If you believe Ralfy, then this is a great whisky! He recently gave it an 89, along with his general disclaimer (just one man's opinion, folks, bla bla bla).
Considering Ralfy's experienced, sensitive, and frankly expert palate (despite his famous tendency to add more than enough water and ruin more than a few drams of brilliant Scotch as a result), I have a serious problem believing he really thinks this whisky deserves an 89. So what's the alternative? Why would he give it such a high mark if he really doesn't think that? Maybe "just one man's opinion" comes at a price. And maybe that price isn't so shabby when the Man in Question happens to get nearly twenty thousand views for a vlog about . . . you guessed it, Quinta Ruban.
As for me, I say it like it is, and this whisky is middling at best. It's overly sweet cloying and pedestrian. Quinta Ruban is for people who don't know good whisky and don't really care. It's mass produced average whisky that isn't horrible but isn't good either. I'd rather drink a Quinta than a cheap blend.
I'd rather drink a Quinta than similarly priced Glenfiddich or Cutty Sark or Glenlivet. I'd rather drink a Quinta than a glass of E150a with a bit of Dalmore in it (which is what most lower end Dalmores taste like to me). I'd rather drink Quinta than McClelland's.
Then again, I'd rather drink a nice glass of wine or a Bombay Saphire martini, or a nice glass of tequila than a Quinta Ruban. And that's saying something . . . because my favorite kind of drink, by far, is Scottish whisky.
There are plenty of great sherry bombs out there. I love a good sherry bomb. Just because it's really sweet doesn't mean it's really good, however. Dr. Bill Lumsden strikes (out) again. Yes, his higher end Glenmorangies can sometimes be quite good. Usually, they are not. And neither are his choices in exotic cask wood for his pricey "experiments."
Every once in a while, Bill creates a winner, but I have to think that these rare exceptions are probably the handiwork of those working for him that are finally set free to work as they will on a pet project. And, no, I don't believe Bill's nostalgic coming of age story about his brother's electric guitar being destroyed when he and his friend had their first taste of whisky. Seems like a tall tale concocted for the lecture circuit to me.
This said, if you get a chance to see Dr. Bill give a lecture, GO! He's great, but he's at his best when he's a trainwreck, which is the way he was when I saw him a few year's back. He told the most horrible, disgusting, depraved jokes that made the whole pub squirm and that's saying something. I didn't care for his jokes, but seeing a trainwreck like that was worth every penny.
No, the Glenmorangie pours at the tasting weren't worth the cost, and the food wasn't worth the cost, but Bill's trainwreck most certainly was. Especially after the break when he came back to the stage all wired up and ready to go. Sniff, sniff. It was like seeing Keith Richards speak about whisky. I would pay to see that, as well, of course. All hail the gods of chaos.
"Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous," quoth Grandpa Lovey (HPL).
Now what was I saying? Ah, yes, the Quinta . . . well, I wouldn't ramble on like this if I were reviewing a whisky worthy of tasting notes or craft related insights. In this case, I've unbuttoned my top button and spoken a bit of candid truth. Please pardon the liberties I've taken here in my review of this whisky if any of them have given offense.
Personally, I'd rather eat a nice, juicy, corned beef Rueben sandwich on Jewish marble rye than drink a glass of Bill's infamously middling Ruban. But I would most certainly NOT wash down that delightful sandwich with a glass of Manischewitz. No, I'd rather wash down the last bite with a glass of . . . . Quinta Ruban than that horrible swill that passes for wine.
Quinta Ruban is most definitely not swill. It's just okay. It's worthy of buying your kid when he or she graduates undergraduate college. It's worth buying for your doorman who faithfully protected your apartment building during the Covid plague and sanitized the elevator buttons on your behalf. It's worth serving at a Halloween party costume party for friends dressed as clergy, nuns, and apostles who are Scotch heathens despite themselves. It's generally pleasing to the palates of the uninitiated, and the great unwashed, and, yes, it's sold at a fair price.
Here are my tasting notes on a bottle at my friend Bobby's house that he bought in 2019, and is now three quarters empty:
Nose: Orchard pitted fruits, cashew, cheap port dried in the bottom of a glass, peach Jolly Rancher (artificial chemical).
Mouth: Nice viscosity, creamy; there's that cheap dried port flavor; espresso bean; citrus (mandarine orange); Chinese freeze dried peanuts; white chocolate; chickory; beignet crust; marzipan.
Finish: medium in length with a hint of black pepper (oak tannin), chickory, and peach Jolly Rancher again.
Christopher Null, of Drinkhacker fame, gave Quinta Ruban an A- last year in one of his reviews. I'm not surprised, considering the fact that Null's website often caters to the tastes of the Great Unwashed with their middling yet ravenous palates.
I do find it more than a little ironic that a man whose last name literally means "zero" chooses not to give number scores to the drinks he reviews.
Be this as it may, Christopher's rating system is "null and void" when it comes to his review of the Ruban. He tends to adjust his reviews to readership, and that's probably a saavy decision, at least from a marketing perspective, worthy of a Dot Com brainchild.
Christopher Null made his fortune in the Internet revolution before the walls came tumbling down . . . after which point, he shifted the focus of his existence to all things great and small--things worthy of compartmentalizing into tumblers (or glencairns).