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Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Review: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Scotch Whisky  90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted December 27, 2009

The Quinta Ruban is a mature Glenmorangie (at least ten years old) that is aged in ex bourbon casks and then finished or ‘extra matured’ in port pipes from the Quintas of Portugal.  The Port casks are ex Ruby Port pipes.  The use of ruby Port gives the Quinta Ruban a fruitier and sweeter finish than enhancement from Tawny Port would give.  This sweeter character is evident in the tasting and review notes that follow.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Glenmorangie distillers know how to package a product.  Their whiskies come in handsome cardboard boxes, with just enough style and elegance to pique the interest of a collector like me.  The bottle inside the box displays the familiar attractive curves of all Glenmorangie bottles.  A nice dense cork topper finishes the presentation and I must say, unwrapping the Quinta Ruban in front of my friends is a treat.

In the Glass  9/10

I was expecting a dark inky spirit in the glass and was surprised by the warm rich color which displays only a hint of the ruby Port enhancement the spirit received in the finishing barrel.  A tangy citrus note mixed with maraschino cherry and chocolate greets my nostrils.  This is really pleasant to nose, and I am pleased that the port enhancement in no way overwhelms the spirit,  I still smell the sherry and bourbon notes deeper down making this a marvel of complexity.

In the Mouth  54/60

Marvelous!  Chocolate covered maraschino cherries are at the forefront of a bevy of fruit and spice.  Lemons and oranges dance lightly in the background, accompanied by a light vanilla and a barely discernible mint.  Under all of these flavours lies a wispy smoke which tastes like a subtle sherry influence.  A touch of sweetness playfully winds around and through the mouth making this a sipping experience.  I sense a real effort by the distillery to keep all of the nuances in check not letting any particular flavour spoil the dance upon the palate.

In the Throat  13/15

A very light oil lengthens the finish.   The citrus and spice in the mouth are the first flavours to exit and then chocolate covered cherries fill my throat.  A smoky cocoa ends the experience with just an ever so slight touch of bitter at the end.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Complexity and balance are the order of the day for the Quinta Ruban.  I sense real craftsmanship as all of the different elements of this malt are kept in check.  The Port is a true enhancement and although its flavour elements are at the forefront, these elements do not overwhelm the spirit but instead give the whisky added depth and a marvelous elegance in the glass.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Cocktail:

It was difficult to construct a cocktail for the Quinta Ruban, as most attempts seemed to hinder the enjoyment of the Scotch rather than accentuate it.   I finally decided to suggest a simple soda cocktail with ribbons of lemon and orange peel for garnish.  The simple nature of the cocktail allows the Scotch to shine through the drink.

If you are like me and have a bit of a sweet tooth you may omit the club soda and double the sprite or, if not, omit the sprite and double the club soda.

The Scottish Tiger
(The name comes from the ribbons of citrus peel which to me anyway are kind of like tiger stripes)

1 1/2 oz of Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
3/4 oz of club soda
3/4 oz of Sprite
A light squeeze of lemon
A Ribbon of Orange Peel
A Ribbon of Lemon Peel

Build the cocktail in a rocks glass over ice adding the soda last. To make a ribbon of citrus peel use a potato peeler and cut a small ribbon from a whole fruit. Varying the ratio of Club soda and sprite will make the drink sweeter or less so as implied above.


I also sent my good friend forrest (click his name to go to his blog) a request for help in constructing a cocktail for the Quinta Ruban and he came up with not one but three cocktails and one snifter drink:

Image courtesy of forrest

Quinta Cheri Amour
(cocktail by forrest)

2 1/4 Oz Quinta Ruban
1/2 Oz Cherry Herring
1/4 Oz Gran Gala
Stir w/ cracked ice until chilled, Strain into Cocktail Glass
Express the oils of a flamed orange zest
Garnish with rolled zest and a cherry
**and a dash of Peychauds


courtesy forrest

Quinta Vino
(cocktail by forrest)

1 1/2 Oz Quinta Ruban
1/4 Oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 Oz Gran Gala
1 1/2 – 2 Oz Sparkling Wine

Stir w/ cracked ice until chilled, Strain into Chilled Flute
Garnish w/ a twisted- thin cut- Orange Slice


Courtesy forrest

Quinta Morangie Cocktail
(cocktail by forrest)

2 Oz Quinta Ruban
1/4 Oz Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 – 1 Oz Fresh Orange Juice

Stir w/ cracked ice until chilled, Strain into Cocktail Glass
Garnish with Multiple Strips of Orange zest and a dash of Boker’s Bitters

Also, he made a ‘Snifter’ Drink…


Luxury in a Glass
(cocktail by forrest)

Courtesy forrest

2 1/2 Oz Quinta Ruban
Splash Frangelico
Splash Bauchant Liqueur Napoleon
(sub with a great Orange Liqueur)
Splash Luxardo Maraschino

Warm a Snifter with hot water
Dump water and add all ingredients
and serve Garnish with grated chocolate
(or Nutmeg)


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


3 Responses to “Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban”

  1. Paul Gifford said

    As I mentioned in the store today, I’m not generally a huge fan of Glenmorangie, but the Quinta Ruban is one which gives me a huge amount of respect for the master blender. Given the strong flavour that can be gained from port pipes and the relative simplicity of the malt it would be easy for one or the other the be overwhelmed, but the balance is so perfect that quinta ruban is, for the moment, unquestionably my first choice for an affordable port finish

  2. forrest said

    i love the review, and i think the names are hilarious!
    We should be having fun with our drinks!

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