Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Laphroaig Cairdeas 200th Anniversary (2015) – 51.5%
Context: Cairdeas, the annual special edition from Laphroaig. This one’s from 2015 and celebrates floor malting and some of their older, smaller stills accompanied by full bourbon cask maturation for around 11 years. Grain focused, ex-bourbon, with a decade+ of aging, all for under $70 sticker (I found it at $69.99) - sign me up. This is a more naked presentation than the focus on finishing barrels that have dominated the series of late.
Nose: Soft roasted grain. Hay. Barns. Light caramel. Camphor. Bonfire.
Flavor: The caramels from the bourbon barrels kick, but it’s all about the grains and soft smoke. Grainy and medicinal (camphor) and sweet (soft caramel). There’s some bright lemon in there too. The oak is very restrained and I count that as a bonus. The peat isn’t nearly as challenging as Laphroaig can get. It’s a long finish with the smoke making itself known. But it’s Laphroaig, so you already knew that.
Palate Structure: Big and pillowy. Soft. Slow and rolling. Being so well composed, it loses a bit of its Laphroaig edge.
Alcohol Integration: Great balance of big body and controlled heat.
You’d Dig This If You Like:
Guadeloupe Rum - Bellevue 19+ yr. (110+ proof)
Trinidad Rum - Caroni 15+ yr. (~120 proof)
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) I've prefered some of the wine finishes (port, fino, amontillado), but this is an Islay profile that I always want on hand.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour