Port Ruighe @2013-10-04
Another mini-review. My favourite whisky bar received a shipment of Talisker bottles recently to add to their burgeoning collection (some 200 or more whiskies) - I spied the 57 North and Port Ruighe as the box was being unpacked and made a mental note to try them.
I finally got my chance and tasted both in one session, the Port Ruighe ("Port-ree") preceding the 57 North.
The bottle code on the Port Ruighe starts "L3 093" so was bottled approximately the end of March 2013.
Nose: Loads of sweet, honeyed smoke (smoked ham), oranges (marmalade), a hint of berries, fresh sea air - delicious! That smoke is so sweet and rich. With time in the glass, a toffee note emerges. I could nose this all day. Definitely appeals to me.
Taste: Hallmark Talisker peppery peat and brine attack, smoked citrus, sweet malt, red fruits and more spices with that sweet smoke cutting through it all. A hint of chili. Luscious mouthfeel. Reminds me of the Sheep Dip Old Hebridean 1990 (a vatting of old Ardbeg, [sherried] Dalmore and Fettercairn - do try it, if you can find it). This marriage of rich port and smoke works a treat, as per the sherried smoke in the Old Hebridean.
Finish: Drying smoke, peat, spices and more traces of red fruit (berries). Not overly long, but very pleasant nonetheless.
Balance: Excellent continuity from nose through finish. Fans of this style (sweet and smokey) will take to it immediately, but it may not appeal to all. Very approachable neat (tame, almost), quite possibly at the expense of the distillery character we know and love - the Talisker "fire" is absent in this one. Is this a bad thing?
Score: N23 T22 F21 B22 = 88
I really enjoyed the Port Ruighe, even though it's not your typical Talisker. That nose in particular is an amazing melange of marmalade and honey-glazed ham, a marriage made in heaven. It does not possess the raw impact of the standard 10 year old, losing some of its "Talisker-ness" in the process, but as an addition to their range, I think the Port Ruighe fills a worthy niche.
I will certainly be picking up a bottle for my cabinet, pronto. Prior to this I didn't know that I had an affinity for the smoked sherry/port style but I will be going out of my way to explore more like it. Your results may vary!