05 February 2009

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Called the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies, Laphroaig is a heavyweight among Scotland's single malts. A strong smokey peat scent rises from the glass, and is enhanced by the addition of just a little water. Typical of many Islay Scotches, the flavour is very strong, briny and smoky with notes of iodine showing through, and the finish of this 48% abv burns and smokes its way across the palate with a finish that is as full-flavoured as its initial bite. Are you wondering why anyone would drink such a concoction? You probably already have. Laphroaig is used as a base for many popular blended Scotch whiskies, as its full flavour is a great base to build a quality blend upon. But what you have probably tasted in passing is but a ghost compared to a full shot of Laphroaig on its own.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask harkens back to a time when whiskey making was unhurried and an altogether slower process. It is first matured in normal barrels, but is then removed and placed in quarter-sized casks that allow for 60% more contact with the oak wood. This creates a product that is sweeter with a velvetly feel that much more traditional in nature than many whiskies produced today. It is bottled at cask strength, so a little water is recommended to fully bring out the Islay flavour. To complete its traditional profile, Laphroaig Double Cask is not chill-filtered like most of its modern counterparts, which means it will cloud up with the addition of water. The result is a whiskey much like that which was produced 100 years ago.

Upon opening the shipping tube that contained my bottle, I was suprised to find a booklet packed with the bottle. Apparently, anyone purchasing a bottle of Laphroaig is given a unique code, with which they may log onto Laphroaig's website and lay claim to a square foot of land on the Laphroaig distillery grounds on the Isle of Islay. Unfortunately, you cannot buy up cases of Laphroaig and use the resulting land to farm sheep, cut peat or build a house upon. However, by laying claim to your square foot of Islay, you may claim your "rent" by placing your national flag on your plot, and receiving a free dram of Laphroaig should you ever visit the distillery grounds. An excellent marketing scheme if I have ever heard of one! Once you registed your unique code, you are determined to be a "Friend of Laphroaig" and given access to a personal webspace on their site, which provides access to their forum as well as a digital map showing the location of your plot.

In addition to the website feed, you are also given the opportunity to purchase various Laphroaig products and take part in their forums where you can meet fellow Friends of Laphroaig around the world. Not a bad deal at all for buying a bottle of a very good single malt whiskey. I strongly recommend all lovers of Scotch to at least give this one a try. It is excellent neat or with just a bit of water, and accompanied by a fine cigar. Life doesn't get much better than this!


MJ said...

You had me at the name "Liquor Pig" but you hold me with Laphroaig.

Ooooo and I see a link to Jamesons.

Happy days.

John III said...

I have GOT to try some of this amber goodness!

Anonymous said...

We went to Scotland in May and I had this after a couple of pints of local ale at the Dores Inn on Loch Ness. My wife didn't like the peaty smell (and she's the Scot!), but I love the stuff.