Quinta Ruban is the port finished variant in the Glenmorangie core range. For this lovely pink-hued l’il honey, Dr. Bill Lumsden and co. have taken their 10 year old Glenmorangie and re-casked it into port pipes for a couple extra years. This additional step serves to knock back some of the creamy vanilla and orange notes a step or two and brings forth a rather bold, albeit very ‘manufactured’, fruitiness.
As always, the big question with whiskies like this is whether or not the extra maturation actually enhances the drink or if well enough should have been left alone. I’m a bit of a purist at heart, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have 1) an insatiable sense of curiosity and 2) an open mind if it actually works. In point of fact Quinta Ruban does work if you like bold sweetness. It’s a well put together dram with a fairly singular profile. Having said that…it really doesn’t work for me.
I can’t help but think that maybe 6 months or so is really all that is needed to sweeten this up a tick instead of letting it stew for two full cycles ’round the sun. Glenmorangie, in its more naked state, is a light and pure whisky, owing much to the incredible degree of reflux in their towering stills, so why weigh it down with the heavy cloakings of fortified wine? Six months would have been an enhancement, much like a simple diamond necklace against the throat of a beautiful woman. Two years is more like the gaudy tonnage of gold rope chains ’round the neck of Mr. T. Hope this makes some sort of sense. Elegance through restraint.
I concede it’s always fun to try the variants, but at the end of the day…I’ll take the Glenmorangie Original 10 y.o. over this bad boy any day of the week. Quinta Ruban gets passing grades, but not a lot more.
Nose: Cinnamon. Jam or jelly, sugared fruit notes. Orange…maybe blood orange. Shortbread. Passion fruit with lemon. Almost a cotton candy note in here. Very fruity, but in a synthetic fruit kinda way. Danishes with jammy fruit filling. Butter cream. Maybe raspberry coulis. Some florals as well.
Palate: Not as overtly pleasant as the nose, but quite alright. Very sweet, but it dries out the inner cheeks and back of the tongue in relatively short order. Quite wine rich. Kinda plummy. A touch of ginger.
Thoughts: All in all, a little too sweet for my liking, but that doesn’t mean a bad dram. Contrarily, it’s nice enough and would likely be a good gateway drink between the world of wines and the world of spirits. Ultimately though – if you’re considering a bottle from the extra-matured Glenmorangie range – stick with the Nectar D’Or.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I tried this about a year ago or so. I actually liked it enough to recommend to my uncle who was in the states and he brought back a bottle for himself (which meant I got to have it when I came over. I would put it on par with the likes of the Forty Creek portwood reserve.
Trouble is, I’ve tried the Amrut Portonova, which, at cask strength, in terms of flavour, blows this one out of the water.
They say once you have champagne you won’t go back to beer. Maybe not true, but I would never put those two head to head (the two whiskies or beer and champagne)…
I didn’t like this one at all. To me it was like they had the perfume side of the company create “Essence of Port” in the lab and added it to perfectly good 10 YO. After having had bottles of all four basic versions (10, LaSanta, Nectar d’Or and this), I’ve decided to stick with the 10, which is a good quality lighter malt and only costs $27 BT. However, I have found the 18 for $70 and will give it a try.
I’m not a big fan of port finishes (Quinta Ruban, Balvenie Portwood 21, Bushmill’s 16) because it usually seems to become a case of “port dominance”, leaving very little of the base spirit’s character to be found instead of just providing an accent to it – almost to the point of making a flavoured whisky instead of a finished one. That said, port finishes are extreme enough to probably provide someone’s favourite whisky, but I think other finishes have much wider appeal.