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.
The youth of the malt means all of the complexity is in the peat, which delivers a lot of intense flavor, but not a lot of secondary notes. The alcohol burn is a bit rough – likely because of the quick maturation – but nevertheless, this is a powerful, peaty kick in the head that any true peat-head should take a look at.
On the tongue, this dram blooms into a medium-complex whisky with no apparent flaws. A few tropical notes give it an exotic style, which might appeal to those tired of Scotch standards.
Very different from sherry-finished Scotches I’ve had – the fruitiness is subdued and suggests dried rather than jammed dark fruits. This leaves a difficult-to-describe combination of wood extracts, dried herb flavors, and rancio. There is certainly more here to discover, and I think the play off of standard Amrut flavors is successful. Definitely a whisky to ponder.
Betrays its age with the burn, and its inexperience with the heavy banana notes. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive dram for an upstart distillery in a challenging climate. I wouldn’t pay more than $30 for it, though, as I’m not partial to banana flavors in my malts.