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Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Ruban, Ruban, I've Been Thinking...

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

22nd Apr 2014

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    85

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Quinta Ruban replaced the Port Wood Finish in the Glenmorangie lineup back in 2007. Reportedly, this is a NAS version of the same thing. (It’s a 12 yo nonetheless: ten years in American bourbon casks and two years in port pipes.) Never having tasted the Port Wood (because slamming a shot of JD was my idea of whisky drinking back in ’07), I can’t compare. I can’t even compare this whisky to itself, in fact. Six drams into a week-old bottle and each has been a different experience. From harsh and bitter to smooth and winey, it’s been absurdly inconsistent.

Tonight, it tastes pretty good, albeit with some serious nit-picks. Maybe it’s starting to settle. Or maybe it’s because just about anything tastes good after midnight on the eve of a day off from work. Sampled with a drop of water.

Nose: Dry, bitter wine dominates at first. Sweetness and wood emerge soon thereafter. Dark fruits and vanilla up front, chocolate and mint in the background. It’s a quality nose for the most part, but there’s a lingering and slightly unpleasant metallic note, like dirty pennies, that intrudes and annoys.

Palate: Spirity and tart (yet a little watery) on arrival, a little overly sweet in the development. Burnt sugar nearly overwhelms the longer it sits. A few traces of chocolate, tobacco, and those bullseye candies I actually liked when I was a kid. There’s nothing subtle about this palate, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.

Finish: Best part of the experience, even if it’s nothing but pure sugar for the first few seconds. All the warm caramel and fruit components coalesce at it builds. There’s a port wine blast just before it fades out with a smoky snap. A long, layered, and very satisfying finish.

If it weren’t for the finish, I’d score this at least two or three points lower. It’s a rocky ride until then, but mostly worth the effort. A whisky that’s rewarding, challenging, and confusing in equal measure.

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4 comments

@Magnus
Magnus commented

@WhiskyBee, thanks for the honest review. The QR is one of my favorite expressions and I find this "winyness" to be one of the main reason for this affection. I was wondering, what malt were you comparing the QR palate with to find it harsh? I get it you have found it harsh as an oposite to the missing subtlety. I for one find the palate of the QR to be direct and honest, maybe not the subtlest one, yes, but I think it connects very well with the nose and finish of this dram.

On the other note, I can wholeheartedly back up your impression of the inconsistency of the QR. It is not a typical everyday dram. One has to be in the right mood for it, no doubt!

5 years ago 0

@WhiskyBee
WhiskyBee commented

@Magnus - "Spirity" would probably be more accurate than "harsh," and I probably should have pointed out that I didn't get this after my first couple of drams out of a fresh bottle. Two days later, it settled down, although the metallic note remained. I'm going to put it aside for at least a month to see if attains some consistency. I'll note any changes here in the comments.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@WhiskyBee, my bottle of Quinta Ruban took about a year or more to settle down and become coherent. It actually did, though, after around a year, and has been very enjoyable ever since, for at least 2 additional years. It is a very strange whisky tale, one of the strangest, and it is not the only strange whisky tale which I've had to tell.

My bottle of Quinta Ruban would have been nowhere near worth an 85 til after a year's time...maybe worth around 70 pts, or 68. I'd be slow to buy another bottle of it now, even though I like my well-aged version. I'm not sure I want to take the chance on having to wait a year or more to like it again.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

There are some whiskies that seem to take a long time to open up and give their best. I know that my first Springbank CS and my Claret wood tasted much better a year after I opened them.

I admit though, that my second bottle of CS has had more regular use (about 1/month) since opening and has seen consistent improvement. My palate is also different and I think I liked it more to start (though less than the old bottle after a year)

5 years ago 0

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