McGregor Recommends: Talisker Port Ruighe
McGregor Recommends is a blog series of single malt whisky recommendations from James McGregor. James has owned The Royal McGregor for more than 15 years. He has a passion for single malt whisky and sharing his favourite malts with customers.
James has hosted whisky tastings at The Royal McGregor as well as various venues around Edinburgh for several years.
In March, we are continuing our monthly series where I review and recommend the best single malt whiskies on the market.
This month, we're heading to the Isle of Skye to review Talisker's Port Ruighe.
A relatively new malt, Port Ruighe was first released in 2013 as an addition to Talisker's range. The distillery took their classic Skye whisky and finished it off in ruby port casks which rounded its edges and gave the malt a rich, fruity sweetness.
The Talisker distillery dates back to 1825, when brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill arrived on Skye from neighbouring island, Eigg. Five years later, the brothers built the Talisker Distillery.
By the early 1900s, Talisker has cemented itself as one of the best selling whiskies in Scotland. The popularity of the distillery meant more money for the owners, and they were able to build their own pier, tramway and worker housing on Skye.
Like a lot of distilleries throughout Scotland, Talisker halted production in the early 40s to conserve barley during WW11, and in 1960, a fire ripped through the distillery and completely destroyed its stillhouse.
The distillery carried on, and in 1962, rebuilt its stillhouse with replica stills that were still heated with coal.
The master distillers at Talisker say Port Ruighe is "a toast to the Scottish traders who braved the high seas and were instrumental in the foundation of the port wine trade."
Even the name is significant; it is pronounced ‘Portree’, the Gaelic spelling of the once-bustling trading port on Skye. If you're wanting to really taste Skye, the malt manages to capture the Isle's maritime history and blend it with rich berry fruits for a superb taste experience.
Need the finer details? Let’s get tasting!
Appearance: Dark, rich amber gold.
Maturation: Double matured in port casks.
Nose: Instant, very well balanced and sweet, yet not cloying; overall, rather like the sweet smokiness of a fading wood fire with the fruity richness of ripe plums. The smoke soon parts to reveal a layer of honeyed malt and creamy toffee.
Palate: Smooth and mouth-coating: the spicy pepper on the tongue rapidly grows into peatiness with a difference, as a creamy smokiness mingles with spice and dark fruits. The earthy, soft notes found in a French chocolate tart are balanced by the bite of red fruit, cherry or plum; then a wave of softly drying volcanic smoke introduces superb, chewy malt.
Finish: Long, memorable and mouth-filling, leaving on the tongue an appealing and intense cocoa-rich drying smokiness.
Perfect Serve: Neat. Always neat.
Pair it with: The distillery recommends an extra-aged Comté cheese. Its soft texture and depth tames the Talisker and makes its spicy, green flavours more accessible.
Overall Taste Map
Why you should try it!
Have you noticed since we started McGregor Recommends that I have a fascination with peated malts?
The Port Ruighe is a fantastic malt to try if you're looking for something different from a peated malt. It has similar characteristics to the Talisker Skye with the thicker, oilier mouthfeel and wood smoke. The malt manages to take on even more characteristics from the maturation in the port casks, which give it a rich and distinctive plum and chocolate flavour.