Laphroaig Four Oak (2018)
Laphroaig Four Oak, eh? The name immediately brings out the sceptic in me. Either this is some very creative use of wood, leading to a successful blend of characteristics, or (and I find this more likely), a lot of wood was needed to try and make this whisky palatable.
Four types of casks were used: ex-bourbon barrels, small quarter casks, virgin American oak barrels, European oak hogsheads. While it isn’t expensive, it isn’t exactly cheap either. If you know where to look, you can get a liter bottle of the Quarter Cask for a decent amount less.
Laphroaig Four Oak (40%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Not unlike what I imagine peated porridge would smell like. Slightly briny too, and lots of coconut, with a touch of barbecue smoke and citrus. A tad shy.
Taste: Weak, ashy, pinch of pepper, some faint medicinal peat, dry. I don’t know, anything else? Not really.
Finish: Cigarette ash. Probably one of the shortest I’ve ever tasted for a heavily peated whisky.
From the distillery that bring us great annual cask strength releases, this is a very disappointing release. What’s up with this? I went hunting for other reviews after I tried the Laphroaig Four Oak, and came across this one by my colleagues at Malt. “Not so much Laphroaig-lite as Laphroaig-shite”, is what Jason called it. Sometimes the truth is harsh.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.