Quite a funny name to this one, if you’re a software engineer when you hear QA you immediately think about Quality assurance, and not about Quercus Alba (which is what Laphroaig had in mind ok?) . When i first saw the press release about this one, I really thought it was some kind of April fool’s day thing, but after reading into it, I realised this is a real whisky and not a joke. So, Quercus Alba, or in English: American Oak. Indeed the whisky industry is using a lot of wood related names recently (read Oliver’s excellent post about it ). Like its predecessors in the duty free series the PX, Triple Wood, Quarter Cask (QC) this one is first aged in ex-bourbon oak, then spends an additional time in fresh American oak barrels which have not been charred (again for more details and whisky geekery check out Billy’s lovely post where he addresses the entire additional small cask finish for this one over here . This expression is initially available only in the Travel Retail shops (duty free), but I guess if it’s successful it will find its way into other markets as well.
Luckily I was able to get a sample from my good whisky friend Phil who happened to pass through the duty free just recently, so cheers Phil!
Nose: it’s a Laphroaig alright!: iodine, rubber, brine. Not much tar. Used bandages. Some sweet wordy notes underneath but nothing very strong a bit more sugary than your 10 yo. Feels tend down a bit.
Palate: oily and rather syrupy with a pinch of ginger. Quite peaty as one might expect with the rubber still going strong. Seaweed. Smoke, yet on the sweeter side.
Finish : long. Smoky. Sweet. A slight woody sensation.
Very approachable and more restrained than the 10 year old by far. A very nice introduction to the distillery style for newbies, or a very nice sipping whisky for everyday. Not bad at all.