Sunday, June 21, 2009

Laphroaig Quarter Cask vs Bunnahabhain 12yo

Gents, I recently acquired and tasted two whiskies from Islay that I thought worth commenting on. Firstly, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask (A$105) and secondly, a Gordon and MacPhail Bunnahabhain (A$79) which I picked up from the Single Malt Club website.

The Laphroaig contains the traditional peaty flavour that you would expect from an Islay single malt. I would describe it as a 'light' Ardbeg, very very smooth drinking. The smoky nose was very obvious, but this didn’t translate into a strong flavour. It’s quite a nice drop, and I found it to be served best with a slight addition of water to enhance the flavours. Usually I prefer scotch with ice, but in this case I felt that ice diluted the flavour to much. The price of the Quarter Cask (QC) differs from the normal Laphroaig 10yo by about A$20 and I had hoped that this would be money well invested. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the QC expression is worth the additional money and would suggest sticking with the regular 10yo bottling.

I award the Laphroaig Quarter Cask 5 lightning bolts.*

The Bunnahabhain 12yo was a real surprise. It’s from Islay too, and I was expecting something peaty, along the lines of the Talisker that we tried at the first meeting or the Laphroaig discussed above. What I got was something completely different, without a hint of peat. I must admit, I was a little disappointed with this one. It’s certainly a nice whisky, but when I buy Islay, I wanna buy peat. The Bunnahabhain is a very light, sweet whisky that has hints of fruit. I preferred this whisky with ice and would be happy to have it again, but I probably wouldn’t purchase it myself.

I award the MacPhail Bunnahabhain 12yo 4 lightning bolts.

If I was forced to choose between the two, I would go for the Laphroaig, but that represents my personal preference for smoky flavours. Others amongst you might prefer the Bunnahabhain. Needless to say, when the third meeting is held at my place later in the year, these bottles will be available for tasting by members.


* I’ve awarded these scores out of seven. I didn’t feel that five was enough to differentiate the two whisky’s.


  1. Gents,
    In the last paragraph of this post I made a promise to keep these two whisky's in my collection, so that you, my fellow members could enjoy a dram when I host a club night towards the end of the year. When I wrote that it seemed like a good idea, and a nice gesture.

    Upon sober reflection though, it seems rather optimistic, and frankly highly improbable. If I were asked to give an estimate of the probability of this occuring it would be somewhere in the region of 0.001%. The observent amongst you may have noticed that the Laphroaig in the photo is almost empty. There is an obvious reason for that.

    Now, to be fair, I wrote the post some time ago, and due to some technical difficulties there was a delay in getting it posted. At the time of writing I really meant it. However, I should have known better.

    There is a slight possibility of me have some of the Bunnahabhain left over. As keen readers you will be aware I have a preference for the Laphroaig, but I'm almost certian the the Laphroaig itself will be dispatched to eternity by the end of the week (possibly the end of the day).

    For those who had gotten their hopes up I apologise.


  2. Men,
    Its official. The Laphroaig is all gone. Unfortunately I needed to drown my sorrows after the Blues got hammered (again) last night.

  3. Well I have been busy over the last 2 weeks breaking in a Laphroaig Cask Strength with Stefan (The Grey Bush) and let me tell you even he has handed over the reins in pouring your own because this stuff is wicked. I have not done a review as I am pressing him to do it instead.