Review No.38 – Talisker Port Ruighe

5 months to write another review; a personal record in my lazy-bastard approach to document the meandering, jovial whisky journey I’m on. Or not on, as for the past two weeks and counting I haven’t had a single whisky, and my self-imposed hiatus will persist for the foreseeable future.

Raging alcoholic needing a break? Not yet, but at 37 and a marriage on the horizon, I have made a concerted effort to keep all my bad habits in check in the faintly optimistic hope I make 50.

Setting aside all the anti-social, general-public-hating positives that lockdown had, it also saw, in my case at least, a spike in alcohol consumption, particularly as weekdays merged in to weekends. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic meant I had turfed any semblance of discipline and self-control out the window, convinced The End Of Days were upon us, and any future I had would see me wander the already-apocalyptic road network of Northern Ireland in a shit re-make of a Cormac McCarthy book.

With physical social interactions non-existent, an increase of virtual tastings and drunken Zoom calls, and more time spent on Twitter all leading to an even-greater awareness of new releases, meant I was even more susceptible to the auld Whisky FOMO which blights us all.

It’s also lead to the epiphany of how much I consume whisky. It’s a lot more than I should have been for personal health reasons.

So, that’s where I am at: nae drinking whisky, a collection that slowly grows, and every day closer to achieving the fabled half century. 2034, here I come.

Luckily, I also have a backlog of reviews and, with an average publication time of 1 every 6 weeks, I should have more pish to post soon.

Now, the dram. Nothing wild. This return to reviewing after time away isn’t the Tour de Force of, say, Madonna’s 1998 comeback hit, Frozen, which is a banger, or Bob Distilled’s recent whisky musing, but more of a respectable return, say Take That in 2005, with me not drinking whisky acting as a metaphor for Robbie Williams’ absence.

Talisker Port Ruighe. A popular offering from Skye’s main distillery and named after the wee port that inevitably played an historically large part in Talisker’s story, and the seamen that set sail and were integral to the creation of port wine trade routes. You know the storied script by now – a romanticized nod to a distillery’s home; it’s just missing the industry-standard of smugglers and illicit distilling.

The Port Ruighe whisky is part of the distillery’s core range and is certainly one of their better releases – given the competition includes Storm and Skye, I must admit that it’s faint praise. Like being the tallest dwarf or the funniest comedian on Mock The Week.

I did enjoy the Port Ruighe. It’s a nice embracing whisky which is letdown in the main by the price – it normally retails around the £50 region, which is mildly offensive, although it can be found for around the £40 mark if you are prepared to look.

Bottled at a fair to middling 45.8% and with a faintly pink glimmer, it certainly has that appearance of a port finish whisky.

Nose: Distant smoke and smatterings of dark fruit – quite plummy. Sports Mixture too, with a distinct sweet shop pleasantness. A leathery mustiness that creeps in after a few minutes.

Palate: Oak, cracked black pepper, ash. Blackcurrant jam – sweet and tart at points.

Finish: Fairly short with a sweetness on the tongue, followed by a dusting of white pepper.

So, the Port Ruighe? It won’t set the heather alight, but for a port finished NAS this is actually quite a decent whisky. Slightly overpriced, but you could do far worse, like buying Talisker Storm or Skye.

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