Talisker Port Ruighe

Diageo has been busy recently, expanding Talisker’s range and adding one-offs and duty-free (sorry, “travel retail”) bottlings such as 57° North. Now they’ve added a permanent port-finished NAS expression with the double-entendre of a name, “Port Ruighe”. Make sure you pronounce that “Portree” like the Scots. Nobody will know what you’re talking about, but at least you’ll know you have the authentic pronunciation. I’m not going to bother with the history of the little fishing village or whatever it’s named after. Suffice it to say this is NAS (my guess 7 to 8 year old, which really isn’t a bad choice for peated malt) 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. Unfortunately for the majority of my readers, it appears that this beauty has not seen its way State-side, and (like 57° North) might be something you have to source via your vacationing friends, who are probably downright sick of you by now.

Nose: Aroma is quintessential Talisker seaspray-flecked smoke, black pepper and butterscotch saltwater taffy. After some coaxing, there is a hint of dark chocolate and, at a stretch, raspberry coulis. Blind, I would say this is just regular Talisker 10.

Palate: Syrupy body. Very hot, at first, but resolves slowly into heavy notes of rhubarb, smoked salt, earthy peat, and caramel malt. The port is more readily detectable here, with light red fruits and a slight tartness.

Finish: Very long. Talisker again, with more briney driftwood smoke and deep-earth peat. Drying, with flecks of minerals and some solid oak tannin. Fades with a whisper of tannic grape skins.

With Water: A few drops of water have no apparent effect on the aroma. The tongue burn is significantly tamed, however, and there’s a sense of bakery treats (scones or something) that wasn’t as easy to detect without the water. The finish might be slightly fruitier, with some berry flavors. Try without and then with water.

Overall: Solid, respectable, but not all that different from Talisker Distiller’s Edition, with the same “Talisker plus something fruity” profile. Unlike some wine-finished whiskies, which take on the worst aspects of the wine and lose some of their own identity in the process, this is Talisker through-and-through, with a little top dressing of tart red fruits. A value-add, anyway, and not outrageously priced.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

Talisker is located on the lonely Isle of Skye, off the western coast of the Scottish Highlands (included in the “Island” region by owner Diageo). The population there still speaks Scots Gaelic, and Talisker was the only whisky distillery on the island until Torabhaig was built in 2017. But oh, what whisky. Poet Robert Louis Stevenson identified this distillery’s product as a category of its own, and once referred to it as “the king of drinks.” He wasn’t alone. In the James Bond movies, 007 and M can be seen drinking Talisker. Like Bond, Talisker is rough by nature – rocky and influenced by the sea by which it is made. The spring water flows over peat and has a very high mineral content.
Talisker Port Ruighe
48.5% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $52 - $65 (estimate)
Acquired: (45ml sample bottle) From a Flaviar Tasting Box

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    • Wow!
      Scotch-wise it’s really beneficial to live in Europe. Talisker 10yo is ~ 32€ here.
      Just tried the Säntis Dreifaltigkeit whisky, still not too sure what to make of it though!

  • Hard to keep up with the Talisker 1-off’s these days as they continue to proliferate. I find this once proud, respected and reliable distillery a bit off its game as it pines for the consumer’s wallet with these NAS novelty acts. I’m a big fan of the standard T10 – but Skye, Storm, Dark Storm, 57 North, et al represent bush league and overpriced output. And here we go again with Port Ruighe. Anyway, in this case I believe SN’s review is spot on – T10 + some fruit juice on top…Ho hum. However, I cannot score this cash-grab as Recommended. At some point we consumers need to take a stand. (Does anyone else feel that Talisker is trying to chase Ardbeg with this short-term win, long-term lose business plan?)

  • This is one NAS single malt that I’d love to get my hands on. Is there any word on it becoming available in the USA?

    I haven’t yet had a port finished whisky that I didn’t like.