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