Photo via twitter.com
When you’re writing a blog about scotch and come across a 4-pack of 100ml bottles each with a different whisky from a distiller known for experimenting with different cask finishes, you have to pick it up. The first pull from that Glenmorangie (pronounced “Glen-more-un-gee”) 4-pack was the Quinta Ruban 14 year Port Cask Finish. Starting with the standard American Oak Bourbon barrels, the whisky is aged for 10 years, then it is moved to special Ruby Port casks for the final 4 years. There used to be a 12-yr old version of the Quinta Ruban (10 in oak, 2 in port), but now they age it an additional 2 years in the Port casks to increase the notes that the wine barrels infuse. This specific malt has won multiple awards in 2019 and 2020, and has been generally reviewed as an improvement on the 12 year version. The most unique feature is the color of this whisky. While falling close to the standard Auburn color on the MacLeon Whisky Color Chart, there’s also quite a striking red tint that comes from the time in the Port casks that makes it quite distinct compared to other single-malts.
Preparation: As with all scotches, the smell and first sip are “neat”; meaning no ice, water or any other mixer, just the whisky on its own. After that I added a little bit of water for subsequent sips, and finally to get the entire range of flavors, I added ice in the last few sips.
Smell: There’s a distinct fruit tartness to the smell that is complemented well by notes of sweet sugar and oak. The tart fruit mostly overpowered the other notes on the first sniff, but follow ups reveal the sweetness and oak.
Palate: The first sip you definitely get a more floral taste, followed by the tartness of the fruit. Adding a little bit of water really cuts down on some of the harshness of the burn on the 46% ABV and allows you to enjoy the floral notes more, as well as reveal the undertones of fruits like orange and cherry. The body is a little thick, not too syrupy but falling in the medium rang
Finish: Without water the finish can leave a bit of burn, but with water it’s more of a tingle on the tongue rather than a burn. It’s not a very long finish, the tingling stays for a bit, but the flavors dissipate pretty quickly. You still get some of the floral and tart fruit notes, but again they do not last too long.
With Ice: The ice takes away all the burn and really all the finish of this scotch. It also severely drowns out the tart fruit and sweetness, really only leaving an oak flavor. I would not recommend adding ice as your basically taking away all the uniqueness of finishing the aging process of this malt in the Port casks.
Overall: I’m not usually one for the floral and lighter side of scotch, but this uniquely finished single malt is growing on me. I did like that the finish wasn’t too long and would blend well with a meal without overpowering the flavors of what you are eating. I’m also not much of a red wine drinker (though I’m working on it), but I have a feeling if you enjoy a good raspberry or blackberry red dessert wine, this will be near the top of your list of whiskies to try.
Cask: American Oak/Port
Age: 14 years