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Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batches?

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Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batches?

Postby charlano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:16 pm

Hi, last August, I bought a bottle of laphroaig quarter cask at the big LCBO in Ottawa. I had already tasted it some times before. It found it to be a little like the 10y but mellower and more complex. However, when I opened my bottle, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed to me that it was much more peaty and not as well balance as the ones I got before. So I tough it may be just me...

Last week, I did a taste of whiskies with my friend (as we often do) and we compared both QC we had. He have a bottle opened 2 years ago. Yes I know, some will say that it is because its bottle was open a long way before and blah blah blah (I tested it with 2 bottles of bowmore 12 yo of the same batch, 1 with 1½ old with 1'' remaining liquid and the other brand new and really not much difference). Moreover, I really remember when I first tasted it as being far more complex than mine. So we compared both and we came to the same conclusion: mine was much more peaty, less sweet and much less complex than his. It could really have been two different laphroaig expressions. It is still enjoyable but, I would rather go for the 10yo for the price.

So my question is: have you ever experienced some noticeable inconsistencies between 2 batches of QC ?
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby MacDeffe » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:42 pm

I don't have a lot of experience with the quarter cask

I do have expereinced a lot of batch variation between other bottlings, so its probably not an unusual thing

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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby charlano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:09 pm

@ Mcdeffe: I know there can be some variations, but as I mentioned earlier, they are so different that they may have been 2 different expressions. The laphroaig characteristics (smell/taste) were there but the 2 bottles were so different.

@Collector57: You are maybe right, but I was there when his bottle was just opened and I remember it being more complex than my bottle. I'm maybe wrong. Did you have a lot of QC bottles ?
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby bredman » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:17 am

I mentioned on another forum that the QC is changing slightly every year as i believed it will replace the 10yo quite soon, which will be discontinued, i reckon. It seems to me that the current QC is very similar to the old 10.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby charlano » Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:47 pm

They shouldn't do that. I find the 10yo to be really enjoyable. In my opinion it is slightly better than the arbeg 10 and Caol Ila 12. There is place for both expressions in my opinion (10yo and QC).
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Ganga » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:06 pm

I was under the impression that the 10 yo had already been phased out in Europe and Canada. Have they brought it back? The ambassadors in the US have given no indication that the 10 is to be discontinued in the US. Yes, we did ask when it disappeared from the LCBO and the UK.

What I can tell you is that I will not switch over to the QC from the 10. These are totally different expressions from each other.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Ganga » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:21 am

Thanks Nick. There was a conversation on here a few years ago because the 10 yo disappeared at the LCBO. Shortly thereafter, we had the announcement that the 15 was being replaced by the 18 and the 25 would replace the 30.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:25 pm

Ganga wrote:What I can tell you is that I will not switch over to the QC from the 10. These are totally different expressions from each other.

My take is not quite so 'harsh' as concerns the relative merits of the 10YO and QC.

But I have, nonetheless, noted certain shortcomings in the QC vis-a-vis the manner in which the quarter cask finishing process 'strips' the Laphroaig peat smoke and medicinal characteristics of some of their complexities.

I thus wouldn't necessarily turn up my nose at either expression. That said, the Cask Strength remains head and shoulders above the other two for my old set of taste buds.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Ganga » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:29 pm

Let me explain myself more.

1. I think the 10 yo provides much more of what I want (43% instead of 40% helps).
2. Peat likes cask strength (IMO). Give me the 10 cask strength all day long.
3. The QC does not provide as much as I want from a Laphroaig.
4. Price point: 10 - $30ish, QC -$45-55, 10 CS $55-65.
5. I have yet to see CS Batch No 1.

Basically if the 10 disappears, I would be switching to the cask strength and not the QC as it provides more of what I would want.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Swedish Chef » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:13 pm

Ganga wrote:1. I think the 10 yo provides much more of what I want (43% instead of 40% helps).


All the QC bottles I've bought have been 48%, 70cl purchased in Sweden plus 70cl and 100cl in Germany. The 10yo on the other hand have all been 40%. :?

And to answer the original question: no I have not noticed any differance in my bottles except that the contents get better at the end.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby dramtastic » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:09 am

Swedish Chef wrote:
Ganga wrote:1. I think the 10 yo provides much more of what I want (43% instead of 40% helps).


All the QC bottles I've bought have been 48%, 70cl purchased in Sweden plus 70cl and 100cl in Germany. The 10yo on the other hand have all been 40%. :?



Same in Australia SC and I find the QC far more expressive in many ways at that abv. An all time favorite of mine.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Swedish Chef » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:04 am

Amen, mate! :D
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby bredman » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:14 am

If you want something that lives up to the reputation of Laphroaig, it has to be the QC. The 10 has become flabby and soft, it's no big-hitter anymore.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby lockejn » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:14 pm

bredman wrote:The 10 has become flabby and soft, it's no big-hitter anymore.

