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…
Laphroaig 15 for $40?! That’s a fantastic deal seomhow I’m having trouble feeling too sorry for you! Agreed on Ardbeg the 10 year is fantastic, and even more aggressively peaty than Laphroaig 10 (it’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing). Caol Ila and Bowmore are also both good I think that the Caol Ila might be closer to what you’re looking for.