One of the challenges of long term whisky enjoyment is the trajectory of one’s ever changing palate. The goal of any whisky freak from day one is frequently adding varied sensory input in order to evolve your taste and mental Rolodex of aroma. That’s part of the fun and good work of growing your skill. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. An unintended consequence of this accumulation of descriptors is the reality that a good whisky one year can taste remarkably different a few years later. There’s not much one can do about this, you simply must ride it out. That’s why it’s important for a group like us to revisit malts tasted long ago. We need to mark a place in time for a certain opinion, and that opinion may change drastically, maybe not. Today’s look is at one such malt we looked at back a zillion years ago, back when it was called Glenmorangie’s Quinta Ruban 12yr.
Launched in 2007 as an NAS, Quinta Ruban switched to a 12 year old in 2010 and found its popularity surge as part of a trio of 12yr finished whiskies for Glenmorangie. Ruban was considered a club favorite for many years for us and represented affordable quality, an ever elusive find in our Golden Age of whiskey consumption. Most strangely, in 2019, Glenmorangie decided to add an additional 2 years to this bottling as well as upping the ABV to 46%. While price went up as well, I don’t think we were quite as offended, as usually the opposite occurs: age statement vanishes and price goes up. Let’s see what changes….
Nose– Raisinettes and creme brulee. Musty, wet oak. Toasted marshmallow and dried fruit. Dryer sheet. Some herbals. Not feeling the port wine coming through.
Taste – Molasses, chocolate, tobacco notes. Walnuts. Not to vibrant and a little confusing. Is this Scotch?
Finish – Dark chocolate and mint. Smoke. Feinty. Grass and coffee. More tobacco.
Comment– Weird experience and not what we expected out of a Quinta Ruban presentation. Nothing really bad or out of place just different for us. Lots of decadence, which may be your thing.
SWC Rating – 85/100