Agreed. That's why the CS is definitely the way to go :P
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Ganga » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Swedish Chef wrote:
Ganga wrote:1. I think the 10 yo provides much more of what I want (43% instead of 40% helps).


All the QC bottles I've bought have been 48%, 70cl purchased in Sweden plus 70cl and 100cl in Germany. The 10yo on the other hand have all been 40%. :?

And to answer the original question: no I have not noticed any differance in my bottles except that the contents get better at the end.


I was noting the two different proofs available for the 10. I believe all the QC bottles have been 48% since inception.

Also, what I've noticed in the 10 yo (over the course of about 12-12 years) is that it has gone from being all about smoke and oil to a much fruitier (think apples) whisky. It still has the smoke and oily characteristics, it's that they're more subdued.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Lucas » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:04 pm

But the softening and 'fruitening' of the 10 is not something they choose to do I suppose. There is only so much they can do with the stock that has been laid down a decade ago. One way to go is to finish in QC and bottle at 48%.

QC is better than the modern 10yo but maybe someone has some 1990s 10 stashed away to compare?
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Yello to Mello » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:49 am

charlano wrote:Hi, last August, I bought a bottle of laphroaig quarter cask at the big LCBO in Ottawa. I had already tasted it some times before. It found it to be a little like the 10y but mellower and more complex. However, when I opened my bottle, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed to me that it was much more peaty and not as well balance as the ones I got before. So I tough it may be just me...

Last week, I did a taste of whiskies with my friend (as we often do) and we compared both QC we had. He have a bottle opened 2 years ago. Yes I know, some will say that it is because its bottle was open a long way before and blah blah blah (I tested it with 2 bottles of bowmore 12 yo of the same batch, 1 with 1½ old with 1'' remaining liquid and the other brand new and really not much difference). Moreover, I really remember when I first tasted it as being far more complex than mine. So we compared both and we came to the same conclusion: mine was much more peaty, less sweet and much less complex than his. It could really have been two different laphroaig expressions. It is still enjoyable but, I would rather go for the 10yo for the price.

So my question is: have you ever experienced some noticeable inconsistencies between 2 batches of QC ?


The last Lappy I bought from the LC I experienced the same thing but I drank it anyway because it was a time I wasnt drinking very much so I just thought it was my palate.

I bought several bottles of it before.

It seems the discussion of it getting better near the end always comes up and I am with C57 on that.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:43 am

Lucas wrote:QC is better than the modern 10yo but maybe someone has some 1990s 10 stashed away to compare?

As concerns this issue, I can't do any better than to quote an assessment from my own book (The Tumbler's Guide To Single Malt Scotch Whisky, published in 2003):

"During the 1990s, the ten year old displayed a richer golden colour, even with a touch of orange in its makeup... The mid palate effect had softened ever so slightly, possibly due to a veil of caramel. Distillery personnel denied using Sherry casks."

What this description points out, especially when put into the context of how bottlings of that general era (the 1980s through the 1990s) tended to vary from the aforementioned "veil" of softness to a diametrically opposed and almost unappetizing 'rawness', is a scenario of inconsistency that plagued the basic official distillery edition (10YO) of the time.

In my view, contemporary releases have displayed far better consistency, though improvement in wood management has doubtless also introduced a more 'polished' flavour profile overall.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby Swedish Chef » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:24 pm

Ganga wrote:I was noting the two different proofs available for the 10. I believe all the QC bottles have been 48% since inception.


I misread your post Ganga, I thought you meant that the QC was at 40% in the U.S. :oops:
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby charlano » Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:03 am

In our taste last time, we also did compare the regular 10yo with the 10yo Cast strength. Cast strength is really good on its own and like other CS expression, it literally explodes in the mouth. But when we aded water to bring back its strength like the regular expression, we both agreed that the regular 10yo has more complexity to it and that they come from different vat.

Anyone else did try this ?
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:26 pm

charlano wrote:Cask strength is really good on its own and like other CS expressions, it literally explodes in the mouth. But when we added water to bring back its strength like the regular expression, we both agreed that the regular 10yo has more complexity to it...

I've found that you really have to be careful when adding water to cask strength whiskies. And one potential pitfall is assuming that you need to bring the alcohol level of a cask strength whisky down close to a standard (i.e. between 40% and 46%ABV) strength in order to taste it properly.

Each particular cask strength whisky will react differently to the addition of water. And some tolerate water fairly well while others may simply fall apart in the glass if even a little too much water is added.

