It seems that Talisker fans are really being spoiled at the moment after the recent release of Talisker Storm hot on its heels (or should that be stern) we have Talisker Port Ruighe.
Finding new names for new whisky releases must be a constant battle for the industry but at least there is always Gaelic to fall back on. Port Ruighe is named after the main port on the Isle of Skye, Portree. The town was originally know as Kiltragleann (The Church at the Foot of the Glen) but it is thought than in 1540, after a visit by King James V of Scotland to show his power over the Scottish lairds, it was renamed Portree which in the Gaelic tongue “Portrigh” means “The Kings Port“. This is often contested as some believe that the town’s name is derived from the Gaelic, “Port Ruighe” meaning “slope harbour“. Whatever the originals of the name, we do know for sure that this release has been created “as a tribute to the great Scottish trading-houses such as the Cockburns, Grahams and Symingtons who were instrumental in the creation and global growth of the port wine trade” because the press release told me so. So thats the name, what about the whisky?
Port Ruighe has been created by drawing from stock matured in American oak and European oak refill casks before being “finished” (transferred all together into another cask for a short time to draw final character) in ex-port casks called “pipes”. These final resting casks impart light fruity notes usually of strawberry or cherry to a spirit along with a faint pink hue to the colour. Like Talisker Storm, Port Ruighe has been release without an age statement and at the standard Talisker strength of 45.8% alcohol by volume.
Talisker Port Ruighe Single Malt Scotch Whisky
No Age Statement
Port Pipe Finish
RRP TBC (but circa £60)
Appearance: Rose gold with deep orange.
Nose: Deep charred cedar, spent match to the fore with rich sweet plum sponge, spiced orange marmalade, apple blossom honey backing it up to deliver a rounded, full nose of well integrated bold aromas. A creamy edge like milk bottle chews/play-do seems to linger overall whilst the peated element is kept low rather than the main focus.
Palate: Smooth and rich to begin. The complex sweet fruity notes found on the nose immediate apparent in the mouth with orchard fruits of quince, pippin apple, cherry mix before cranberry dryness. Additional sweetness is delivered in the form of honey and earthy spices with a touch of nutty chocolate. Mid palate is brought alive with a tingling mixture of cooling salt and pepper followed with coal tar soap, samphire and charred cinnamon which incredibly manages to deliver classic Talisker flavours even after all that has gone before.
Finish: It’s all about the peat now. Lingering oily seaside smoke delightfully delivered with elegance and panache. Salty, peppery and very much Talisker.
Summary: What is most interesting here is that normally port finished whisky is more about the character the port will deliver as I mentioned at the beginning. More soft red fruit is expected. But here we have a great example of using the development to integrate with a classic whisky without destroying the base “DNA”, far from it. The resulting flavours have, for me created a Talisker expression which is different enough for a fan to seek out on a regular basis without being too “out of the ordinary”. Sweeter, yes, but now overpowering so. Great stuff.