orbiter Single Malt Whisky (Peated)

Published by Jeannette Wentzel, Whisky Of The Week, South Africa on 29-Apr-2019.

During this last year or two, this whisky brand from India has taken SA by storm. From being an unknown, to being stocked in all the good liquor stores, the Paul John whisky is the one people want to try.

The Paul John Classic Select Cask was one of the best drams I tasted during 2018. I have tasted most of the expressions available in SA and love them all. Michael D’Souza, the Master Distiller has impeccable taste.

Every now and again, the John Distillery also brings out limited releases such as their Christmas 2018 release and Kanya. Thanks to Valotone, a few of these bottles make it to SA for enthusiasts and I can stock up.

During March, there was a Paul John whisky dinner that I was invited to, but due to family commitments could not attend. I was very sad to miss out on tasting more, but Brett from Valotone saved me the last bit of the Paul John Mars Orbiter Whisky and I got a wonderful surprise when the sample arrived at my office.

The Paul John Mars Orbiter Peated is a limited edition single malt which celebrates the successful launch of the India’s first interplanetary mission. An Indian space probe to Mars, that has also provided observations on Phobos, the Martian moon.

The Mars Orbiter has been orbiting Mars since September 2014 and has sent back amazing pictures of never before seen areas of Mars. It designed mission life
was only 6 months, but Orbiter has been circling Mars for 4 years and is still in good health. What an amazing achievement.

The John Distillery produced only 330 bottles of the Paul John Mars Orbiter Whisky in celebration. So it is very limited edition. This golden liquid was drawn in the same month that Orbiter was launched. I have a sample from bottle no: 278.

Review and tasting notes Paul John Mars Orbiter Whisky (Peated)

Paul John Mars Orbiter

ABV: 57.8%

: Aged Red copper

NOSE: Bit of alcohol heat. It needs to breath a bit. Then comes soft peat, fruity sweetness, maple syrup, bits of burnt wood and vanilla. Second sniff brings floral notes. The nose is soft and elegant.

PALATE: Peat and ash mixed with fruity sweetness, pepper and nutmeg spice. Woody notes balanced with bits of dark chocolate covered oranges and hints of salt. The peat perfectly balanced with the sweeter fruit notes. But it is not a fishy type of peat like Lagavulin or Laphroaig. It is a more woody type of peat.

A bit of alcohol heat but add water carefully. Despite the high ABV, just a few drops of water is needed to bring down the heat and bring more sweetness to the front.

FINISH: The finish is like a smoky campfire next door. You can smell the wood burning in the air, but it not overwhelming. Ends on notes of sweetness and peat with bits of pepper.


What a special bottling. A fitting release for a special achievement. From the luxurious red box with the gold lettering to the stylish bottle, it is obvious that attention to detail went into every step. Even the bottle top; it feels like it is solid gold, it is heavy and grand.

The whisky and the drinking experience is unique and a celebration. If you are looking for a release with a special story, this is a collector’s item worth having. From what I have heard, the few bottles that did make it to SA got snatched up rather quickly. As I am writing this, only 2 bottles remain in retail.

If you are lucky enough to travel via Bangalore, you might also spot a bottle or 2.

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