Port-Finished Whiskey to Drink Right NowBy Stephanie Moreno
While former sherry wine casks are often the go-to finishing barrel of choice for whiskey makers, there are other wine casks to consider. For example, port wine, a fortified wine from Portugal, can enhance a whiskey with a bit of sweetness and fruit while offering up some complexity to the dram. There are many port-finished whiskey makers on the market these days. Just find your favorite whiskey style such as bourbon, rye or single malt. There’s bound to be a brand using port casks, or pipes as they are called in the industry.
Another key point about port wine: it’s terrific when served with dessert. Consequently, the same rings true for port-finished whiskey. If your bottle specifies that ruby port casks were used, try to pair your whiskey with creamy cheeses or chocolate desserts. Or if tawny port casks were used, consider nutty cheeses or fruit desserts to pair with your dram. Of course, serving port-finished whiskey on its own would be fine as well, especially on a chilly night.
This release from High West is made from a blend of straight rye whiskeys from MGP and High West. The rye is then finished in French oak and ex-port barrels. The name is a take off of Shakespeare’s famous play as this dram is a perfect way to keep you warm on a midwinter night. This port-finished whiskey is a seasonal release with different year releases listed as different acts. The scenes are just different bottling days.
Dewar’s Portuguese Smooth is the third release in the brand’s double-aged blended Scotch whisky cask-finished series. The blend is aged for 8 years and is finished in casks that previously held ruby port wine.
This bourbon brand is named after Thomas S. Moore who in 1889 founded the distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky now known as Barton 1792. However, it closed in 1920 due to Prohibition. This release is made using the distillery’s signature high-rye bourbon mash bill. It’s aged for an undisclosed amount of years in new, charred oak barrels before it is finished in the secondary port casks for 1-3 years. Limited availability began in December 2020 with additional cask finishes to be released each fall.
Glenmorangie increased its age statement from 12 to 14 years for its Quinta Ruban expression back in summer 2019. The initial maturation remains the same with the first 10 years spent in ex-bourbon casks. But the whisky is finished for four rather than two years in former ruby port casks. Quinta Ruban 14 Year is non-chill-filtered and bottled at 46% ABV. The packaging has been updated from a black label to a green label.
This port-finished whiskey from Milam & Greene is made using rye whiskey sourced from MGP in Indiana. Then the whiskey is matured and batched in Texas where the brand resides. It’s finished in port wine casks and bottled at 94 proof.
One of the largest distilleries in Scotland, Tomatin operates twelve stills that produce five million liters annually. This single malt spends about thirteen years in ex-bourbon casks before being moved into very old port pipes (which had previously matured tawny port for fifty years) for a final period of maturation. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
This port-finished whiskey begins with Kentucky straight bourbon that is aged for around 6 years. Then the brand blends eight to 12 barrels to make each batch. Angel’s Envy gets 60-gallon ruby port barrels made from French oak sent to the distillery from Portugal to finish the maturation process. Then the bourbon spends three to six months finishing in the port wine barrels. The brand also makes a cask strength version which is released each year.
This Port Wood Finish is one of three releases in the second batch of Wood Finishes crafted by Master Distiller Billy Walker. This single malt first matured in American oak for 9 years before being re-racked into former ruby port pipes to finish maturation. It’s bottled at 48% ABV without chill filtration.
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