Scotch Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

30 Mar 2010

Original Blogger tags: Rated 8, Scotch Whisky, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

The Quinta Ruban is an “expression” of Glenmorangie, given a little extra aging in casks that formerly held ruby port.

In the glass, the color is a little ruddy, a little tawny — a bit darker red and brown than the standard Glenmorangie 12. The legs are short and it has a slightly waxy appearance.

The nose suggests immediately that this is an after-dinner drink: the usual Glenmorangie vanilla sandwich cookie and candied orange peel aromas are supplemented by a very rich blast of port wine smells, redolent of dark chocolate and peppermint, and a little bit of smooth tobacco smoke to cut the sweetness. There are a few other notes: cinnamon, candied fruits, and dark rum. A reviewer notes “maraschino cherries” and I think that flavor description is definitely applicable.

On the tongue, the texture is tannic and dry. There’s an immediate hit of something tart, like green apple, and as the fruits roll through and the malt and chocolate notes linger the, subtle smokiness hangs on, so that the long finish is bittersweet chocolate and dark, almost bitter, burnt toast, yielding a net effect something like having just sucked up the last strawful of a hot fudge malt milkshake and following up the milkshake with a cigarette. (Yes, if you hadn’t guessed, I’d advocate drinking this as a dessert drink, although I don’t find that sweetness to be overly cloying.) That slight oily/waxy quality also lingers, and is not entirely pleasant, but it isn’t a deal-breaker by any means.

Overall, this whisky gets extra points for the very well-balanced blend of bourbon oak and ruby port oak flavors. The flavors seem slightly muted, and it pales a little bit in comparison to The Balvenie PortWood 21, but those dark chocolate and malt flavors together are really delicious, and at $40-$50 it costs a fraction of what the PortWood 21 costs. It would be a good introduction to the “extra matured” expressions; if you have the Original (12 year), the Quinta Ruban (Port), the Nectar D’or (Sauternes), and the La Santa (Sherry), even in sample size, you’ve pretty much got the material for a nice little tasting party all centered around one distillery.

I give this one an 8.0. Maybe at some point I’ll get to taste the 18 and 25!

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