What is a finish you might ask? Well, the whisky usually starts is aging in a certain barrel, usually a new charred oak barrel or a used charred oak barrel. Some distillers then opt to put it into a different barrel to finish its aging process. This allows the whisky to absorb some of the prior contents of the barrel that is captured in the wood. In the case of these expressions, they finished their aging process in barrels that once held port wine.
Port wine finishing generally imparts floral, sweet notes to the whisky.
As is usual, our tasters ranked each from their least favorite, giving it five points, to their favorite, giving it one point. At the end of the tasting the numbers were added up and the ranking was set. Each taster also added notes about their findings with each.
5th Place: Virginia – Highland Whisky, 46% ABV, Scotch, $50
Light on the nose, Tastes unfinished, Oily, Earthy flavor but no port, Sweet on the palate, Smokey, Light peat, Clean finish.
4th Place: Glenmorangie – Quinta Ruban, 46% ABV, Single Malt Scotch, 14 years old, $48
Apple bouquet, Cedar nose, Hint of milk chocolate, Finish of oak, Very smooth finish.
3rd Place: Isaac Bowman, 46% ABV, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $36
Well rounded, Good bit of spice, A solid bourbon, Taste of roses, A bit too spicy, Lingering finish.
2nd Place: Tyrconnell, 46% ABV, Single Malt Irish Whisky, Aged 10 years, $50
Malt on the nose, Caramel taste, Light chocolate comes through, Vanilla and coconut on the palate, Lacks strong finish.
1st Place: The Dalmore – Reserve, 46.5% ABV, Single Malt Scotch, $86
Fruity nose, Taste of vanilla, Raisins and plums, Very oaky, Would pair nicely with a cigar, Mild finish.
Personally I ranked the Glenmorangie in 2nd place, but what do I know
Thanks again to our tasters and their thoughts on the expressions.