In keeping with the theme of going for the jugular, my next stop on the great single malt train lead me to a beast of a beverage – Laphroaig Quarter Cask. I dabbled my toes into the fruity, delicate waters of Speyside. Now I wanted to see what the region of Islay had to offer.
This is the first scotch whisky I had tried that touted it was “non-chill filtered”. I did a bit of looking into it and to me it essentially means that the whiskey maintains some of the esters and other compounds during filtering (due to it not being chilled to zero Celsius) that give to the overall flavor profile. Best I could tell, many whisky snobs love this about a scotch and quite frankly, I’ve grown to become fond of it as well. It generally ensures the whiskey to be above 46% ABV which also lends to robust flavor by not watering it down. You can read more about chill filtering here : http://www.whiskyforeveryone.com/whisky_basics/chill_filtration.html
Now the taste….Holy fucking shit. Seriously. Imagine yourself again as a complete novice to the world of whiskey and scotch. Your only exposure before had been taking shots and chasing it with beer or some crappy whiskey watered down with syrupy Coca Cola. You’re faced with this robust stallion of a beverage that takes your taste buds hostage and won’t let go for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s an exhilarating ride that leaves you breathless, excited, and wanting it to happen again very soon.
Color: Soft gold like dried wheat in a sunset. Tiny drops form on the glass when swirled giving credo to its robust ABV.
Nose: BIG peat and astringent medicinal campfire smoke. Floral sweetness languid like jade.
Taste: Astringent iodine, peatpeatpeat, pleasant and warming full coating mouthfeel. Then, not much of anything until you swallow…wait for it…campfire in your mouth. It tastes like a summer dusk by a fire after a long day hiking. Absolute breathtaking. There’s a bit of a spritey sea salt play in there as well.
Finish: Warm and lingering. Almost loitering. Smokey malt replaces the wood, but you can still smell the burnt wood. A hint of anise.
Overall: Still the best dram I’ve had today. Hands down.