Laphroaig Quarter Cask is the first peaty single malt I ever bought. I have tried other Laphroaigs before, but had never purchased a whole bottle for personal consumption at home. I got this in fall 2014 just around the time the Quarter Cask was introduced at LCBO and started to replace the 10 year old one at most stores. A bottle set me back $72.95 which was about $8 cheaper than the 10 year old at the time.
What is a Quarter Cask?
So where does the Quarter Cask name come from and what does it mean? I didn’t know that and neither did the helpful LCBO staff so I had to find out. According to Laphroaig, the Quarter Cask scotch is double barrel aged. Scotch that is still maturing in the first barrel is transferred to a second, quarter cask and left to finish maturation. The barrels in which this particular scotch finishes maturation are just a quarter of the regular ones.
For the first sampling, I had the scotch neat. Like other Laphroaigs, this one is so peaty that the smokey, salty aromas fill the air around the glass immediately. The extra alcohol also helps spread the fumes. Up close you get very intense burnt peat aroma with subtle hints of leather and tropical fruits. A swirl reveals the oily and rich nature of the scotch. The liquid tends to stick to the walls forming slow moving tears.
The palate complex with multiple layers. Smoke is present all throughout but some sweet banana and butter notes come out here are there. The finish is warm, long, a touch salty with spices and once again – smokey.
For the second sampling, I got myself a glass full of water and a straw to measure out how much water I am adding. About 5 drops really opened up the aroma and added a sweet caramel layer. The smokiness was rounded off too. The palate did not undergo a significant change, though there seemed to be a bit more of the sweet banana peels near the end. The finish remained the same.
I have been slowly getting into peaty scotches and this is a great one to have at home. Can’t wait to keep drinking and adding more to the collection.