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Laphroaig Cairdeas Madeira Cask 2016

A Departure

0 886

@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

6th Jun 2016

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
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I think the picture in this review sums up the perfect whisky drinking experience for me. Sitting outside the visitors centre at Laphroaig, overlooking the cold waters of the North Atlantic as they lazily washed over the grey rocks and, most importantly, two extra glasses for sharing my whisky.

The morning had dawned beautifully and we were all set to experience Laphroaig's rather popular tour, Water to Whisky. This is where they take you out to the distillery's water source, visit the peat bogs to cut some peat and then give you the opportunity to hand-fill a bottle down in the legendary Warehouse 1 from a cask of your choosing.

As everyone was prepping and getting their wellies in order I snuck three drams of their latest Cairdeas out for a quiet sip before heading out.

As my two other friends joined me we toasted to what turned out to be a an absolutely wonderful day of whisky drinking and exploring. But I will talk about that in a later post.

In the mean time we had in front of us a rather unusual Laphroaig. To the best of my knowledge this was the first time Laphroaig have experimented with a Madeira cask so, needless to say, everyone was quite excited.

This particular Cairdeas is a vatting of first-fill bourbons which have then been finished off in a Madeira hogshead. The result is a departure from the traditional Laphroaig flavours. My sample is from an open bottle and served at 51.6%

The sharp peat jumps out first. Quite spicy. A bit of oak. Becomes sweet and sour after a while. I don't know if I'm getting influenced by the label but there's red fruits in here too. Red berries. Raspberries. Liquorice. And finally that familiar Laphroaig iodine and seaweed that I was searching for. Dries with a touch of water. This is a good nose if you ask me. Just short of being fantastic but good in it's own right.

Hmmmmm. This is where the Laphroaig distillate comes through more. Well rounded and crisp. The oak is there and it's been dry-rubbed by those same red berries. The liquorice is back. And it's back with some dark chocolate. And, as with the nose, the seaweed and iodine make a last minute appearance. It's sweet and sour at the same time. Once again, like the nose, it does not blow my mind but I'm happy to drink it.

Smoky. Earthy. Hint of those red fruits again.

I love Laphroaig. In fact I love pretty much everything about them. Especially the tour and tasting guides who go out of their way to make you feel special. This new Cairdeas is a departure from the typical Laphroaig house style but I think it works even if it doesn't blow my socks off. I'm more than happy to drink this all evening. Preferably at the distillery's visitor centre.

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8 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Interesting. Can you make any comparisons of the 2016 Cairdeas Madeira Cask with the 2013 Cairdeas Port Wood and the Laphroaig Three Wood?

Thanks, @MaltActivist!

4 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

@Victor Funny you should mention that. I found the 2016 a little similar to the Portwood but somehow did not mention it in my review. I guess that would be natural given that they're both fortified wines. I will have to have a HTH between the three to come back with anything conclusive. Give me a few days!

4 years ago 0

@Pete1969
Pete1969 commented

Just received email from Laphroaig offering chance to enter draw for opportunity to buy a bottle of the 2016 Cairdeas, ticked the box find out in a few days.

4 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

@Pete1969 not sure why there needs to be a ballot. there's literally a million of these available for sale at the distillery.

4 years ago 0

@Pete1969
Pete1969 commented

@maltactivist not for general sale in UK according to Laphroaig only available through ballot or distillery shop, although it has appeared online already but priced at £120 through the ballot it is £70. Got a feeling there might be a lot of ballot winners if the release is in the twenty thousand plus bottle range.

4 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 commented

@ MaltActivist, thank you for the excellent review. Does anyone know when it and when this will arrive in the US?

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

I haven't seen any concrete info, but it seems like the Cairdeas bottles usually arrive sporadically by US locale starting in late summer.

I'll be looking for this one for sure.

4 years ago 0

@Pete1969
Pete1969 commented

Missed out on the ballot and waiting delayed me diving in for the CS batch, live and learn never delay a purchase again.

4 years ago 0

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