Sunday, April 10, 2011

Laphroaig quarter cask

Low on single malt Scotch Whisky stock in my cabinet, I dutifully headed out to the local state liquor establishment to select a bottle to replenish the inventory.  All the usual suspects are there (Glen this and that) but I want something more unique and less typical.  I spy a bottle labeled quarter cask which piques my interest.  I read the fine print, which raises the eyebrows more than once, and then proceed to the checkout.  A bottle of this golden elixir is now mine.

Laphroaig quarter cask is allegedly a throw back to a few centuries ago.  This local whisky might have been transported via mule over cattle paths to avoid paying duties.  (Check out the link above from the distiller, it is quite interesting)  Oh, and according to Wikipedia it is pronounced lÉ™-FROYG.

Before you open the bottle, you learn it is an Islay malt, 48% abv, with a golden amber color.  Pop the cork and you are greeted with a most unusual nose.  It certainly is peaty, but a muted soft peat, and perhaps a hint of the sea in the smell and then smoke.  There is something else in the smell that I have been struggling to identify, almost an aromatic rubber like smell but not quite rubber.  Looking for inspiration, I went to some reviews and one called it band aids.  That is exactly it, there is a smell that is like a freshly opened metal box of band aids!  You might think this is an unpleasant mix, but it is not.

Due to the high alcohol content, I decided to add some water.  Normally, I take my Scotch neat.  It was very smooth.  There were tastes of sweet peat, smoke, a hint of citrus and some other tastes hovering just out of my reach.  Alas, I think I added too much water.  Even considering that it had a very long finish.  

This is a very nice Scotch, one that will take more of my time to explore.  I will take the next glass neat, and report on the findings.  Even with my over watered faux pas, it was quite pleasant.  I recommend you try it if for nothing more than the singular experience.


  1. I've never acquired a taste for Scotch. This maybe because the only Scotch I've had have been the cheaper ones, Johnny Walker just to name one. I'm dedicated to Bushmills, it has become the only whiskey which graces my liquor cabinet.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. @chris - if I can make an analogy, moderately priced blended Scotch whisky is to a light lager as a single malt Scotch whisky is to a micro-brew old country style ale. I like Bushmills and it was a gateway whiskey for me to higher quality distills. Beware, single malt Scotch is habit forming.

  3. This is one of those scotches that I always see and am sure I've tried but can never remember if I liked it and I'm afraid to spend money to try it again. Unforgettable name at least. I'll give it a go again next pub I see it in - no sense buying a whole bottle, and I'm definitely not spending anything on the omnipresent Glen twins either.

  4. Yes, Laphroaig is a classic, and it puts all the other peat-fired scotches in perspective. A few drops or a teaspoon of water (or a half ice cube) is enough, otherwise the smoke and everything else can start to make it taste like bong water. Jolly good.


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