Laphroaig Quartercask | 48.0% | Islay
, Scotland founded: 1815 | active
For more detailed mapping of the distilleries in the area from our whisky map page, use this link
Meet #12 | 02/07/11 | Hosted by Adam
A modern classic gets reviewed this month, the Laphroig Quartercask. Will it live up to its burgeoning reputation? And how will it compare to other peat monsters?
Imagine a coastal oil refinery and you're almost bang on the money: not just tar, but bitumen, iodine and lots of coal-tar soap. There's loads of sea salt here and seaweed bridges the gap from the water to the refinery. On the way, a whale has carelessly left its blubber to filter up the nose, perhaps helping to fertilise the landscape, as first nettles and then geraniums flourish. This small hint of sweetness comes full circle with a whiff of cocunut and then finally, as if to wrap up the sweetness and the saltiness, there's a big dump of liquorice. SMELL IT. GO ON.
Flavours really open up on the palate - much more sweet fruitiness than on the nose. Oranges, cherries and ripe pears burst onto the scene and Christmas cake and marzipan hint at the sugary direction we're heading in. Vanilla fudge, chocolate and molasses make this sweetness more obvious, but although sticking out, this sweet kid on the block still has competition. There's no getting away from the tar, bitumen and (sea) salt of the nose but this time it's complemented with a more savoury offering of paprika and slightly burnt pork sausages.
The Quartercask aims to recreate an older style of whisky production.
Finish & Comments
It's hard to define the finish as anything but extra long, although some doubt eventually creeps in. This dram is unusually variant across the nose, taste and finish as new sets of flavours become apparent. Spice first: paprika, chili and burnt embers. Next up, citrus: zesty lemons and a general citrusiness. Finally, there's a little tip of the hat to the underlying refinery: this time in the form of road works. As if to offer a tantalising glimpse of the next episode, a wee bit o' beeswax comes in right at the last.
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
90 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Tasting Game Points (out of 6)
[ for other thoughts on whisky and more in-depth activities of the group, check out whisky on meiotic