Laphroaig Triple Wood (48% ABV / 96 proof, $59.99 – Seasonal Release) – Given the success of Laphroaig’s Quarter Cask, it’s no surprise to see them use a similar methodology for other releases. The Triple Wood follows along a similar path to the Quarter Cask, getting aged in ex-bourbon barrel and then the smaller quarter-sized casks. The whisky is then finished in a third Oloroso sherry cask made from European Oak. As with the Quarter Cask, Laphroaig’s core smokiness is there but much less prevalent than with Laphroaig’s 10 year offering. Of the Laphroaig whiskies that have come through a quarter cask stage, the Laphroaig Triple Wood has the most marine-like nose with salt, oyster shells, iodine, and light smoke. There is a small amount of vanilla from the time in quarter cask but it takes a back seat to the sherry, which comes off a lot like tart cherries. As with the Quarter Cask, the entry of Triple Wood is fairly soft with light vanilla and cherry from the nose. The mid palate is much more reflective of the marine qualities of this whisky with salt, peat smoke, and iodine well balanced with the underlining vanilla and sherry notes. There’s a fair amount of wood spice that enters in towards the end of the midpalate including oak, black pepper, clove, and ginger as the smoky elements intensify. The finish is fairly long with the smoke, oak, spice, and subtle dark fruits lingering on the palate.
It’s no surprise that Laphroaig Triple Wood is the most oak forward of Laphroaig’s wood-focused line. The spice in the midpalate goes a long way towards creating a lot of nice complexity to the whisky without being overbearing. We also really enjoy the restraint shown in the use of the Oloroso sherry casks. It would be easy to let the lush sherry notes overtake the other flavors in this whisky, but instead they act like supporting characters that give depth and complexity. Laphroaig’s Triple Wood whisky builds on the same premise as Quarter Cask: create an affable and drier expression of Laphroaig that brings the trademark smoke more into balance with other flavor notes. With Triple Wood, both the spice from the barrels and the tart fruit notes help further that goal and create a really strong, non-age stated expression of Laphroaig. Given the fact that it’s priced only a few dollars more than Quarter Cask, we strongly recommend that fans of Quarter Cask give Triple Wood a try as it’s a much more complete and complex whisky.