For my 30th birthday last year, I was given a bottle of Talisker Port Ruighe from some close friends. It proved to be a very popular expression – so popular, in fact, that when I recently glanced at the bottle, I realised that just a small portion was left!
Therefore, before it runs out, we’ll be reviewing Talisker’s Port Guighe by exploring the following topics:
Overview Of Talisker Port Ruighe
- Distillery: Talisker
- Expression: Port Ruighe
- Region: Skye [Hebrides]
- Age: NAS
- Casking: Ex-Bourbon, European Oak, Port Finish
- Cask Strength: 45.8% ABV
- Chill-Filtered: No
- Pricing: $96 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
- Parent: Diageo
Fans of Hebridean whisky from the Scottish Isles will likely be familiar with Talisker. The only distillery on the Isle of Skye, it was founded in 1830 and produces expressions with an iconic smoky essence. Released in 2013, this expression’s name consists of wordplay and refers both the port cask finish with “Ruighe” meaning “King” in Gaelic.
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Talisker Port Ruighe’s Robe
- Hue: Aged Sauternes
- Transparency: Clear
- Body: Full-Bodied
Port Ruighe touts a sanguine caramelised hue that’s reminiscent of an old Sauternes wine. The liquid glimmers with a slight haze and with a swirl of my Peugeot Les Impitoyables whisky glass, I’m greeted with some slow and relatively thick tears down the sides.
When I later added a few drops of water, the whisky produced thick clouds that quickly enveloped the contents, which indicates a strong viscometric potential.
- Notes: Salted Caramel, Bonfire, Brine, Oranges
- Nosefeel: Peppery
Port Ruighe offers a distinctively gourmand nose, which although isn’t dissimilar to their regular 10 Year Old expression, offers a twist in the literal sense. Opening with salted caramel, a characteristic smoky bonfire soon followers as well as its cherished iodic brine.
What follows, however, is a heavy citrus aroma of blood oranges and marmelade. It’s sticky and quite sweet but robust with a bitterness too. Overall, the expression offers a peppery nosefeel.
Talisker Port Ruighe’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Tastes: Umami, Sour
- Mouthfeel: Oily, Eucalyptic
- Opening: Marmalade, Brine, Salted Caramel
- Heart: Iodine, Dark Chocolate, Creosote
- Finish: Long [Cordite, Lapsang Souchong, Blood Orange]
Firstly, Port Ruighe offers a surprisingly complex bouquet of flavour and texture given just how easy it is to drink. The overall mouthfeel has a intriguing savoury gourmand sensation with a sour citrus tartness that follows. Meanwhile, its a viscous and oily expression with a bracing eucalyptus touch.
The opening is an echo of the nose with rich marmalade overtones that are contrasting by crisp brine and oozing salted caramel. Shortly afterwards, the seaside connotations are reinforced by a hint of iodine, which is softened by voluptuous dark chocolate and ashy creosote.
Eventually, the swirling oils take us to a surprisingly vinous finish that consists of a majoritively smoky experience with aromas of cordite and lapsang souchong. However, this vinous experience is mostly brought to light through succulent blood oranges that feel almost candied in texture.
If you’ve read a number of my reviews, you may have noticed that I’m somewhat fond of cutting my whisky with a dash of water. Indeed, it often raises eyebrows as I can be quite generous with my dosage!
Usually, I’ll try to get the whisky down to somewhere between 20% and 30% as this is where I feel the aromas truly open to reveal themselves. However, I found that I didn’t need or want to do it at all with this expression. In fact, I find that its thick and viscous profile renders it very easy to sip neat.
Best Pairings With Talisker Port Ruighe
With its smoky profile, it’s no surprise that I’ll be recommending food pairings such as kippers and smoked salmon. I realise that this may be a bit strange if you don’t usually enjoy whisky with a meal. However, I absolutely love bringing these two native products together in a single experience.
With being having rich smoky profiles, they complement each other well and the citrus notes in this case add a wonderful caramelised aspect to the fish. Meanwhile, if it’s season when you’re reading this, consider enjoying a mince pie alongside Port Ruighe. Could you imagine a better fireside experience?
Well, actually, maybe with a cigar! With its ruby body and candied fruit aromas, Talisker Port Ruighe demands a flavoursome and opulent cigar. For instance, Plasencia’s recent award-winning Alma Fuente or Alma del Fuego blends would be excellent choices.
Alternatively, you could consider a Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour or even a Year of the Rat as pictured here.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
While some of Talisker’s designs can come off as a little bit garish that are reminiscent of summertime aftershaves, I’m very fond of this one in particular. In fact, I’d argue that it’s one of my favourite labels.
The navy blue contrasted against the deep red text is eye-catching. Likewise, the slightly sepia background with the stencilled fishing village really brings it home. I’m also fond of the coordinates written into the top right-hand side too.
As for the packaging, it’s effectively an extension of the bottle’s label and looks fantastic. It’s a solid box and although I prefer round tubes, it does the job nicely.
In terms of its appropriate use for different occasions, this is a wonderfully versatile whisky. Indeed, it’s something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sipping alone on a quiet evening with a cigar. However, it’s an excellent choice for special events or after a big dinner with friends.
In terms of value, it’s a little difficult to put my finger on it. This is largely because it’s not easily available in the USA. In France, its price varies between 30€ and 50€ depending on whether you buy it online or in a physical shop.
As I’ve already mentioned on several occasions, Talisker’s Port Ruighe is one of those rare expressions that’s simultaneously complex and easy to drink. Whether you’re looking for something contemplative or a warming experience after a big meal with friends, it’s an excellent companion.
I’m also quite relieved that I’ve managed to finally review it before running out and I plan on finishing it tonight to celebrate!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be an expression that’s readily available in the USA just yet. That said, I keep hearing that it’s remarkably close to their Distiller’s Edition and I’m inclined to agree.
Nevertheless, Port Ruighe’s vinous citrus character isn’t quite as present with the Distiller’s Edition so they’re far from identical.
"Talisker's characteristic smokiness is extended by a rich citrus sourness that adds a caramelised gourmand mouthfeel to the experience."
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