Jonny tries his hand at a whisky review for International Scotch Day…
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right – this isn’t a car review. To be totally honest with you, I’m not even sure I’ve the nerve to call it a whisky review, because I’ve never written a whisky review before.
Whisky is a relatively new thing I enjoy. I’ve been into it for around 3 years now, and you can thank Ben Pearce for getting that ball rolling, little did he know he’d inadvertently lead us all down a path that would culminate in our gathering here on this webpage – hello, by the way, Ben.
The idea of writing about whisky has appealed to me for some time now, I enjoy writing – admittedly, not as much as I enjoy whisky – but I was never sure that I’d actually take the leap and put myself out there. Glenmorangie’s ‘Quinta Ruban’ pushed me into doing it.
After a little reading around on various internet sources over the last week or so, an order was placed for this whisky from Master of Malt. Now, if you like whisky (or other, more inferior spirits) you’ll already be fully aware of this site and the excellent service they offer – by the way, I’m not being paid to say that – not only did MoM offer the best price for this whisky, it arrived 2 days earlier than expected, superbly packed and delivered by a friendly chap from FedEx. Top marks to them.
Top marks to Glenmorangie too, because this is easily one of the most remarkable whiskies I’ve tasted since beginning my little journey into whisky. Seriously, it’s ‘sit up in bed at night and start typing on your laptop’ good.
So, what is it? Well, this is a 12-year-old whisky, aged for 10 years in American oak barrels like the standard Glenmorangie, except instead of then finding its way into a bottle, it is sent to chill out for an extra 2 years in ruby port pipes, before finally being bottled for our pleasure at 46%. It comes in a striking natural colour – why some whisky is dyed, I just don’t know – but this one isn’t, allowing you to enjoy its pink to deep red tones all the more knowing that this is a spirit in its natural state.
I received an enormous number of smell and flavours from this whisky. Dark fruits, expensive chocolate, Crème Brule, After Eight’s, roses or even Turkish Delight really comes out on the nose and there’s even a little hint of fresh granary bread and apples. Frustratingly, there’s also a note I find really hard to identify, but it reminds me of a garden centre in the summer, when all the flowers are out and drawing in the green-fingered folk.
Those smells are unbelievably enticing, and it doesn’t take you long to dive in and give it a taste. It’s fruity – as expected of course – jam-rich with blackberry and raisin, caramelised fruits, sweet almond and a Bakewell Tart-like flavour rolling off into the barrel flavours. There’s a truly gorgeous woody, oaky quality as it finishes that actually really reminds me of bourbons I’ve had in the past.
When it’s gone, you’re left with an aftertaste that’s big on cherry. You might notice a strong layer of a cough sweet – remember ‘Tunes’ in cherry flavour, anyone? Lingering red fruits remain for a while, before fading off and leaving you with a subtle leather flavour and gentle oak. The Quinta Ruban is currently offered at around £45-55, and for the extra £10 or so over the standard Glenmorangie 10-year-old, this is a pretty affordable and massively enjoyable experience. The port finish really adds something to this whisky, turning it into something pudding-rich and rewarding to a curious sipper, a real treat that would work well as an after-dinner dram, in my opinion. If a whisky is good enough to make you get up and write in the middle of the night, that should tell you something. Bravo, Glenmorangie, this is really something else. Don’t you dare put the price up though, as this is one I’ll definitely be buying again.