A fraction of the size of a standard cask, the Quarter Cask adds gold, literally, to the whisky that is housed in the cask, owing to the larger wood to whisky interaction. This unorthodox maturation technique was almost forgotten; but rekindled by the folks at Laphroaig in the hopes of introducing another poster boy, who could stand alongside the widely famous 10 YO.
Introduced in 2004, the Laphroaig QC is matured in ex-bourbon casks and then further finished in these mini sized 50 litre casks for a few more months, fast forwarding the maturation process. Typical of Laphroaig though unfortunate, is the addition of artificial colouring. However having said that, the whisky isn’t chill filtered but barrier filtered, keeping intact much of those esters and fatty acids that would have otherwise been filtered off.
ABV : 48%
Eye: Deep Gold | Caramel colouring,
Nose: Phenolic and peaty with the sweetness of barley; cigarette ash infused with vanilla, and caramel are accompanied with banana and red apples with savoury sun dried tomatoes. Olive brine, raisins and damp pepper are followed by the spice of green pepper.
Taste: Cigarette ash and brine floods the palate initially, with a lovely lush rum ‘n raisin feel following through. A mild sweetness from caramel and coconuts can be felt in between some grapy yet leathery notes. Spices are subdued due to the overly peaty flavours, but you do get peppery hints with a slight brush of cloves.
Finish: Peat, char and damp wood with a mild medicinal sweetness.
The QC offers a lovely delivery of peat, well amalgamated with caramel, cake and honey providing for a rich, velvety mouth feel. As the laphy rests, it opens up, not only enhancing the experience but also easabtly filling the room with a mild briney, smoky aroma.
With greater detail and layers than most of its travel retail NAS expressions, it allows a great means to experience cigarette ash and seaweed with a spectrum of fruity nuances all inherited from its time harnessing those subtle yet bold flavours from the moment it was malted to the time it gushes out of those wooden oak barrels. The Quarter is well aligned to the Laphroaig branding, representing true islay value, making the $100 USD price tag a worthy buy.