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How old is Laphroaig Quarter Cask?

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How old is Laphroaig Quarter Cask?

Postby Admiral » Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:45 pm

Mickeman posed this question on an old thread, so I've re-posted it here where it might get renewed attention:

"Anyone know the exact age of Laphroaig quarter cask?

I mean how long has it matured in a regular cask and how long in a quater cask?

Also are the quater casks used made from fresh wood or built from casks that have previouslu held bourbon?

Also are the two types of cask first, second or refill?"


I'm also curious to learn the answers to these questions.

I was under the impression that the QC had been in a quarter cask for all of its maturation, although Mickeman seemingly suggests that it started life in a regular cask? Anyone know?

Cheers,
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Postby andrewfenton » Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:48 pm

From what I heard it's 5 years in a bourbon cask, then a year in the QC.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:09 pm

andrewfenton wrote:From what I heard it's 5 years in a bourbon cask, then a year in the QC.


that's what I've heard too.
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Postby bernstein » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:44 pm

According to a press release on Allied Domecq's :arrow: homepage it's
blended from a range of aged spirit up to and including 10 years old

Concerning the origin of the Quarter Casks itself their homepage speaks of them as "newly created" and "hand crafted by the Speyside Cooperage to Allied Domecq’s specification" - sounds very much like "very first-fill".
I've heard that the time of maturation in Quarter Casks shouldn't be longer than 7-8 months, so effectively it would be more some kind of finishing than double-maturation.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:53 pm

But of course, the point is that the fresh wood, as well as the small cask size, will have a much more pronounced effect than seven months in, say, a refill sherry cask. It could be equivalent to a number of years, in some respects, although of course the effect will be entirely different.
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Postby jlane » Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:38 pm

If, as I understand from this discussion, the casks are new wood (i.e. same as for bourbon), then some of the downside of using new wood must adversely affect the spirit. I thought part of the reason (besides cost) in using re-fill was to avoid the effects of new wood has? Could this make it nearer a whisk(e)y?
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:55 pm

It doesn't have to be affected in a bad way because of two things:
1. it already has a certain structure added by the wood of the the bourbon casks.
2. it's in the fresh wood for a relatively short period. Enough to impart the whisky with enough flavour without adding the overly dryness from tannins of a fresh european oak.

Well, that's my theory anyway!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:21 pm

Fresh wood contains more tannins etc. It gives a stronger flavour to the whisky. Obviously, the use fresh wood in bourbon.

Jameson use some fresh oak in their Jameson Gold and it works really well.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:28 pm

Yes, but my point is that they only use fresh wood for a restricted period due to the risk of having too much tannins which would destroy the whisky. I suspect that's why the whisky got 5 years in bourbon casks instead of being put straight into fresh european oak. There's also a marked difference in taste between the european and the more soft and vanilla-like american oak, well exemplified in spanish wine which untill recently used a lot of american oak.

Why haven't I tasted anything from Jameson yet?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:41 pm

Mr Fjeld wrote:Yes, but my point is that they only use fresh wood for a restricted period due to the risk of having too much tannins which would destroy the whisky.

Skål!
Christian


Christian - yes, that's true. Whatever they do with the Laphroaig, it works. Are they going to continue this line, or is it a once off? I know some FOLs were concerned that it isn't as limited an edition as it was once made out to be.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:51 pm

I'm afraid I haven't tasted it yet Aidan. Hope I will soon as the rumours say it'll be available here in September.......
Anyway, I think the whole project with planning, coopers building new casks etc. have been very expensive so it makes sense to continue on with the QC - or should I rather say I hope? I believe they have a winner in the QC as so many (even here) likes it to the point of claiming it better than the CS.
And as a "pr jippo" it's fantastic - even the sceptics have to agree! So much "more" than simply a finish but also the result of a company willing to invest in coopers and history....Quarter Casks of historical interest from the beginning of legal distilling in Islay.......makes me want to unwrap my great grandfathers carving knives and start up myself (if he had carving knives at all..)

