Tag Archives: Scotch whisky

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, 46% ABV, Non Chill Filtered, Highland Single Malt

Getting a little bit adventurous here. I’d started to read a lot about how the maturation process can affect the final product of a single malt. Aside from all the flavors gained principally from the source of water, the malt, and process of peating if any, the wood it’s set to age in has a huge impact on the final flavor. For instance, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask is aged in barrels 1/4 the size of a normal cask thereby imparting wood flavors and complexities at a greatly accelerated rated due to overall surface area of whisky in contact with the barrel. It’s amazing because of simple wood contact at a higher level. Some scotches are aged in used American white oak bourbon barrels, others in Oroloso sherry casks left over from aging sherried Spanish wines, and so on and son.

My curiosity was piqued so I looked a little bit into this world of aging scotch in different barrels and came across the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. This 12 year old Highland scotch is aged for 10 years in American white oak barrels then is matured and additional two years in specially selected ruby port pipes from the Quintas or wine estates of Portugal. You can find more information here: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Home

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 year, 46%ABV, non chill filtered

glenmorangie-the-quinta-ruban-highland-single-malt-750mlfile_13_32

  • Color: Dark ruby mahogany, rich with depth and complexity. 
  • Nose: Big sherry notes, mint, hint of malt, slight vanilla, toffee, and chocolate, truly delightful
  • Palate: chocolate, orange zest, sweet warming sherry, vanilla and bright mint background
  • Finish: long, pleasantly warming, sherried chocolate again without being sweet, woody spices of cinnamon and allspice

Overall: Complex and decadent. Borders on the dessert variety, but easily enjoyed on its own accord. Quite a little jaunt into the adventurous side of single malts!

 

Highland Park 12 year, 43%ABV, Island Single Malt

this next one is one of the most interesting and complex scotches I’ve had to date. Highland Park 12 is quite polarizing to its tasters as well. When I first go into scotch, I began following and reading the subreddit r/scotch. The community is very inviting, quite helpful, and an excellent repository for reviews and future scotch selection suggestions. However, they do not agree as to whether this scotch is great. Some love it, some hate it. It is a poor expression if you like Islay, it is a poor expression if you like Highland. However, I find the hybrid to be quite interesting. It composes both worlds nicely yet leaves you wanting for more from either side.

Highland Park 12 Year, 43%ABV, Highland Single Malt, Orkney Islands $50 USD Highland Park 12

Color: Amber with hues of gold in the sunlight.

Nose: At first is a light smokiness like off clothes worn in an evening next to a campfire. Light and it comes and goes as the nose evolves. Next is an overwhelming honey/nectar/sweet smell that is off-putting at first until the smoke comes back to play. They work well together, but I’m not at all sure I like the sweet by itself. I only get the malt notes with the tail of the honey wave prior to smoke returning.

Palate: This one really coats your tongue and you get a light warmth in your whole mouth before the flavors show up. Sweet honeyed smoke and a waft of grasses blossom as you swallow and then the peppery warmth trails behind the whisky as you swallow.

Finish: It lingers for a long time, pleasantly. I drank it neat and it was almost hot with alcohol at the very split second beginning, but the flavors of sweet smoke caught fire and warmed all the way to my stomach. A good all-round dram.

Overall: A very drinkable, middle-of-the-road scotch. I can see why it polarizes r/scotch so. It is neither an amazing islay, nor an amazing highland, but it is quite drinkable and unoffensive to the palate. As I get into the scotch world, I am finding more and more that I simply prefer big, bold Islay tastes. Highland Park ’12 touches that note, but does not play it very long.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV, Islay Single Malt Scotch

In keeping with the theme of going for the jugular, my next stop on the great single malt train lead me to a beast of a beverage – Laphroaig Quarter Cask. I dabbled my toes into the fruity, delicate waters of Speyside. Now I wanted to see what the region of Islay had to offer.

This is the first scotch whisky I had tried that touted it was “non-chill filtered”. I did a bit of looking into it and to me it essentially means that the whiskey maintains some of the esters and other compounds during filtering (due to it not being chilled to zero Celsius) that give to the overall flavor profile. Best I could tell, many whisky snobs love this about a scotch and quite frankly, I’ve grown to become fond of it as well. It generally ensures the whiskey to be above 46% ABV which also lends to robust flavor by not watering it down. You can read more about chill filtering here :  http://www.whiskyforeveryone.com/whisky_basics/chill_filtration.html

 

Now the taste….Holy fucking shit. Seriously. Imagine yourself again as a complete novice to the world of whiskey and scotch. Your only exposure before had been taking shots and chasing it with beer or some crappy whiskey watered down with syrupy Coca Cola. You’re faced with this robust stallion of a beverage that takes your taste buds hostage and won’t let go for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s an exhilarating ride that leaves you breathless, excited, and wanting it to happen again very soon.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV, Islay Single Malt Scotch, $54 USD Laphroaig quarter cask

Color: Soft gold like dried wheat in a sunset. Tiny drops form on the glass when swirled giving credo to its robust ABV.

Nose: BIG peat and astringent medicinal campfire smoke. Floral sweetness languid like jade.

Taste: Astringent iodine, peatpeatpeat, pleasant and warming full coating mouthfeel. Then, not much of anything until you swallow…wait for it…campfire in your mouth. It tastes like a summer dusk by a fire after a long day hiking. Absolute breathtaking. There’s a bit of a spritey sea salt play in there as well.

Finish: Warm and lingering. Almost loitering. Smokey malt replaces the wood, but you can still smell the burnt wood. A hint of anise.

Overall: Still the best dram I’ve had today. Hands down.

Welcome to Whiskey Times!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my inaugural post for this blog. I’ve taken to enjoying whiskey over the past year or so and have made it a bit of a passion much to the chagrin of my wife and my wallet. Here you can expect some very basic reviews of all things whiskey (or whisky) from scotch to bourbon. I may even delve into other spirits, liver willing.

First, a bit about myself. I’m 33 years old and work in an intensive care unit as a registered nurse. I’m married to a beautiful woman who puts up with my shenanigans and lets me be me. I have a dog, Winston, who is my partner in crime. I play a disproportionate amount of video games but still enjoy getting a jog in every now and then.

So there it is. Pithy. Please bear with me as I discover my style for how this goes. I am really just writing it for myself, but if it helps one person make a more informed decision, inspires one discussion, or even helps me remember why I didn’t like “x” bottle, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

Enjoy a good dram with me as we get this show on the road.

Laphroaig quarter cask