Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (200th anniversary edition)

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015.jpg

So… hey, I own this and haven’t reviewed it. I’m special, with a capital dumb.

And it’s not like it was jammed in the back of the whisky cabinet (which I’d show a picture if it wasn’t both deep (teehee), black, and not well lit, thus making it unphotogenic). Right up front.

But what is Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (200th anniversary edition)? Well each year Laphroaig brings out a new whisky for Fèis Ìle, done in a different way. And if you need to find out the age, up until 2017, the last digit of the alcohol percentage can be added to 201X and that’s the year it came out.

At least, I think it is.

So in the past years we had Amontillado Sherry casks, we had Portwood casks, and we had Origins, a simpler idea. What was 2015? Other than the last year of hope on earth?

Well in 2015 Master Distiller John Campbell used 100% floor malted barley, made at the distillery’s own small malting floor. Then they used the two smaller, older stills during distillation. Finally they matured them in ex-bourbon casks for about 12 years.

The idea was this is similar to the recipe from the early days of the whisky, thus celebrating their 200th anniversary with something that makes sense. Granted the only nit pick I have (and it’s a minor one, calm your back hairs) is that ex-bourbon casks weren’t used until 1949, so perhaps virgin casks or ex-Laphroaig casks would have made it more authentic.

Granted that’s “nerds yelling at Shatner” level of sadness and honestly it’s the norm. Not to mention doing too much out of the norm on this (from current standards) may end up with a mess.

Heck, for all I know, they had to pour out some ex-virgin cask whisky because some guy had the sample thought as me. We all forget things at times.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

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Price: No longer available

Region: Islay

Abv: 51.5%

Colour: 10Y 9/6

Nose: Coal, caramel, wine gummies, cinnamon bread, light roast coffee, strawberry pie, grassy

Interesting nose. Some earth forward flavours, some caramel, and some sweeter, almost too sweet notes. Buttery notes come out as time happens.

It’s been so long since I’ve made my buttery cinnamon bread or had wine gums. It’s almost like I’ve… forgotten them!

Taste: Peat, apple pie, tar, papaya, butter tarts, black licorice

Here’s the peat. If the nose was a surprise, the taste starts out with a “don’t you worry, it’s a Laphroaig” speech, making sure you didn’t forget what you were drinking.

And wow, the peat and licorice and tar are strong here. It fights with the butter back and forth. Lots of fatty notes here that reminds me of wider times for myself.

Finish: Wine gums, Chinese 5 spice ham, strawberry jam, musty, lemon tart

Spicier finish that leans more on the nose than the taste. It plays you out nicely. If I had this blind, I’d think it was a balanced, almost second maturation ex-Oloroso sherry cask.

Which if I forgot, the label tells me otherwise. Nice length on it too.

Conclusion: An interesting dram that I wish I had sooner (only because I enjoy it quite a bit). Shame on me for waiting, I guess. The nose is probably the most interesting part, with lots of unique notes. If you’re picking this up because you’re normally a Laphroaig fan, you’ll be in for a surprise, as it’s different.

The taste, though, is similar to current whiskies. And current fans will enjoy it. The finish is calm and light fruits, which is need.

Frankly I enjoyed this more than the 2014, yet it doesn’t hit the “OMGWTFBBQ” levels of the 2013 Portwood, which I’ll never forget. So if you can find this (sorry for being late), try it!


Scotch review #836, Islay review #203, Whisky Network review #1347

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