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 08, 2005 6:45 pm

Then the question is raised: What becomes of these once-used quarter casks? Will we see Laphroaig Refill Quarter Cask? Can I buy one for my living room? Perhaps a second filling will have the same effect with a longer maturation time.
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Aug 08, 2005 6:59 pm

The original article by David Broom is in WM Issue 42 and a quick glance through the article states;

"We (Robert Hicks & Dave Broom) go upstairs and taste a five year old Laphroaig, the vatting prior to being out in quarters, then the finished product after seven months in the miniature casks."

It would seem that it's a 67 month old whisky.
Last edited by Lawrence on Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:09 pm

The Laphroaig website doesn't specify how old it is. They suggest that earlier experiments with standard 10yo didn't work as they wanted so they introduced younger distilations to counter the effect of more wood.

I got a bottle last week and I think it works quite well. Much sweeter than my favoured cask strength, but a nice little number none-the-less. It's slightly reminiscent of Ardbeg........... :? I feel a chocolate moment coming on!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:11 pm

Lawrence, do you by chance buy those special 15-month calendars?
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Postby bernstein » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:35 pm

I understand that Laphroaig Distillery doesn't specify the age of their QCs because they're indeed vattings of several bourbon cask matured whiskies - and their age vary from younger ones up to 10 year olds. There might be no rule - it's the job of the Master Blender to create the right whisky.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:44 pm

bernstein wrote::P

I understand that Laphroaig Distillery doesn't specify the age of their QCs because they're indeed vattings of several bourbon cask matured whiskies - and their age vary from younger ones up to 10 year olds. There might be no rule - it's the job of the Master Blender to create the right whisky.


Ok, now I'm confused! See my quotes from post made by Lawrence and Crieftan:

Lawrence:
The original article by David Broom is in WM Issue 42 and a quick glance through the article states;

"We (Robert Hicks & Dave Broom) go upstairs and taste a five year old Laphroaig, the vatting prior to being out in quarters, then the finished product after seven months in the miniature casks."

It would seem that it's a 67 month old whisky.

This suggests "new make spirit" matured for 5 years before finished in quarter casks.
Crieftan:
The Laphroaig website doesn't specify how old it is. They suggest that earlier experiments with standard 10yo didn't work as they wanted so they introduced younger distilations to counter the effect of more wood.

This underlines Lawrence's argument!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:45 pm

Well Bernie, you be sure and let Robert Hicks know what he's doing, I'm sure he'll be happy to have his world sorted. :wink:
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Postby bernstein » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:55 pm

Yes, I'm confused as well.

But what should we make with Allied Domecq's press release then? There's a fog bank at the Kildalton coast.

Chiefan's information from Laphoaig's homepage might apply to the mentioned experimental state of product development, e.g. using just to much 10yo in the beginning. That's why they came up with the vatting. BTW a good solution to deal with not so good 10yos...
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Postby bernstein » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:01 pm

Lawrence wrote:Well Bernie, you be sure and let Robert Hicks know what he's doing, I'm sure he'll be happy to have his world sorted. :wink:


Uuups, Robert Hicks is the Master Blender :oops: Didn't know that. Thanks for the hint, Lawrence!

But my confusion holds on. Why should Allied Domecq tell the world rubbish about the QC in the first place? They should know their products as well, shouldn't they? Fog bank!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:39 pm

I would think they are not being entirely specific because the formula is subject to tinkering. It might be a base of 5yr/7mo whisky with a dash of 10 and a splash of something else as necessary, to achieve the desired profile. I understand the urge to pin them down on the exact contents, but the exact contents may be subject to change, particularly if this is going to be an ongoing bottling, and perhaps the quarter casks themselves are reused. They may wish to give the impression that all the whisky in the bottle has been quarter-casked in the same way, but we have certainly learned by now to take label blurbs with a liberal dash of sea spray. But I am, as is so often the case, only speculating.
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