Laphroaig is one of the most popular distilleries on Islay, and the Càirdeas releases have an almost religious following among aficionados. Officially, this is a Friends of Laphroaig release which to the best information I have is an 8 year old, having spent seven years in ex bourbon casks and was finished for one year in Amontillado sherry casks. Amontillado is a dryer style of sherry compared to Oloroso.
Interestingly, when you look at the numbers of bottles produced by each distillery for their Fèis Ìle release, you realize that this isn’t a novelty release for the festival, rather a major worldwide release who’s release date correlates with the Islay Festival.
Laphroaig Càirdeas 2014, 8 Year Old Amontillado Sherry Finish (51.4% ABV)
Appearance: Amber with slow forming legs.
Nose: Medicinal peat, banana, fruit soup, warm spices, pound cake with powdered sugar with a layer of tartness pronounced by sour fruit and berries. The nose alternates between the sweet and the tart in a most tantalizing way. Water strengthens the warm spice and releases a floral note.
Palate: 100% Laphroaig with a layer of sweetness from the sherry with an addition of spice. Sour yellow plums are evident, again with a sweet and sour interplay.
Linger: Peat, sweetness on the tongue, coffee grinds and a tingle on the sides of the tongue. This is a linger you’ll take with you for a very long time, as it just stays around almost forever.
Fresh and good, with an abundance of fruit. It works, even if it isn’t the best Càirdeas I’ve ever had…