Islay Whisky · Whisky Reviews

#18 Laphroaig Quarter Cask – A good deal in a sea of obscenely priced NAS whiskies.

Review #18 Laphroaig Quarter Cask 81/100

I have a lot of love for NAS whiskies, but also a fair bit of hate; today I am just going to focus on the good and one of my favourite go-to daily drams, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

The laphroaig Quarter Cask was first released in 2004, it is first aged for 5 years in bourbon casks before being transferred for a final short term of several months in a quarter cask.

A quarter cask is kind of what the name implies, it is much smaller than a standard bourbon cask.  What this means is that the ageing process is accelerated, due to a change in surface area to volume ratio, meaning that the conditions are better favoured for the spirit to leech flavours out of the wood.  This is a perfect example of a good NAS whisky, it tastes absolutely fantastic, and it is well priced usually around £35 a bottle, but I just picked one up for £25 which made my day!

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So let’s get to it…Out of the bottle and into the glass the whisky pours the deep, golden amber colour, which brings me to my only bad point about the whisky…I seem to remember a statement on the bottle which read ‘natural colour’, there is no longer such a statement which leads me to believe they are now using an addition of E150a (caramel colouring).  While this does not impart any flavour on the whisky, it is simply used to create uniformity of product, which I can understand but I still don’t appreciate it, but I’ll talk about that another time.

Where were we? Oh…On the nose a gargantuan clean out of the nostrils with a heavy dose that decedent Islay peat smoke, following up with buttery fudge, burnt sugar, muesli, salt beaten driftwood and a touch of phenol.

On the palate, the whisky produces a chewy, oily mouthfeel producing a massive sweetness with a little spice, like cinnamon buns covered in demerera sugar.

Finishing up the QC produces flavours of dried fruit, with a little volatile phenol vapour and the full bodied flavour of a Cohiba cigar.

This really is one of the best NAS whiskies I’ve ever tried, and I’ll always try to keep a bottle handy at home.

Cheers

Matt

 

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