Maker: Laphroaig, Port Ellen, Scotland (Beam Global, Deerfield, Illinois)
Age: NAS (partially aged in a smaller “quarter cask” rather than the standard 53 gallon model in supposed imitation of 19th century whisky)
Color: Light amber, dark straw, like a slightly over-the-hill chardonnay
Nose: alcohol, fall bonfires, peat, smoke, saltwater, wildflower honey
On the Palate: With a little bit of water, this really opens up. The big smoke is still there, but there is a floral, honeyed sweetness lurking beneath. There is a bit of a beauty and the beast thing going on here.
Finish: Pure Islay delight. Long, tingly, smokey, peaty bliss. This is a Scotch that knows what it wants to be and makes no apologies. Burn, followed by smoke, followed by peat, followed by tobacco.
Parting Words: When I wrote these notes a few months ago, this was the first Islay Scotch I had ever purchased. I’ve had several others since then, but Quarter Cask holds its own with all of them. For some reason, there’s always something special about your first love. Especially a smoky beauty like this one.