The Talisker Port Ruighe (Portree) is named after the island’s capital town and to make the name a bit of a gimmick they also decided to finish the whisky in port casks. Apart from the town name and the ‘port’ pun it’s also a tribute to the famous port trading houses of Scotland from yonder year. Cockburn’s, Graham’s and many others had their roots in Scotland.
This expression came out in a year that Talisker also released the Storm and Dark Storm so it seems they are quickly making their way to NAS whiskies. I expect this is because Diageo is going to need more older stock soon to keep up with their 18 year old (and older) expression.
I tried the Talisker Storm at several occasions and while it’s a fairly unrefined dram, I kind of liked it since it showcases a very old fashioned, spirit driven whisky that doesn’t taste all that bad. The biggest drawback any Talisker expression has is that it’s always going to be compared to the regular 10 year old, since that’s one bloody great whisky, especially at that price. That also means that those NAS whiskies at increased pricing are going to struggle.
This one then. NAS, which probably means (guessing here) some 8 years old. This I find interesting, since within those eight years they also managed to squeeze in a finish. That then means the finish wasn’t overly long. It doesn’t necessarily have to be since, for example, the Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition is only finished for three months and that’s one noticeable finish!
It’s fairly closed at first with just some sweetness and a timid smoke coming out of the glass. After ten minutes or so it starts opening up and I get crunchy muesli with red fruits. In the Netherlands we have it with freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries and that’s what it reminds me of. Slightly spirity in a good way with some grass and a salty touch.
The palate is light with the typical Talisker crushed black pepper notes. Some smoke and a white oak background (I didn’t see that coming). Red fruit again with ruby port (not tawny). It boils down to Talisker with a drop of port added.
The finish is very similar to the palate, but feels a bit more out of balance. It feels a bit like the port and Talisker whisky haven’t mingled all that well. Sweet, with fresh raspberries, some smoke and a hint of pepper.
I’m not overjoyed by this one. It takes too long for such a youngster to loosen up, and in the end it feels all a bit out of balance. It’s a bit like someone tried to mix Talisker with actual port and not just use a port cask.
The drawback here is, as expected, that it’s not better than the ten year old and since I can get that for € 26, and this for € 42.50 it a rather bad deal. If you’re going to buy any of the NAS ones, I’d go for the Storm, since that just is just Talisker on steroids. I haven’t tried the Dark Storm yet, though.
Anyway, a bit of a letdown, this. I had hoped for a bit more balance and integrated flavors.
Talisker Port Ruighe, NAS, 45.8%. Available in many places though prices vary wildly.