The annual tasting of an Angel’s Envy Cask Strength bourbon (2017), which is as close to an annual tradition as we get around here. This time, I’m able to do a side-by-side comparison against the 2016 edition. Wait until you see the price increase over 2015, however…
The same bourbon that goes into 1792 Small-Batch is aged for an additional 2 years in port wine barrels, and then bottled at the odd choice of 44.45% ABV. The extra aging means a price premium, so expect to shell out an additional $10 or so. That turns the very budget-friendly 1792 into a bit of a splurge, for a bourbon.
…now they’ve added a permanent port-finished NAS expression with the double-entendre of a name, “Port Ruighe”. … Suffice it to say this is NAS Talisker aged in a combination of casks including ex-bourbon, refill European oak, and casks with a “heavy char”. The whisky is then finished in port casks and bottled at Talisker’s standard 45.8% ABV.
Port finishing is not common, but is always a welcome pairing for a single malt, especially one as well-suited to cask manipulation as Glenmorangie. Unlike other port finishes, Quinta Ruban is priced to be accessible.
Portonova is an exquisite product which (in a blind tasting) could easily be confused with a $125+ 21 year-old wine-finished scotch. Last I saw, it had sold out everywhere but if you have the budget, a love of port/wine finishes, and see some on a shelf somewhere, just know that I thought it was fantastic.
300 casks per year are filled into emptied Sandeman’s Ruby port pipes – made of Spanish oak – to finish for 6-18 months. The result is like a chocolate cherry cordial, both sweet and nutty. Very interesting. You don’t see a port finish every day, and this one is certainly one to ponder.
A very conservative take on a port finish. The port is very much in the background, letting the clean bourbon flavors take center stage. This one is a pleasant, easy-to-drink experience, and the price is quite reasonable.