Review: Laphroaig 2017 Cairdeas Quarter Cask

Laphroaig 2017 Cairdeas - Cask Strength Quarter Cask

Single Malt Scotch - Islay Region, Scotland 

57.2% ABV

Laphroaig 2017 Cairdeas Cask Strength Quarter Cask 

Every year Laphroaig releases a special and limited whisky to celebrate and thank their “Friends of Laphroaig”. This celebration is their Cairdeas bottling which is Gaelic for “friendship”. An obvious and very suitable titling for a whisky, especially since whisky always tastes better when it is shared with good friends. And trust me, this is absolutely a great one to share. For 2017 Laphroaig’s Cairdeas is a cask strength Quarter Cask. For those already familiar withe their standard Quarter Cask bottling, get yourselves buckled up and get ready for takeoff because this one will take you for a great ride. For those that are not you can read my notes about it HERE which explains the use of these smaller casks and how they in turn effect the maturation process. But for now, on to this whisky!

The nose is layered with aromas of salty smoke, leather, root beer barrel candies, vanilla, charred oak and dark citrus peel depending on how far deep you want to take yourself. A Glencairn or similarly shaped tulip style glass is definitely key for getting all of these layers. The obvious smoke and peat character is easy to be had, but in my opinion a larger tumbler or rocks style glass just lets too much escape and pass by without it being focused for you to get a full sense (and scent) of what is there. On the palate there is a pleasant and surprising amount of creamy sweetness combined with charred and burnt BBQ flavors that leave a semi-dry finish with herbal mint and mentholic notes. Fear not though, those root beer candies are still hanging around and are not leaving the party without one last chance to say, “Hi there, how are you?”. 

With a drop of water there is considerable more warmth from the 57.2% ABV. Crushed pepper melds with the charred oak very nicely and lingers like a nice little beach campfire. Proper “Scottish central heating” as my great friend and mentor, Michael Walsh would say. A very nice dram and a pleasant change of gear for those looking for a Laphroaig with a little less of the medicinal “iodiney" character but still craving that lovely peat smoke. Slainte!

Jay ColeComment