Laphroaig Select & Laphroaig Quarter Cask


We’re looking at two easier to obtain bottles today as we revisit two core range Laphroaig's to see how they stack up against some of the rarer/more expensive releases.

Laphroaig Select

Region: Islay

ABV: 40.0%

Price: £33.00

For Laphroaig Select, the distillery has taken whisky from a number of different cask types, including oloroso sherry butts, white American oak hogsheads, pedro ximenez seasoned hogsheads, quarter casks and first fill bourbon casks.

Nose

Initially on the nose we notice the peat or more specifically iodine, damp earth, TCP, and ash from a smouldering fire. Behind that we’re getting notes of barley sugars, red apples and strawberries. Going back to it after some air and we find notes of honey, double cream, smoked mackerel and oat crackers (oatcakes).

Palate

We’re initially hit by sweetness in the form of vanilla and white sugar cubes. It’s followed by a nice touch of smoke, brine, and ash albeit not as intense as the standard 10. Finally, a warming note lingers on the palate that reminds us of red chilli infused into olive oil. It’s more restrained than we expected, and the palate is a little thin. We think this would have benefited from being bottled at a slightly higher ABV.

Nose (with water)

With the addition of water the iodine and ash becomes more faint but the dirt and TCP notes pull through more strongly now. We’re also now getting some citrus, black tea and costal sea air that wasn’t there pre dilution.

Palate (with water)

With the addition of water heather and mint notes are brought more to the fore of the palate, but at the expense of some of the smokier notes. Water has also drowned the chilli note. Going back to it and a strong lemon juice flavour has appeared. There’s cinnamon and a hint of peat on a reasonable length finish. We’d caution against adding water as it’s very easy to dilute this too much and ruin the dram.

Conclusion

For us this is boring, safe and a little disappointing, and for the price we’d have to recommend you purchase the 10yo instead. However, if you’re new to peated whisky and Laphroaig then this would be a fairly easy entry point to the distillery. We’re giving this a 7/10.

Score: 7/10


Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Region: Islay

ABV: 48.0%

Price: £40.00

Laphroaig Quarter Cask is produced by taking whisky from the standard ex-bourbon barrels that would be used for the 10yo and transferring it to quarter casks for an additional finishing period.

Nose

Initially we’re getting some warm buttered toast, icing sugar, vanilla pods, and chunky peanut butter. There’s some smoke here but it’s like a neighbour is having a BBQ and your getting the second hand smoke from their garden. We were expecting this to be peatier than the select, but it’s not going by the nose. Going back to and we’re also getting some tobacco, and seawater, and basil.

Palate

Initially there’s burnt caramel, honey and vanilla. The peat smoke is there but it’s not packing as big a punch, as it’s overshadowed by the sweeter notes. The peat that is there shows as TCP, and burnt wood. The increased ABV has really helped the mouthfeel and this is oily and mouth coating. It’s got a good length finish with some cinnamon, black pepper and smoke lingering.

Nose (with water)

There’s now a strong citrus note. Behind that we’re finding, smoked apples and a caramel syrup like note. The peat is still in the background, but the neighbours barbecue remains in full swing. The other sweeter notes we got pre-dilution are also still here.

Palate (with water)

The palate has held up well to the addition of water. The smoke and peat has dampened slightly but not by much. The spicier notes on the finish have been slightly intensified by adding water, with more chilli coming through. There is a bitter note dark chocolate note pulling through which wasn’t there pre dilution. Medium finish with a touch of smoke and spice lingering on the palate.

Conclusion

We’d definitely prefer this over the select as the extra ABV has really helped the dram. It’s disappointing that more distilleries don’t bottle at 46% or above as standard, but that’s a discussion for another time. While the quarter cask is our preferred bottle today we’d personally purchase a bottle of Ardbeg Wee Beastie as it’s the same price and a superior dram.

Score: 7/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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