I’m a sucker for a good finish and lately I’ve been poking around all the port finishes of my favorite whiskies. My last tasting note was for the 2013 Laphroaig Cairdeas, which I really enjoyed, and today I’ll be looking at a more common dram – Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban.
Curious how they chose that name? Me too.
I emailed Glenmorangie and Barbara Hirst, in the Visitor Centre, responded!
Quinta is what they call an estate in Portugal where the grape for the Port is grown. (Just like we would call a farm in Scotland a Croft) Ruban is a Gaelic word for ruby which is the ruby red colour of the whisky as it takes on the colour of the port wine that has been in the cask before we have used it.
I chose Quinta Ruban as my next note for a couple reasons. First, Glenmorangie is readily available in the United States and Quinta Ruban is a finish that I’d seen numerous times in the store. Next, they scored a Gold in the 2013 IWSC, which is just a notch under Gold Outstanding (top award). Ealanta and Nectar d’Or, two other finishes, also scored Gold in 2013.
How did it stack up? Tasty.
- Color: Reddish gold.
- Nose: Sweet but rich, hints of chocolate and oranges
- Palate: Toasted cereal, walnut, salted caramel, cherry, sweetness of brown sugar
- Finish: Lingers but not long, warm brown sugar, very mild chocolate bitterness/cocoa and some bite (spiciness) that disappears in an instant
Personally, I enjoy port quite a lot. There is, however, a reason why it’s typically served in tiny glasses. It’s very sweet, very warm and inviting, but it’s almost too sweet. Too much of it is just that – too much. It’s like ice wine, delicious as a change of pace, as a closer, but you don’t want to drink many glasses of it.
Of the various port expressions I’ve had, this one most strongly reminded me that I was enjoying a whisky finished in port. To be fair, Laphroaig Cairdeas starts with Laphroaig, which packs a powerful and distinct punch. Glenmorangie was good, but, like port, not something I could drink for an entire night (honestly, I don’t drink any scotch for an entire night anyway, I like to mix things up, but you get my meaning I hope) because the port influence melds so well with Glenmorangie that it almost amplifies it. I’ve, in a way, offered up whatever one would call the opposite of a backhanded compliment.
In terms of price, it costs $60 for 750ml here in Maryland, which isn’t expensive for a finish (especially port, go check out the cost of other port finishes and you’ll be stunned) but pricier than your average bottle of that age. By comparison, Glenmorangie The Original (a 10YO) is $38.
To summarize, it’s a good marriage of a fine scotch with one of my favorite finishes, without the heavy price tag.