Strength: 43 %
I cannot resist trying a cheap ($30 or under) Islay malt. Since one expects peat to mellow with age, I have it in my mind that somewhere there is a great quality peat monster for the bottom shelf. Here are some of the candidates I have tried to date: McClelland's Islay, Bowmore Legend, Black Bottle Blend, Lombard Tidal Ebb, and Finlaggan Old Reserve. These range in quality from F to B-, with the best probably being the Finlaggan.
With Laphroaig 10, I hereby declare the long search to be over. This is the whisky! Of course, for this to work you must be able to find the bottle at bottom-shelf price. A price search reveals the bottle at anywhere from $30 to $50. I bought my bottle for the ridiculously low price of $25 from one of the large California stores. If I see that type of sale again, I'll be sure to bunker several, and I recommend you do too.
On the nose: huge smoke, iodine, peat, rubber, oak, and vanilla. The peat jumps out on the palate, but it is well balanced with the oak, smoke, and seaside notes (and some sweet malt). I also get creamy vanilla, but I don't think I'd pick this up if I had not already found it so prevalent in Laphroaig 18. The finish is long and smoky, leaving salty peat in the mouth. Laphroaig 10 is well balanced and has great flavors, but it is also fairly thin (chill filtered) and a little diluted tasting at 43 %. It is in this texture where Laphroaig Quarter Cask outshines this expression (QC also has slightly stronger wood and peat notes). Still, a great whisky and as long as I can find it for $30, one I intend to keep stocked as a regular dram. 87 points (B+).
Other Laphroaig reviews:
- Laphroaig Quarter Cask
- Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength
- Laphroaig 18
- Head to head: Laphroaig Quarter Cask vs Laphroaig Cask Strength