An ounce of just-poured Laphroaig Quarter Cask sits beside me as I write this, and already the smokiness wafts upwards. This is a Scotch for a more advanced drinker for a few reasons; but only because of its heavy peat and blasting character.
Once you check the aroma a few times the smokiness will fade as you become accustomed to it, and you’ll certainly pick up the stronger alcohol content. The nose has been described as earthy, salty, and there’s definitely very little sweetness to it. You know you’re in for a ride before even taking the first taste.
The strength of the scent is deceptive, although the alcohol is definitely apparent. I believe the proper term for this type of whisky would be ‘warm’ and it certainly will warm you up almost immediately. With each sip the complexity increases as the flavours mellow, and sweeter, earthier qualities begin to emerge.
The quarter cask Scotch is produced in casks that are quarter the size of the standard, which allows the oak to really come through. If you like oaky wines or Scotches, you will likely appreciate this one. Although the Scotch is aged well under 10 years, the smaller cask size allows for more surface contact with the cask. So while it is not aged as long, it will have the oak flavour consistent with an older Scotch with less alcohol evaporating (alcohol evaporates as whisky ages in barrels).
Laphroaig is a major producer of Scotch with a history going back to the 1800s. They have several offerings in the LCBO ranging from the $60 range (as is this one) to the $600+ range for their 25 year old single malt. The 10 year old Laphroaig Scotch is the best selling smoky Scotch in the world, and also a good purchase. I’ve yet to try the 18 year old Scotch, but it’s definitely on my list of drinks to have.
Note: Originally published on Spotlight Toronto