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Laphroaig Cairdeas Port and Wine Casks

Winter Is Here

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@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

17th Nov 2022


Laphroaig Cairdeas Port and Wine Casks
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Written Tuesday Nov. 15, 2022

We had our first snowfall today. I’m not complaining. Other cities in Canada have already been hit with Winter conditions for weeks. As recently as last week we had temperatures in the teens (ºC). But today the snow fell. Not a lot, but it’s time to find the hats and gloves and prepare for what it to come.

Among whisky lovers, winter is traditionally a time for peat and heavily wine-finished whiskies. How better to celebrate the first snow than with a high proof Laphroaig? This bottle is part of the Cairdeas series. My first exposure was the 2015 expression, which remains my favourite. In 2020 I was lucky enough to get a bottle of this one from Nova Scotia thanks to @Astroke and his sister. We finally opened it in 2021 (Nov. 6) when I split the bottle with @paddockjudge, and I believe I tasted it again in January of this year. It has been gassed since that time. It is currently about 1/3 full.

This expression is reviewed in a Brilliant Whisky Glass, in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22/25

Yup, this is a wine cask-matured Islay whisky. I get tannic red wine and peat right off the bat. I get the smell of the ocean (salinity), and with more time, some sweet fruitiness. Very pleasant nose.

With water I get more iodine. The sea air is less prominent.

Taste: 21/25

Ashtray alert! If you took fresh cigarette ashes, added some asphalt, and soaked a Côtes du Rhône in it, this is what you might get. It’s medicinal. Red fruits. Some menthol. Some vanilla and spices in the background. Not too complex.

Water thins the mouthfeel. It is more sweet and less ashy.

Finish: 21.5/25

Very astringent. Mildly effervescent. I feel like I’m exhaling cigaret smoke (or how I imagine that would be). Water lessens it a little

Balance: 21/25

I think the peat and wine overpower the spirit a little.But it is a powerful dram for those who like that. In general water washes it out a little.

Score: Neat - 85.5 /100 With Water: 84.5/100

Not a bad whisky. Definitely a winter dram.

It’s tasty enough that I’m glad I split a bottle. But it’s not unique enough that I would stock up on spares.

Thanks again @Astroke for sending it my way.

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casualtorture commented

Winter is certainly here. We hit 19 last night, which is cold for us. Anything under 10F would be quite unusual.

I'm certainly breaking out the peat! The best thing about winter is peat and dark beer.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

I had a small taste of this recently and I have to agree with you. I find these Cairdeas releases are quite inconsistent. They change it up each time which keeps it interesting, but sometimes it just doesn’t work, and they ain’t cheap. The best one I’ve had is the 2015 200th anniversary edition. Nice review, thanks.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

Victor commented

@Nozinan thank you for your nice review. Interesting. Sounds like one of the lesser Laphroaigs, though I have still never once tasted a BAD Laphroaig.

@BlueNote thanks again for the pep talk! I always like to hear that I am likely to greatly enjoy those two unopened bottles of 2015 Cairdeas that I have never tasted and have stashed away.

@casualtorture as far as I am concerned, every month of the year is Laphroaig time! I especially like the ultra-peat during the intensely hot summer months. Cathartic, sort of like a sweat lodge. It does a body good.

You boys and girls know that I am a Big Flavours Lover. That's why I hang out with people like @Nock, who is a walking peat kiln. If PSB (Peaty/Smoky/Briny) Scotch did not exist my interest in Scottish whisky would likely be like my interest in beer or wine-- discreet, polite, ... and modest both in its extent and in my enthusiasm. @BlueNote did you know that @Nock used to live in Vancouver?

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@Victor I knew that @Nock used to live in Seattle, but wasnt aware he is an ex Vancouverite. If it was some time ago he would be hard pressed to recognize it now, and not in a good way.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?