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KCM Spirit Reviews

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review 104: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Yr

Review 104
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 yr: 46% abv

So we figured we had such good luck with the last one, we figured we would give it another go. Does Glenmorangie have three gems in a row? Let’s start with what Quinta Ruban is. At a nearly identical price to the Lasanta, the Quinta Ruban is a similar Malt with a different view. Instead of being aged in sherry casks, the whisky is aged in port wine casks. If you don’t know what port wine is like, then please see our Terra d’Oro review of a Zinfindel Port. So what’s the difference between the two? Let’s just compare from tasting notes. 

On the nose, there is a big malt and floral character to the spirit, along with interesting notes of red wine, wood, red grape. There is a wheatiness and light subtle vanilla to the nose. After adding water, the nose opens up and contributes a larger spiciness and sweet malt to the nose. Nothing about this is overtly complex, but we dug further. On the arrival, there is a very slight peat smoke to it which we found peculiar with Glenmorangie. There is a combination of brininess and sweetness to the arrival, but no distinctive flavors jumped out to the group. 

The body carries more definition, carrying some unique fruit flavors to go along with the malty character. There is a sweetness and dark fruit flavor to this malt. Among the flavors, one can find dark chocolate, cranberry, cinnamon, raspberry, sweet citrus notes, and strawberry. After you expose this malt to water, you’ll start to see ginger and molasses come out. Again, we were not blown away by the complexity of this malt, but it did represent some form of uniqueness. The finish was much more detailed, but represented a different side of this whisky. It came off as briny and salty in the beginning with caramel, black pepper, cinnamon, slight smokiness, strawberry, and some cabernet. With water though, we can pick up some more flavors, including the sweet molasses notes we got in the body, some hazelnut and cherry notes, and an Old Pulteney-esque saltiness, which has a mixture of refreshing and dry impressions to it. And just to mix it up, we even caught some slight notes of bubblegum. 

The group had a couple of comments to make about this malt. For starters, the malt took on a lot of different characters, with some spiciness, salt, hotness, and dark fruity berries to it. The group described the malt as being unsorted and confused, like it was having an identity crisis and didn’t know who it wanted to be. Although there was a large discussion on scoring, the group agreed that it didn’t measure up to Glenmorangie’s other statements and it’s lackluster complexity didn’t do it any favor. For a bargain malt, this would be an excellent choice, but at a price of around $65-70 a bottle, we would expect much more from it. 

Score: 7.75/10

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