I solemnly promise that reviews on this blog won’t be consistently long-winded, but these first two reviews mark the two initial stages of my foray into Scotch whisky. While the McClelland was technically my first step into Scotch, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask was my first true Scotch experience. Incidentally, the QC is a stop in my journey that I keep returning to. It’s probably so rare that one of your earliest whiskies is one of your top 3, but Laphroaig managed to do that for me. It was with the QC that I first truly noticed a nose with true depth of character, and a palate that was rich and smooth, despite being 8% higher in ABV than the McClelland. Consequently, another pearl of wisdom I began to learn at this stage: low ABV doesn’t imply a smoother whisky, with less alcohol burn.
I first tried the Laphroaig QC in my third year of college, thanks to my whisky soulmate who swears by the QC. After a quick dram at his place one evening, I had to buy a bottle for myself. It has been in my cabinet ever since. Note: I’ll try not to be too gushing in my review of this whisky, but holds such a special place in my heart that I can’t help it sometimes.
Nose: Peat, iodine and smoky bacon, hints of vanilla. Anise, yes, but the thing that plants itself in my brain is dill pickles. Not just brine, but distinctly dill pickles.
Palate: What the nose promises, and more. It’s oily, and mouth-coating, but it isn’t as dense as, say, the Ardbeg Uigeadail. Smoky bacon, smooth earthy peat, anise, and that hint of dill pickles. The dill is more of a background here compared to the nose.
Finish: Warm, dry, smoke and peat, incredibly long. Sometimes I detect some oak in the finish.
A great whisky that will always hold a special place in my heart. Sometimes I dream of what it would be like at cask-strength. I think it’d join it’s peaty NAS brother, the Ardbeg Uigeadail at an A if it was. That’s about it, I think. That’s about all it would take.
Side note: I had a sliver of the QC while typing up this review, and just to show you how much this whisky changes the more you try it, I went back to the empty glass a few minutes ago and all I could smell was an old-fashioned, wood-burning stove. Very lapsang souchong. Pure brilliance.