Tasting note: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (12-year-old, 3rd edition)

Glenmorangie Quinta RubanColor: Mahogany

Nose: Starts out pretty fresh, even a little bit sour. Then sweet grapes come out strong along with plums and dark berries as well as shy vanilla and cocoa aromas that make it interesting.

Taste: Fruity and sweet. Definitely raspberries. Grapes again. It's well worth taking a big sip and keeping the whisky in your mouth for a couple of seconds. Very gentle mouth feel, as is typical for many Glenmorangie whiskies. This one is nicely balanced between grapes and oak. The port finish adds just enough complexity to make it worthwhile yet accessible to those still getting started with single malt whiskies.

Finish: Still fruity but more oak now. A dry taste settles on the palate, the mouth feels oily. The finish is medium in length. Perhaps the finish is a tad weak after the compelling nose and taste, but who wants to nit-pick?

Comments: Complex and very satisfying. The Quinta Ruban stands amongst my favourite Glenmorangies, (almost) up there with the beautiful Signet.

Rating: I rated this whisky 87 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 22, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Bruichladdich 2002 (14-year-old, Jay Doherty Valinch)

Bruichladdich 2002 Jay Doherty ValinchColor: Tawny

Nose: Soft and round right from the beginning, no biting scents despite the Laddie's 60.6% alcohol content. Ripe dark fruits come out at first, but they're quickly accompanied by earthy, even mossy, notes that make for an interesting mix. The nose promises a lot of (dry) sherry. Finally, oranges and spices, cinnamon.

Taste: Dry sherry and the fruity sweetness of dark cherries and raisins. Still, there is that earthy taste, hazel nuts too. Creamy caramel tops the taste off.

Finish: Quite sweet at first (toffee), drier and more earthy later. While the taste dissipates relatively quickly, a long-lasting dry feeling on the palate remains.

Comments: This is a wonderful complex 14-year-old whisky. No water required at all. Give it a couple of minutes in the glass though as it becomes more creamy after a little while.

Rating: I rated this whisky 90 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 24, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Talisker 10-year-old

Talisker 10-year-oldColor: Deep copper

Nose: Fresh citrus fruits and a lot of honey paired with a light smoke aroma. Seaweed.

Taste: Salty liquorice embedded in a malty sweetness. Dry smoked oak, but this is no smoke bomb. Well-balanced.

Finish: Oak and dark chocolate, dry and bitter-sweet.

Comments: Very enjoyable 10-year-old whisky that is relatively light on peat and thus a good introduction to smoky whiskies. The sweetness keeps it well-balanced and, given some time to breath, the whisky might surprise you with a grassy note. The finish is relatively short, but the nose and taste make up for it. Pleasant throughout.

Rating: I rated this whisky 86 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 21, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Aberlour A'bunadh (Batch 55)

Aberlour A'bunadh Batch 55Color: Burnt umber

Nose: Strong sherry with dried fruits (raisins) and a peppery spiciness on top of the sweetness. Cinnamon and oranges.

Taste: The sweetness dominates at first, dark fruits (ripe cherries) with dark chocolate. Creamy in the mouth. Then hints of wood and a burning spiciness coming, perhaps, from the 60.9% alcohol content. Still pleasant and well-rounded though, even without water.

Finish: Medium length finish, still mostly sweet. The spicy notes dissipate quickly, leaving a pleasant dry sherry taste mixed with oak.

Comments: Dark and strong whisky. Sherry bomb with a punch and very fairly priced at EUR 50-60 as of this writing.

P.S.: After adding a drop or two of water, the A'bunadh became even more creamy for me, mostly on stronger caramel and fruity cherry aromas.

Rating: I rated this whisky 88 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 23, Finish 21, Balance 21)

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Tasting note: Edradour 2002 (14yo, Ibisco Decanter)

Color: Chestnutoloroso sherry

Nose: Pungent spiciness in the foreground, the sherry not that present at first. Gets rounder after a couple of minutes in the glass. More sherry now as I begin to smell sweet notes, most notably dried dark fruits. I'm inclined to describe the nose as "peppery sweetness".

Taste: Intense, there is that pepper again, accompanied by tobacco. Definitely a lot of sherry, too. Plums, ripe fruits.

Finish: Long, spicy and slightly bitter (tobacco) with a tad of dark chocolate.

Comments: Rich taste, quite spicy compared to other sherried whiskies. The addition of water takes some of the spicy edge off by pushing the tobacco and pepper notes off their first-row seats, leaving room for espresso and toffee to shine through. This is a fine cask strength whisky indeed.

(If you're looking for a cask strength sherry bomb that is less spicy and more affordable, give the Aberlour a'bunadh a try.)

Rating: I rated this whisky 83 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

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