Thursday, November 24, 2016

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Scotch

It was a dreary Tuesday afternoon during cold and flu season, and I had been quite sick and fallen behind on work. I distinctly remember being recovered enough to go visit a business associate, then take a seat at a nearby bar where I figured it would be quiet and I could sit with a pen, notepad, and cell phone and catch up on work. I also distinctly remember putting my coat on a chair next to nobody, using the restroom, and returning to the bar to find that someone had moved one seat over so he could sit next to me. This sad sack, who was getting himself drunk BEFORE GOING TO WORK, talked my ears off, even though I told him explicitly that I had work of my own to do. It didn't help that he had some experience in my field, the arts and entertainment, and flooded my brain with stories about how he tried his luck as an actor but gave up because it was too hard, then tried his luck as a musician but gave up because it was too hard. I showed him no sympathy whatsoever. I told him point blank that he kept giving up too easily, and he had the audacity to tell me I was right!

But perhaps most offensive of all was his icebreaker. I decided to try a couple of Glenmorangie expressions I'd never had before. When the bartender poured me one, the loser beside me took it upon himself to inform me that when drinking Scotch, I'd get more out of it if I added a bit of water. Visibly irritated, I informed him that I knew how to drink Scotch and that I preferred to taste it neat first.

One of the Glenmorangie expressions I tasted for the first time that day was the Quinta Ruban, which is aged in bourbon barrels for 10 years, then extra-matured for two years in ruby port casks. Having already tasted Angel's Envy Bourbon, I knew that port cask finishing could be extremely effective for whisky. I will have another fine port cask-finished whisky for you next time, but now...

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
12 years old
46% ABV (92 Proof)

Color: Bronze with crimson overtones.

Body: Appreciable depth and viscosity when swirled around the glass. Leaves well-defined (but short-lived) legs. Not many tears.

Nose: Big charred oak from those bourbon barrels. Toasty. Red berries, especially fresh, ripe, juicy strawberries. Great spiciness. Rich dark fruits. Balsamic vinegar. The alcohol is assertive, but not kicking me in the nostrils. Robust.

Palate: Wow! Complex and bold with a looooong finish. The earthy, malty foundation anchors a range of diverse flavors. Red berries once again, with strawberries and sweetened dried cranberries. Big charred oak echoing the nose. Spicy and pleasingly tingly on the tongue. Velvety caramel. At 46% ABV, this has a definite kick.

Oh, but if I'm supposed to drink Scotch with a bit of water...

Nose, with a few drops of water: I don't recommend adding water to nose this whisky. The nose is wonderful neat; with water, it's less dense but also less expressive.

Palate, with a few drops of water: Pretty good. Less of a kick from the alcohol, of course, but the alcohol is still assertive. The fruit flavors are more direct, even resembling a sweet fruit punch. The charred oak is also more direct in intent, but not as punchy in effect. A subtle creaminess. Not quite as spicy. Basically, add water for a gentler, smoother Quinta Ruban. I prefer it neat now, but my moods do change.

Overall: Oh...hells...yes.

By the way, it's $60 (+ tax) per 750 ml bottle here in Pennsylvania. That seemed expensive until I was back at the bar where I first tried it and realized that a two-ounce glass costs $20. I opted to buy a bottle instead.

Thank you for reading, and as always...Happy Drinking!

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