We find ourselves bathing in the glory of Laphroaig’s 200th anniversary. One of the distillery’s celebratory bottlings is this year’s Cairdeas, Laphroaig’s selected trophy in honor of this year’s Feis Ile Festival of Music and Malt. Each Islay distillery is given a day to during the week long festival to promote and celebrate its contribution to society, and these storied and beloved distilleries like to bottle something special on their day. Each year it is something different, for 2015 Laphroaig is going old school with an ex-bourbon aged malt made in the traditions of old, according to boss John Campbell. On to some particulars…
This year’s Cairdeas was distilled in 2 small pot stills during August of 2003. This two week long production run is unique for a few reasons. 100% of the malt was processed at Laphroaig’s own on site malting floor. The two smallest pot stills were used for this legendary run, noted for the emphasis on flavor control and pronounced fruity aromas. Lastly, this 100,000 liter batch was aged in first fill casks from Maker’s Mark at Warehouse No. 1, positioned down at Laphroaig bay and whose walls are separated from the assault of the sea by a tiny strip of beach. Warehouse No. 1 is a dunnage style warehouse with soft, damp floors and is known as the best and briniest on Laphroaig’s grounds. Bottled at 51.5% ABV (get it?), this year’s Cairdeas aims to present as a lighter style of Laphroaig. Let’s see to it…
Nose- Slight peat, of course, but as expected, a light affair. Complexity abounds. Lemon peel, fresh herbs, meadow grass. Un-ripened peaches and nutmeg. Sweet pipe tobacco, citrus rind. Good marriage of light smoke, floral touches and sweetness. Lovely and clean.
Taste- Soft vanilla and smoke with sweet spice. Lemon cake with powdered sugar. Melon. Great taste.
Finish- Medium length. Sweet/sour lemon candy. Nutmeg. Ends phenolic with tobacco.
Comments- Well integrated, excellently composed and presented. Refined and complex with just enough Lahproaig house style to satisfy.
SWC Rating – 88/100
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Let us know in the comments section below.