Review: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Highlands Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 1.jpg
12 years or 14 years; Finished in Port Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenmorangie (Tain, Scotland)

Like the other core finished whiskies at Glenmorangie, a 10 year old whisky is dumped into a finishing cask for 2 years – in this case a port pipe. Quinta refers to wine houses, and Ruban is the gaelic word for “ruby”.

Originally, this was a 12 year old product but the age statement has recently been bumped (up!) to 14 years - and to good effect.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A (12 years old)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

Nose: That is some sweet goodness! Fruitcake, caramel, cinnamon, clove, vanilla – still holding that key Glenmorangie light barley characteristic, and the port you can actually smell lightly here too. Dried fruits come out as well with a decent kick of dryness too. I can smell the light bourbon influence as well…

Taste: It’s not quite as fruity as the nose let on, but it still has a good kick of fruitiness around it. Quite dark – fruitcake, cherry, raisin, cinnamon, cacao…There’s a bit of a port-fruit and oak explosion towards the end as well. Cinnamon – a very nice whisky in fact. I think it’s very enjoyable – it is quite a bit heavier than the Original or Lasanta as well.

Finish: Light oak, cinnamon, clove, and some other light vegetal notes like sundried tomatoes and some malty notes after some time. Drying, with a reasonable amount of tannin. Long, and not unpleasant, but more mediocre in flavour than intriguing or delicious.

This is quite nice – a very nice twist on the classic Original Glenmorangie, though I like it less. It’s heavier, with a different showing of fruit – more on the fruitcake side. A bit less complexity from the original because of how the port shifts to take over some of the flavour.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A (12 years old)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

A sharp fruitiness here, almost phenolic in its effect – dense dried fruit (currants, prunes) and nuts, alongside a light sulphur note which contributes some hot spice. The nose still has a rich barley characteristic underneath it all. The palate is oaky, lightly spicy, and full of more rich red fruit – cherry and red grape – and red wine gums. The finish is spicy, but with a nice hit of malt.

I’m not quite as hot on this one now as I was last time. Not a bad whisky, but there are better ways to explore port finishes. The 46% is nice, and suits Glenmorangie pretty well.

Value: Low. You can do better in the category of port finished single malts, and I’m not too hot about this one anyway.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A (14 years old)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

The nose here is different than I remember (or had indicated in my tasting notes) – and it’s no surprise that it’s been highly accoladed. It is full of tropical fruit, a highly sought after characteristic in Scotch which the new release has had lots of accolades. There is lots going on – rich oak, dried fruit, light rancio, barley, vanilla, that bright Glenmorangie character, prunes, stewed fruits, and brilliant baking spice. The body and character of the wine is great.

Excellent! An improvement over the 12, and the body here is terrific – some reviewers seem to indicate that it is a similar release, but this is quite a bit better than the 12s that I’ve had. It isn’t as elegant or subtle as the nectar d’or (a favourite of mine) but the whisky makes up for it with richness in fruit, spice, and the tannins. It make this a much bigger whisky that appeals to me at an occasion I crave bite over subtlety. A very nice finish.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: I’ll round up to high. I think $90 for this is pretty good.