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Earlier today I reviewed the standard ten year bottle of Laphroaig single malt whisky. I mentioned that I quite like this whisky but it's not one of my favourites. I also mentioned there are better version of Laphroaig which I much prefer. So now I am reviewing my current favourite Laphroaig whisky and one of my top ten whiskies of all time, which is saying something!
So this one is called the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. This is one that you can still find in some of the Supermarkets and it seems to be springing up in more and more places as it grows in popularity. If you do a quick search for this online you find that it won an award in 2012 and it came runner up in the no age statement category in the awards given by the Whisky Bible which is a big honour for any whisky.
So what exactly is the difference between the standard ten year version and the Quarter Cask? Well the stuff they put in the bottle isn't really all that different, it's how they age the stuff that makes it taste different. So they put this is a standard cask for five years then they transfer it to a quarter cask which is basically much smaller than the standard casks. They leave the whisky in this for a further seven months to give it it's intense flavour.
So what does it taste like? Well quite simply it's divine. Everything that I don't like about the original version is better with this one. The flavour is still very sharp and you get that same saltiness and you also get a peppery taste which really leaves your tongue tingling. The finish is a little smoother than the standard version and it is much more pleasant. This is a very warming whisky that has a heavy peat taste and a lovely smokey flavour.
This version is stronger than your average whisky and comes in at a weighty 48%. Some people recommend adding a tiny splash of water to this one but it's all down to personal preference really. When it comes to price it's quite reasonable, usually it's around £32 in the supermarkets although I did get it on offer from Tesco for £26 just before Christmas. So this version will cost you a little more than the standard ten year Laphroaig but it's worth every penny in my opinion.
So overall I would have to say this whisky gets a big thumbs up from me. It's one that I will probably buy again in the future and although it's not quite into my top five of all time, it's not a million miles away. So if you enjoy a peaty Islay whisky that has an intense smokey flavour and a wonderful finish, then this one could well be for you.
It's really hard to try and describe this whisky to anyone that isn't familiar with any of the other Laphroaigs, and one of the best names that me and a few friends came up with one night was 'Laphtoaig GTi'. Let me explain...
If you are familiar with any of the Islay Whiskies then you will know that they are an acquired taste- really peaty, really smoky and not for the faint hearted. Now the quarter cask takes this idea of big bold flavours and then takes it up a few steps, creating something that is even more peaty and has an even bigger smokey flavour.
Now this is all managed by reducing the size of the cask that the whisky is left in, reducing the size of the cask means that the ratio of whisky to barrel is greater and more of the oaky flavours can be absorbed to enhance the flavourings. Apparently 1/4 size casks are also greater at 'breathing' in air from its surroundings, so no doubt the boys up at the distillery knew this and played to their advantage by finding some of the best spots to let this sit.
Packaging wise, this is very similar to any other Laphroaig whisky, it comes in a very nicely presented round box and the bottle fits very snuggly inside of it. It also comes with a little leaflet telling you all about the history of the brand - don't throw this out, inside of it is actually a little code that if you register online you get to 'own' a small plot of land in their grounds and if you ever get to go up there you can claim your 'rent' as a wee dram of whisky (a really nice touch!).
In terms of price, this is a little more expensive than the standard 10 year bottle (£30) but a LOT cheaper than the geourgous 18 year old bottle (£70). It comes in at a very modest £32, and for what you are getting, this is an absolute steal!
I would recommend this to anyone that is a fan of BIG flavour whiskies that wants to try something a bit new or even someone that wants to give Islay whiskies a try for the first time - you wont be dissapointed
Whisky. The additional oak influence creates a soft sweetness and velvety feel when first tasted, then the intense peatiness so unique to Laphroaig, comes bursting through. The finish is very long and alternates between the sweetness and the peat.