Turning Back the Years

What we wondered was what would the combined effect be if we reproduced these old quarter butts and finished the maturation process in warehouse no1 as we believed they had done all those years ago?

First trials were undertaken, as the cost in getting the coopers to make a large quantity of these quarter butts was considerable. Finally the decision was given with three further changes made as a result of the trials and to ensure historical accuracy.

Our first trials showed that the maturation in these quarter casks was even more intense than we initially expected, overpowering the whisky, so a slightly younger Laphroaig was selected. We also believed that this would have been the case all those years ago as today’s convention of set ages was not then in widespread use.

In those days it was up to the master distiller

to decide when the time was right rather than prejudging. Indeed the speed of maturation within these tiny barrels requires all the master blenders skill and judgment. Indeed we found slight changes in the weather would lengthen or shorten the whisky’s sleep in the Quarter casks by a week or two.

Whilst these tests were being undertaken, two further decisions were taken. It was decided to bottle ‘Quarter Cask’ at a higher than modern standard proof, as would have been the case all those years ago. 48° ABV (or 20% stronger than standard) was selected as the best bottling strength.

Finally it was decided to totally eliminate the process of ‘chill filtering’ as it had not been invented in the time of the Johnston Brothers.