Continuing our series of Laphroaig reviews is a look at Laphroaig Quarter Cask. This no age statement whisky from the Islay distillery is an attempt to ramp up the oak influence. Bottled at a hearty 48% abv, Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a doozy of a whisky and shouldn’t be taken lightly because of a lack of an age statement. What they’ve done here is transfer still-maturing whiskey from traditional ex-bourbon barrels to smaller quarter casks. The smaller barrels create more contact with wood versus traditional barrels, thus giving the whisky a bit more oak, vanilla and caramel flavors to balance with the distillery’s traditional briny peat smoked style. Another thing to note is that this whisky has not been chill filtered, so all those flavor-carrying fatty acids still remain.
The nose here is still typical Laphroaig style, with that ashy smoke and briny punch. Look past that and take notice of the influence of the quarter casks. There’s a lovely vanilla and sweet toffee characteristic here, as well as a nutty and very slight fruity note. This is much sweeter than the standard 10-year-old Laphroaig. The entry begins with caramel and smoke, almost like barbecued meat. A toasted barley note follows, as does some nuttiness. The finish here is long, with a sweet toffee note mixed with some smoke.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a nice mix of sweet and smoky. It’s a fantastic alternative to their standard 10-year-old expression, showcasing what influence small oak casks have over a peaty whisky. It really reminds me of a summer time barbecue, and what’s not to like about that? Recommended!