Feis Ile is the malt & music festival on Islay at the end of May, where many aficionados go to get their hands on the limited bottlings. This Cairdeas was the festival bottling from Laphroaig in 2012. Cairdeas is Gaelic for ‘friendship’. I am sure this will be tasty. Judging by the color, some sherry was used in the mix. No less than 20.000 bottles were released, but then Laphroaig has many friends…
The nose is marked not so much by the typical smoky character of Laffie, but offers mostly a very sweet and fruity nose. Yep, a lot of sherry casks went into this release. Lime, apricots, cherries, banana, wood shavings, toffee, pineapple on the grill, caramel, pencil shavings, raw planks and so much more. Halfway through it even becomes a bit bourbonny. Somewhat strange, but very nice. With a teaspoon of water, it becomes sweeter still, like crème brûlée. But also somewhat greener on garden herbs such as thyme and rosemary. Weird!
The arrival is mildly drying and again my first idea is sipping a smoky bourbon. How weird indeed! Loads of tannins, lime, lemongrass and pepper. Nuts, too! It becomes a little more creamy and less drying when adding a few drops of water.
The dry, smoky finish that lingers nicely plasters a smile on my face.
Very good, even though I find it hard to recognize Laphroaig in this.