Laphroaig Quarter Cask, NAS, 48 %
The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is, for me at least, becoming something of a classic. It does not quite reach the heights of the Laphroaig 10 YO Cask Strength, but it is a strong contender.
This whisky was introduced in 2004. The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is double matured. First maturation is done in the standard ex-bourbon barrels at Laphroaig, then it is transferred to quarter casks. A quarter cask is about 125 liters in size, half the size of a hogshead.
Nose (23/25): Warm, full and rich. We are on Islay, that is for sure. Vanilla sweet wood smoke, earthy peat, bread crust, banana and a hint of mint and iodine.
Taste (23/25): Super smooth! Creamy vanilla meets a full-on peat attack. It is gritty, chewy and in your face. I love the peppery punch as well. It soon settles down and you get more of the creamy sweetness. Lots of vanilla here, and a nice and mellow oakiness. It has a slight hint of something medicinal.
Finish (22/25): Warm and medium length on the finish. Vanilla, oak and caramel. It is full-bodied and creamy all the way.
Balance (22/25): The smaller casks used in the second maturation gives more vanilla and more oak, due to the increased wood contact, and it suits this whisky very well.