The annual limited release of Paul John Christmas Edition is peated and matured in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels, port, and madeira casks. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV without chill filtration or added coloring. Like other Paul John whiskies, it is mashed from six-row barley harvested in the Himalayan foothills and distilled in…
The port wine in question is a finish, but unusually the whisky is first aged in GlenDronach’s typical combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks. That makes this bottling kind of a “Double Fruit”, if you will. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, without chill filtration or added color, which is standard practice for GlenDronach, and always a laudable choice.
The liquid, in fact, is a blend of 73% sourced bourbon from Bardstown (aka Kentucky Bourbon Distillers / KBD aka Willett), 17% Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey (which is 100% malted rye), and 10% Old Potrero Port Finish Rye Whiskey. Old Potrero is one of Anchor’s whiskey brands, distilled and aged in San Francisco, California. The reported ages of the components…
Quinta Ruban is standard Glenmorangie malt that is aged around 12 years in ex-bourbon casks and then finished in ruby port wine casks for 2 further years, for a total age statement of 14 years. The old 12-year expression spent 10 years in ex-bourbon. The whisky is bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV.
Pike Creek is another in a spate of Canadian whisky brand revivals along with Lot 40 and Gooderham & Worts from Corby Distillers. From 2012 until 2016 or so, Pike Creek was available as a 10 year-old Port Finish edition in Canada and a Port Finish edition in the US which is only aged 7 years, although this is not disclosed on the label. The US version is younger because the producer felt that demand for the new brand would outstrip supply. Thanks, Canada.
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.