Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Reviewed by: Nick

Laphroaig Quarter Cask whisky waffle

At the time, this was the most expensive bottle of whisky I had ever bought. My best friend, co-writer and co-drinker Ted, had just bought a bottle of Lagavulin 16 and I convinced myself I needed to follow suit with something equally special. So I parted with more money than a uni student like me would normally spend in a month, and took the plunge into the world of Islay whiskies. I was not disappointed.

While this whisky may be younger than 10 years (no age statement is provided, so it’s hard to be sure) it has been matured in smaller ‘quarter’ casks, hence the name of the expression. The reduction in barrel size ensures the spirit has had more contact with the wood than it would usually be allowed (Laphroaig claim 30% more!) and suddenly a more complex, more dynamic whisky is born.

There is still plenty of peat on offer here. However, while the 10 Year Old is merely smouldering, the Quarter Cask is burning intensely: it is the whisky equivalent of a blazing bonfire.

Coastal elements are present on the nose; a sea breeze of salt, brine and seaweed. The fire transfers to the palate: the increased bottling level of 48% gives this whisky the kick and spice that the 10 Year Old lacks. Sweeter flavours come through: toffee, treacle, cocoa, even caramel. The finish is lengthy and memorable. Huge gusts of smoke roll across the palate, and linger for minutes afterwards.

Peated whisky is made by many distilleries. But rarely has one got it as right as this. There is without doubt still a sense of rawness about it. In no way can it be described as the smoothest, most elegant, or even the best whisky you will taste. But all these elements, remarkably, work in its favour. This is peated whisky. This is Islay.

★★★★

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13 comments

  1. The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is one of my favourites… And probably the next one I should review, myself. Great line, “But rarely has one got it as right as this.” I couldn’t agree more!

    One question, though, what is a bottle of LQC worth down under? Here in Alberta, Canada, it is one of the most affordable priced single malts available and, in my opinion, an absolute bargain!

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, I particularly love this one as hope the review shows!
      in Aus, the Quarter Cask will cost about A$110 (about the same as CA$) which can expected from most quality single malts here, annoyingly. How much would you find a bottle for over your side of the world?

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  2. You boys are getting good at this. And I am pleased you are fans of Islay (Pronounced eyelay as in island and not izlay as in moron) whiskies. And now that I am a pensioner I will have to make do with my own make.

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    1. Thanks very much! There are few things on this world better than a peated Islay malt. And the actual island is an absolutely magical place!
      As for your own make – sounds ok to me! We’ll have to try some one day.
      Keep on waffling,
      Nick

      Like

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