Tonight I was lucky enough to get together a fantastic line-up of different Laphroaigs for a comparison. While each of these whiskies is made of identical spirit flowing from Laphroaig’s stills, the end result is vastly different. As such, this tasting gives a great insight in the effect that maturation has on a whisky. Although Laphroaig is secretive about the age of their whiskies, clearly some of these expressions have matured longer than others. With no actual ages at hand, we are limited to looking at the effects that the different casks have had on the Laphroaig spirit. And indeed, this choice of cask makes a world of difference, producing a spectacular range of diverse drams. Below is a short description of each of the whiskies, including a link to the full review.
Age: No age statement
The latest member to join Laphroaig’s travel retail exclusive family, PX Cask has received a triple maturation. After an initial ageing period in American ex-bourbon barrels, this whisky was then transferred to much smaller quarter casks. Because of their high surface to liquid ratio, these small barrels manage to impart a lot of oaky vanilla flavours in a relatively short time. To top it off, this Laphroaig was then transferred to European oak that previously held Pedro Ximénez sherry, from which the PX Cask gets its name. As such, it is essentially a sherry-finished version of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, also bottled at 48%. Yet the difference between the two is striking, with the PX finish adding an additional layer of richness and complexity to an already distinctive whisky. The result is a great dram, a peat monster with something extra. Although Laphroaig PX cask is now available in most online shops, there is one great advantage to its travel retail status: the bottle is a full litre. You’re going to need it, this whisky is very drinkable!