This year’s Laphroaig Cairdeas was the first cask chosen by distillery manager John Campbell. Like the previous Laphroaig Cairdeas 2008 (a big hit both at Feis Ile and on eBay), this 12 year-old is bottled at cask strength and the remaining bottles were made available for Friends of Laphroaig after the festival. It was matured in Makers Mark bourbon barrels.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 12yo
(57,5%, OB 2009, Feis Isle 2009, 5000 btl.)
Nose: starts off on mellow peat smoke with woody undertones. Young wood, “pencil shavings” as Robert Hicks describes it. Some refreshing citrus, banana and red fruit. Very nice. Like last year’s Cairdeas: almonds and marzipan. Overall very creamy and rather sweet, with hints of burnt sugar.
Mouth: starting on lemon, growing sweeter and more candied. Lemon pie. Roasted almonds, some espresso. Some liquorice and more spices than the Cairdeas 2008. Good stuff with a good balance (although on the dry side).
Finish: long with diminishing sweetness, leaving the peat smoke behind and getting very dry in the end.
Personally, I think this is a major improvement over the previous Cairdeas. It’s smoother and fruitier but just as rich and intense. Excellent value for money as well (£ 40). People who are waiting for their Friends of Laphroaig bottle: it’s well worth the wait.