"Has somebody dropped their cigarette in the Madeira? Albeit a very pleasant surprise that is nicely balanced and with still the typical Laphroaig features"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Every year since 2009 Laphroaig releases a new Cairdeas at the biggest party on the isle of Islay, Fèis Ìsle. Each time they chose something different, and we had things like port wood, Amontillado, quarter cask, and Maker’s Mark bourbon casks, or combinations thereof. In 2016, they chose to finish their release in Madeira hogsheads. A funny note, look at the alcohol percentage and the year of bottling, they match (each year).
Oh, this is a fruit-loaded smoky nose. Well, not the full basket, I get in particular a lot of apricots. And smoke, brine, and cigarettes, obviously. Dried salty apricots dried on fire. Lots of burning things, burning paper or magazines, and some burning seaweed. Fruity, brine and ashes. Tropics in the kiln?
First there is the usual bandages and iodide ridden smoke, then some ashes, but that is quickly taken over by fruits. In fact, it is full with smoked forest fruits, strawberry juice, liquor de apricot, well a smoked version then. The madeira wood is clearly present. Has somebody dropped their cigarette in the Madeira? It is slightly oily with a hint of sunflower oil. Some liquorice root, burned dried apricots, slightly over-barbecued paprikas, and cigars are added to the mix, and it all works very well. The finish contain lots of coal smoke and brine.
A very pleasant surprise! Based on the fact that Madeira finishing is normally not my favourite one, often making things too sweet, this way nicely balanced with the typical Laphroaig features. Rather, the Madeira was not too actively imposed upon the already quite brilliant spirit. Well done, and the price is not too bad either. I wonder what we they come up with in 2018…
A big thanks to for the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •