Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Quarter the Cask, Double the Fun: Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Photo by  M Edemoniada
used under CCL
I'm just beginning to crack into the Christmas acquisitions from my lovely family and I'm actually starting off with a bottle gifted by the most wonderful, kind, thoughtful and handsome person I know... me. I was talking about me, I gave it to myself.

I picked up a bottle of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask on offer in Waitrose which we featured in our Best Supermarket Spirit Offers piece, the price was too good to miss and so I caved in.

The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is made in the same way as Laphroaig's standard expression, however the maturation period is different. The whisky is aged for 5 years before then being  moved to the smaller quarter cask for finishing for 7 months. The larger contact with the oak allows for much faster ageing and softens the whisky.

As with the Laphroaig 10yr you can smell this whisky... well, from a foot away, simply having poured it into your glass. The immediate notes are the usual phrenolic, medicinal, iodine and saltwater scents. On top of these are nutty, caramelised whiffs along with stewed raisins and some citrus peel. This is a wonderfully peaty nose with a good deal more complexity than you would expect of a younger dram.

The Quarter Cask is bottled at 48% retaining the oils and flavours which is aided by Laphroaig not using chill-filtration. On the palate there is brief sweetness before a cascade of peat indicators, the iodine, salt, smoke, pepper and chilli. These settle down a sweeter caramelised, syruped finish which comes through clearer with a touch of water, the adding of water also lets citrus notes come to the surface. This whisky doesn't develop amazingly, however it is complex enough to begin with and is wonderfully well put together and integrated.

This is a wonderful Islay whisky and huge plaudits must be given to Laphroaig for this smoky little number. It is fantastically well made, an absolute dream and it really was a stroke of genius to use the reduced size casks allowing the distillery to produce a more developed whisky and still keep the price down.

The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is available from Asda and Waitrose for £36.

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