If I'm not mistaken this was one of the first Scottish malts to make a feature of finishing their whisky in wine casks; specifically, port in this instance. I'm generally not the biggest fan of finished whiskys but this comes with a bit of pedigree and it's possibly the first exclusively port finished whisky I've had. Ten years in ex-bourbon casks and then two years in port pipes to be precise, so, in fairness, a decent enough amount of time to let the port wood work its magic. It's also decently priced, available and presented in a 'modern' way. Nice!
Review is from a neat pour from a 3/4 full bottle, sat 15 mins or so and been open just over a month.
Nose - Fresh, creamy and just lovely. And it was very enticing from the get go. Blackberries, strawberries - think a bowl of red/purple summer berries with some fresh mint leaves and cream and your not far off. Vanilla, a hint of rum, and a slight gingery prickle that lets you know it really is a whisky. There's some soft oak (a touch of musty warehouse perhaps?) and cinnamon bark spice that mingles with a slightly bitter lemon malt base. Surprisingly balanced.
Taste - Sweet, fruity arrival but it develops pleasingly into more of the spices and oak notes that help to tone down the sweetness. Alcoholic Vimto (which is a berry cordial in the UK). Becomes more sour towards the finish. Balanced, again. Nice creamy mouthfeel too.
Finish - Short to medium. I wouldn't describe it as cloying at all but you are left with a sweetness that really clings on alongside some some mild tannins.
With a few drops of water the richness of the mouthfeel quickly fades and becomes weaker on the finish. More of the bitter lemon and malty notes come out on the nose. Lighter and fruitier on the taste. I think I may like the taste better neat but the rest as is.
I have to add that I love the colour of this, it has a definite pink tinge which is quite pretty and unusual. I expect this will keep changing as more air gets to it as it has already started to mellow out nicely and take on more of the malt base into the fresh port notes. What pleases me most is its ability to be full on with the fruity notes without ever being too much or taking on a syrupy quality. In short, a great step up from the Ten and one I'd be happy to recommend, especially as an aperitif or after dinner whisky. Also goes beautifully with Porter ale.
@Victor - Well, I do think you'd like this bottle! As I hint at in the review, it's both gained something and lost something already with air time. The first few pours were a little crisper and had more overt port notes - it was still delicious. It is definitely developing with air though and I suspect, if it continues in this vein, that the port and barley notes will continue to mingle nicely.
Quinta Ruban is one of the little unsung heroes of the modern whisky landscape. And a steal at $38!