I first tasted the Quinta Ruban many years ago. My uncle got the previous 12 YO version at the duty free and I had it a few times at his house. I quite liked it. Then it seemed to disappear for a long time. It recently reappeared at the LCBO for just under $100. It was a no-brainer to get one to try.
Unlike its long-gone sibling, this one is 14 years old. It does not state how long the spirit was finished in port casks. This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Nov. 29 - Glencairn
On first pour there is a vegetal note that seems to dissipate a bit with time and air. Then you get a rich, sweet, warm nose. Dried fruits and baking spices, apple pie filling. There is a freshness to it as well. Nice nose.
With water, the pitch of the fruits rises a little. There appears to be a little more depth to the nose. I get a hint of that vegetal note. (21.5/25)
Slightly spirity on first sip. The mouthfeel is a little thin (but after tasting Amrut Portonova - not the current travel retail - all other port-finished whiskies are a little thin). It is very sweet. Slightly spicy. It goes down really smoothly…
Water increases the hotness of the alcohol, and washes away a lot of the flavour. I get some pepper that was not present before. (19/25)
Medium long, some tannin astringency, and spicy to the end. With water the finish is more peppery. (20/25)
The nose and palate compliment each other. I would say it is maybe a little too sweet, and this overpowers some of the potential complexity.
Water definitely throws off the balance on this one. (20/25)
Score: Neat - 86.5/100 With Water: 80.5/100
This pairs really well with milk chocolate - miniature Aero used tonight
Dec. 2, 2021 - Glencairns
I have less than half an ounce left of my Forty Creek Portwood reserve and I have been waiting for a chance to try it next to Amrut Portonova. I poured a very small pour of this and Wiser’s 22 YO CS Port finished whisky. It’s an interesting comparison. The Quinta Ruban and the Forty Creek are 1% apart in ABV, but have different distillates. The Wiser’s has a more similar distillate but a much higher ABV. No water, because none of these benefits from the addition of water in my inexperienced opinion.
On the nose, the Forty Creek has a dark dried fruit note that is deeper than the Wiser’s, which has a slightly vegetal note, as does the Glenmorangie. There are definite similarities to the two Canadian whiskies, which have the rye spiciness absent in the Scotch. Tonight, I would give the nose to the Forty Creek, which has a syrupy, dark fruity, and fresh nose.
In the palate, the FC is sweet and spicy. Very clean , slightly peppery on the finish. The Glenmorangie is as above. The vegetal note doesn’t carry over to the palate. The Wiser’s is richer, sweet, with a thicker mouthfeel (not surprising with a 14% higher ABV and no watering down). I like them all.
I don’t think it is fair to rank them because they are very different whiskies, but I think the exercise of putting them H2H2H is extremely educational, demonstrating the similarities and differences in a way you just don’t get from tasting in isolation.
Not a bad whisky. My impression of it changes a little each time I try it, and so far the score above is the “high water mark”. It is not as rich and complex as Portonova (as I remember it…), but it is pleasant, approachable, and extremely drinkable. I rarely have a second dram of anything, and the temptation is strong with this one.
Would I buy this again? If I didn’t have 100 bottles open and so many waiting their turn, absolutely. As it is, I will drink this one over the next year or so, and when it’s done, if it is still around and depending on how much room I have, I just might replace it.