I must admit the idea of port-matured whisky weirds me out a little. There’s something about bourbon, sherry and even rum casks that just feels “right”… But dark, strong red wine mingling with my precious whisky? Seems destined for flavour overkill. The Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban laughs in the face of my concerns and sets sail for Portugal.
The Quinta Ruban sits in the middle of Glenmorangie’s core “wood finished” range. Like the others, they’ve taken the exceptional Original 10 YO and aged it for a further 2 years, bringing the total age statement up to 12 and scooping up awards left, right and centre. Only one way to find out if the excellent Scotch in the Quinta Ruban survived the swim in those potent Portuguese casks:
Side note: I wish Glenmorangie would stop colouring their whisky. In the case of the Quinta Ruban, it’s got a deep, beautiful ruby red which presumably can’t be accounted for in E150a alone – so I assume this is evidence of those casks doing their work. But there’s no way to be sure unless they state it on the bottle!
Here we go. The red wine arrives immediately, and as suspected it dominates. Sigh. Powering through you get plenty of sweet fruit – plums, berries, and some of the Original 10 YO’s lemony citrus. Some nutty marzipan going on there as well and a whiff of toasty oak in the back.
Okay, surprising – it actually tastes far less intense than the aroma would indicate… The port is abundant, but not overpowering. Unfortunately, in other ways the tastes and smells line up quite directly – and I must admit there’s something a little nauseating about a combination of rich red fruit, citrus, wine and classic whisky vanilla and oak. And just like the Lasanta I reviewed last week it feels poorly integrated, a layer of port slapped on top of good whisky.
Long, and actually pretty pleasant once the port has died down. Fruity, a little bitter, and at 46% quite an enjoyable zing on the tongue.
A few spoons of water forces the wine to recede and makes it significantly more pleasant on the nose, but there’s no removing the feeling that there are too many contrasting flavours here that aren’t playing nicely.
At this stage, I must admit it’s hard to tell whether my aversion to the Lasanta and Quinta Ruban is due to my sheer love of the Original 10 YO, which they consistently seem to be ruining. I enjoy winey-matured whiskies, but both of the Glenmorangie finishes seem to fall far, far short.
The Quinta Ruban (like it’s sherried brother) tastes artificial and unbalanced. But this time at an even greater price premium. Ouch.