[Review] Laphroaig - Quarter Cask 48%

My last post made me realised that despite having mentioned the Quarter Cask (QC) a few times in different posts, I had not actually reviewed it on its own, hence tonight's review. The QC was the first Laphroaig I bought and properly tried. I have actually not even really tasted the standard 10 years old, something I will have to remedy soon. I remember when I bought the bottle. I had experienced the Bowmore Small Batch followed by the Caol Ila 12 and thought it was time to go further in my 'peat journey'. Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin therefore seemed to be obvious contenders. Ardbeg and Lagavulin being more expensive I decided to opt for Laphroaig and as the QC was on offer for around £30, I picked one up. 
I was also intrigued by that quarter cask business. I googled it to get more information, and found that after maturing their whisky in standard ex-bourbon barrels, Laphroaig transferred the spirit into quarter casks for a further period of maturation. The quarter cask is, as its name suggests, smaller than a standard barrel as it only contains 125 liters of spirit compared to 200 for a standard bourbon barrel or 500 for a sherry butt. The fact that it is smaller means more interaction between the spirit and the oak wood and so a quicker maturation. On the packaging for the QC, you also learn that it was frequently used to transport whisky across the Glens in the 19th century, as it could fit on a horse. So after that piece of history, and the fact that it is, in my mind, a good whisky to add to many a dish, how does it actually taste on its own?


Despite stating in German that caramel has been added, the QC is rather pale straw in colour. I also presume it was chill-filtered even if when adding water you can see swirls appearing in the glass, so the chill-filtration does not look excessive. It was bottled at quite a high ABV for a widely available bottle, 48%, which in my opinion is a great thing. 

Nose: Round and warm, sweet cereal, barley, iodine, some medicinal peat (typical of Laphroaig), some blue cheese, hints of liquorice, toast and clove.

Palate: Sweet and peaty, a very nice balance of both, vanilla, fresh barley sweetness, some oak notes, fresh fruit too with some pear. The medicinal peat is more present on the palate in my mind with some ash, bonfire coals and spices.

Finish: The sweetness is still there with hints of pepper, but the peaty ash/coal lingers for longer. Quite dry but wonderful.

With water: Fresher, fruitier nose with hints of tropical fruit. The sweet peat re-appears on the palate with some toffee notes. The finish is a bit sweeter too but still relatively dry with the peaty ash coming back soon after, to remain for quite a while. 

From the moment I poured myself the first dram of Laphroaig QC I knew it was a winner. It was much stronger than my previous peaty bottles and I do not fancy heavily peated whisky everyday, but when I am in the mood for one, I must say it is an amazing one to go to. I love the fact that you can taste the sweet barley alongside the medicinal peat, as this makes for an incredibly round dram. And as a bonus, as you saw with previous posts, it is also perfect to add to some selected dishes. I am coming towards the end of my bottle but there will definitely be another one on my shopping list soon as it is really one of the best value bottle for any peat lover! 

The Triple wood is also one to look for. It basically is the QC which has been transferred into ex-Oloroso Sherry casks for the end of the maturation process. I got to try it not long ago and it is undoubtedly a bottle which will find its way into my collection at some point... soon!


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