Laphroaig Cask Strength certainly strikes me as one of those whiskies that needs little or no water added to show at its best. A drop at a time, if you must!
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby charlano » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:51 pm

I'm agree with a big part of waht you say,but how can we compare a regular expression with a CS then. Imho, you cant just compare them at their full strength, until you compare 2 different CS.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:59 am

charlano wrote:...how can we compare a regular expression with a CS then?

Well, I suppose the first step is to realize that it's not so much a matter of comparing 'apples with apples', but rather an exercise in comparing 'apples with oranges' - even when the whiskies are from the same distillery.

With this in mind, the next step involves discerning how to elicit the optimal characteristics of each bottling. This is, to a great extent, a question of personal taste - particularly as regards how much water to add to cask strength whiskies.

To use your example of the standard strength Laphroaig 10 Year Old versus the Cask Strength edition, I'd personally opt to taste the first as is and the second with a minimal amount of water added. For me (me emphasized), such a strategy allows each version to show at its best. From this point, it then becomes a matter of pinpointing the positive aspects of each whisky, and how those aspects differ from one another.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby charlano » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:02 pm

The Third Dram wrote:With this in mind, the next step involves discerning how to elicit the optimal characteristics of each bottling. This is, to a great extent, a question of personal taste - particularly as regards how much water to add to cask strength whiskies.


I would agree with that. There is some whiskies out there that I prefer neat, others that I prefer with a splash of water (not always the same qty). Some whiskies seem to better withstand water added. Imo, that is true for both cask strength and "pre-diluted" whiskies. Ability to withstand a good amount water is an important quality for a whisky imo. Ability to be really good as is (undiluted) is even more important to me.

That being said, you can't really compare a 40% whisky side by side with a CS one if that last one can't withstand to be diluted down to near 40%. Flavours are so much concentrated in a CS ! I would agree that you can put some rating to each separately depending on a number of factor and just compare the ratings with each other.

The Third Dram wrote:To use your example of the standard strength Laphroaig 10 Year Old versus the Cask Strength edition, I'd personally opt to taste the first as is and the second with a minimal amount of water added. For me (me emphasized), such a strategy allows each version to show at its best. From this point, it then becomes a matter of pinpointing the positive aspects of each whisky, and how those aspects differ from one another.


I tried the Laphroaig CS in different ways. Undiluted, a little diluted and near 40%. It is certainly a good dram, especially at full strength, since it delivers so much flavors. It is surely in my list of "what to buy next" since I really like the Laphroaig products. However, the vatting of the regular 10yo seems different to me than the CS expression and seems more complex to some extent.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:53 pm

charlano wrote:...the vatting of the regular 10yo seems different to me than the CS expression and seems more complex to some extent.

If I'm not mistaken, charlano, what you may be principally picking up on here is the relative contribution of the wood to each expression.

I would agree that the oak-vanilla element plays a much larger role in the cask strength version than it does in the standard-strength 10-year old one. (In fact, I sense that the influence of the oak plays a larger role in many cask strength whiskies.) And I've also remarked previously that this enhanced oak-vanilla element exists, to a degree, in the 48%ABV Quarter Cask expression. In both cases (CS and QC), I sense a 'prettiness' enveloping the intrinsic medicinal traits of the distillate.

In the case of the cask-strength bottling, the effect is rather temporary, and those Islay kelp/peat/iodine tastes manage to rumble back forcefully after the initial 'gloss' has subsided. In the case of the Quarter Cask, however, I find the influence of the oak slightly limits the full spectrum of those Islay traits. The phenols don't exactly 'disappear', but they do tend to focus on a simpler sort of flavour thrust.

I think each expression has its place, though, if provided the choice, I'd likely opt for the Cask Strength.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby tobor8man » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:42 am

In my limited experience there are inconsistencies with Laphroaig, but I don't think this is a bad thing. I put it down to the magical approach that I think Laphroaig uses. They do not have the process down to an exact science. It is more an art. I contrast this approach with that of Lagavulin which seems much more consistent to my taste. I love Lagavulin, but it seems more like a product produced by an exact process, always good, but always the same.

I like the fact that different bottlings of Laphroaig tastes different. I find a bottling I especially like I will look at the code at the base of the bottle and seek out more of the same and stock up.
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Re: Laphroaig quarter cask: inconsistencies between the batc

Postby The Third Dram » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:46 am

tobor8man wrote:In my limited experience there are inconsistencies with Laphroaig...

If you will trust me to a degree, believe me when I say that the present day inconsistencies with bottlings of Laphroaig pale in comparison to earlier times when Iain Henderson struggled constantly with the upper managerial echelon of Allied Distillers.

Never mind the trials and tribulations he encountered vis-a-vis his tenure overseeing Ardbeg.

When it comes to both, matters appear so much better these days.
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