Remember, whisky fans, the thrill of traveling abroad 7-10 years ago, ducking into a duty free and knowing you’d find at least a few stunning deals and special releases?
Times have changed. All too often, duty free whisky aisles are divided between run-of-the-mill releases you’ll find anywhere, discounted blends that don’t appeal even with the discount, and gimmicky “travel retail exclusives” that are both overpriced and forgettable.
Though these sad ranks comes the Laphroaig PX Cask like a conquering hero. I’ve seen this in a few airports over the past year, and when it popped up at the Stockholm Duty Free on sale for $70, I couldn’t resist.
This duty free exclusive is a no-age-statement whisky, like most of Laphroaig’s current lineup. It’s matured first in ex-bourbon barrels, then in quarter casks, then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. It’s bottled at a healthy 48% ABV.
The nose starts with the classic Laphroaig salty-citrusy-maritime profile, but saltier than usual. Bright. Piney. Lime, grapefruit. Gradually warmer: grilled lemon. Toasted almond. Cinnamon late on.
The palate is strong and savory. It’s a dinner dram—not to have with dinner, but to have as dinner. Salted pork. Aged balsamico. But the brightness emerges from underneath, and with it, the fiery peat. A little wild.
The transition to the finish brings blackberry brandy. The peat goes on and on. Cinnamon again, spicy vanilla bean, candied lemon peel.
Liking the Laphroaig Quarter Cask as I do, this dram–essentially the Quarter Cask with a bit of PX on top–was right up my alley.
It was particularly interesting tasting it side-by-side with the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017, which is a cask strength Quarter Cask. I usually gravitate toward cask strength whiskies, but if I could only choose one, I think I’d take this PX Finish over the latest Cairdeas.
Little wonder that two weeks after purchase, 1L PX Finish is already gone. (I did have a little help.)
Slàinte, friends! – BO
A company representative graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.