Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whisky review: Laphroaig Quarter Cask

This bottling is from Laphroaig, one of the distilleries on Islay that prides itself on peaty expressions. This particular whisky has been aged in bourbon casks and then finished in quarter casks (which are about a quarter the size of a typical bourbon barrel, or around 10 gallons). Quarter casks are said to have been popular back in the 1800s because they were easier for pack animals to carry than a full cask. I like to think it was because you could polish off a quarter cask and still make it to work on time the next morning.

Since the quarter cask has more surface area per volume in contact with the spirit, it imparts greater flavor.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Islay)

Appearance: Clear gold.

Nose: Peat, brine, barbecue.

Palate: Peat and smoke melting into some sweet vanilla.

Finish: Green grass or something else very vegetative. Lingering peat.

Rating (of 100): 88. It's like the suave cousin of the Laphroaig 10, though sometimes I prefer a little more brashness.

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