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Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Quarantine Cask?

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

10th May 2020


Laphroaig Quarter Cask
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Laphroaig Quarter Cask has been a staple of my whisky cabinet for the last 4 or 5 years. I'm surprised I haven't reviewed it yet. Laphroaig's John Campbell explains that usage of the quarter cask (125 litres, a quarter of the size of a sherry cask) dates back to the 19th century. The smaller casks were easier for two men to load onto a pack horse and transport to wherever it needed to go. While Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a no age statement whisky, Campbell says the vattings of Quarter Cask are made up of 5 to 11 year old whiskies matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks which are then re-casked into first-fill ex-bourbon quarter casks for 7 to 12 months. While us whisky geeks would love to see the exact breakdown of the whiskies included in each batch, the information Campbell shares is better than what we get from most distilleries regarding NAS whisky. I'll spare you all another rant about honesty and transparency. Here are my tasting notes:

Tasting Notes

Neat from a Glencairn

  • Nose: smoke, iodine, a bit mossy, damp oak, rich dark toffee, vanilla, espresso
  • Palate: rich texture, medicinal, ashy, toasted oak, cinnamon and black pepper, floral vanilla, a slight hint of pears
  • Finish: long yet drying, warming, tobacco ash, espresso, dark chocolate, a bit tarry near the end, lovely. Quarter Cask strikes an excellent balance between sweet and peat flavours. Its flavours are a bit on the darker side of the spectrum, so if you like bright, citrusy-type flavours, this isn't the droid you're looking for.
  • Rating: 91/100

With Water from a Glencairn

  • Nose: iodine-forward, lots of brine, smoke pushed back a bit, vanilla, toffee, pears
  • Palate: much fruitier on arrival, then toffee, smoke, ash, black pepper, slightly waxy, more pears
  • Finish: long yet drying, salty, warming, vanilla, toffee, oak, some ash lingering but not as dark with water added. It's not necessarily better or worse with water, rather it's a different experience.
  • Rating: 90/100

This whisky has been a consistent favourite of mine for a long time. And consistent is the operative word. I've had some bottles that are a bit smokier than others, or a bottles where the dark chocolate notes are more prominent, but I've never had a bad bottle. The only potential downside is that it's way too easy to drink and the bottles tend to, ahem evaporate, a little too quickly. Sadly, Laphroaig Quarter Cask has been creeping up in price here in Ontario consistently as well. I believe the first bottle of QC I bought cost me about $60, and that was about 5 years ago. It now runs $85-$90. Not exactly a bargain, but not the worst value for money when you consider Quarter Cask is bottled at 48% abv.

  • Would I accept a glass if someone offered me one? Yes
  • Would I order this in a bar or pub? Without hesitation
  • Would I buy another bottle? I'm surprised I haven't done so already.

Related Laphroaig reviews


Nozinan commented

Great review. I think that really sums it up. I've finished 2 bottles over my 9 year journey and both have been excellent.

Would I buy a bottle at $90? Not of I could get one for $50 in Calgary. I chased an elusive $45 price for a while until I gave up. And the last bottle I had was a duty free bottle gifted by my sister in law.

I think I would probably bite the bullet and pick one up if I didn't have a 10 YO CS open, Cairdeas 3-wood CS open, and a number of other Cairdeas offerings waiting very patiently for me...

Just to put things into perspective (and for fun), given the closing statements in your review, I'll end by quoting from your reply to my review a couple of years ago...

"...my bottles of QC never lasted very long. But now that it's the same price as the 10, I can't foresee any future wherein I buy this one."

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan I suppose I didn’t foresee this current future timeline wherein the standard 10 Year (43%) is getting a bit inconsistent.

4 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound You nailed it. I‘m a fan boy. I figure if I can’t get the 10 cask strength, this will do nicely.

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

Jonathan commented

Your tasting notes are right on in terms of every bottle of this I have tried.

What I cannot agree with is the price you are paying for this.

As Martin Sheen said to Sissy Spacek's dad in Badland's: No , Sir, I can't abide that.


4 years ago 0

casualtorture commented

I enjoy this one a lot from the samples I've had, but I'm blessed that the 10CS is $70USD a bottle here and readily available. The 10CS wins that all day, so I haven't yet purchased a bottle of this yet.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@casualtorture Well that's a no-brainer, although I'd probably stock up on both as I have poor impulse control.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - Sure I've said this before, but this often goes for sub £30 in the UK and has to be the best value peated whisky out there at that price.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

@casualtorture, same here. As long as the 10 CS is available at a reasonable price, I'll probably never buy a QC again.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?