Matured in quarter casks, this whisky earned a score of 93 points from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2013.
In 1815, Donald and Alexander Johnston began leasing nearly 1,000 acres of land on the island of Islay. Their intent was to use the land in order to raise and sell cattle and as a result, they began growing barley to be used as feed for their livestock. Following a particularly bountiful harvest, the brothers distilled the excess grains they had grown into whisky, and sold it to the inhabitants of the island. Soon thereafter, the brothers found it more profitable to distill whisky rather than raise cattle, and Laphroaig (pronounced La-froyg) Distillery was born.
For over a century, the distillery would remain in the hands of one of Johnston's descendants. In 1954, however, Ian Hunter passed away childless and bequeathed the distillery to Bessie Williamson, a secretary that had been working at the distillery for two decades. Hunter was incredibly protective of the distillery — while he slowly revealed its secrets to Williamson after she had earned his trust, Hunter prevented a cooper who was employed at the distillery from publishing his memoirs because they described the workings of the distillery in too great a detail.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Whisky is one of the most flavorful and intense whiskies made anywhere in the world. During Prohibition, it was one of the few whiskies still legally imported into the United States, as it was considered a medicinal spirit. Laphroaig Single Malt is made from the finest Scottish barley, which is then malted at the distillery and smoked over a peat flame. Unlike other distilleries which source peat from the Scottish mainland, the peat used to smoke Laphroaig barley is made from the heather, mosses and lichens of Islay and adds a distinct iodine-like flavor to the whisky. After the barley has been malted and peated, it is fermented before being twice-distilled through Laphroaig's copper-pot stills. The unique stills have an usually flat base and flat surfaces, which contributes to the overall intensity of the whisky.
Following distillation, Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured in quarter casks. Quarter casks were used in the 19th century to transport whisky via horse or mule, as the animals could not carry the weight of traditional casks. As a result of their small size, the casks have a greater proportion of surface area to volume and thus, contribute stronger notes of oak and wood tannins to the whisky maturing inside. In addition, the casks "breathe" more deeply and as a result, provide a touch of salty tang to the whisky as well.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky has an autumn gold color, along with an aroma of tropical fruits and smoke. The aroma gives way to notes of citrus, malt, cinnamon and oak on the palate, which are complemented by a subtle smoky undertone. The finish is refreshing and peaty, with touches of caramel and vanilla throughout.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask earned the Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and earned a score of 93 points from the Beverage Testing Institute. In addition, it earned a score of 90-95 points from Wine Enthusiast.
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96 Proof (48% ABV)
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Aroma of tropical fruits and smoke. Notes of citrus, malt, cinnamon and oak on the palate, which are complemented by a subtle smoky undertone. Finish is refreshing and peaty, with touches of caramel and vanilla throughout.