Friday, December 31, 2021

Laphroaig Cairdeas Port & Wine Casks Islay Single Malt Scotch

- $100
- 104 Proof
- Islay

I have absolutely grown to love sweet and peat. It started when my wife brought home a random bottle of Longrow Red almost five years ago. Since then I've not only grabbed every Longrow Red release, but I've also made it a point to try anything else I can get my hands on that has that combination of smoky peat and a wine barrel finish.

So, naturally, I find myself drinking Islay Scotches fairly regularly, and the Laphroaig Cairdeas releases certainly meet that criteria. This particular release was a blend of whisky matured in second fill Ruby Port barrels and ex-bourbon barrels, and then finished in red wine casks.  There was no question this would give me all that sweet and peat I was after.

Right away I got a ton of dark, jammy fruits on the nose. It was a rich and sweet combination of blackberry and fig. The peat was not anywhere near what I expected, and was only mildly present. That, however, allowed for soft notes of orange and vanilla to come through. The overall combination was incredibly mouth-watering.

As to the palate, right up front I got that nice hit of smoke, along with a black pepper spice on the tip of my tongue, followed immediately by that rich blackberry jam note. There was a little bit of fig and raisin as well, to add a bit of richness, but I also got something bright, like red raspberry, that was unexpected. 

There was a decent amount of brown sugar sweetness, perhaps at times leaning more towards a molasses note. It also had a bit of a pastry note, like puff pastry used for Danishes. 

The finish, though, was what made me fall in love with this whisky. It was on the finish that the smoky peat really kicked in. That peat note coupled beautifully with the rich, jammy blackberry and fig that also dominated, resulting in this smoky, sticky, fruity note that remined me a bit of a sweet barbecue sauce. Put this on some pork ribs and you might have something!

This is an incredible example of what I love in that sweet and peat combination. "Cairdeas" translates to friendship, and I think I've found a new friend here. This is going to be right there with the Longrow Red as a release I'm going to be picking up every time it comes out.

Grade: A

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