Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask is a release I’ve been dying to try ever since I first tasted the lovely Laphroaig Quarter Cask which. Even though it’s NAS, like all Caideas releases, and notably young it carries a depth and poise that runs deeper than its 5ish years might typically muster. This is the kind of whisky that can easily make you forget about things like age and just focus on what’s in your glass.
In Laphroaig’s Words: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask
“Each year, Laphroaig Distillery Manager, John Campbell, crafts a limited edition malt to celebrate friendship (“Cairdeas” in Gaelic). For several years, Friends of Laphroaig® have been yearning for a Cask Strength version of the popular Laphroaig Quarter Cask expression, which offers an irresistible doubling of flavor, due to the double maturation in two American oak barrels. This year, that dream becomes a reality with Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask.
The 2017 bottling of Cairdeas features different ages of Laphroaig matured for more than five years in first-fill bourbon casks, then laid to rest for a second time in smaller quarter casks. After six months of further maturation, the liquid from 177 of the casks was bottled at Cask Strength — no color added, no chilling and a simple barrier filtration.”
And with that, let’s dig right into the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask review!
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: Ex-Bourbon & Quarter Cask
Age: NAS (5+ years)
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask Review
Honey, fruit, smoke, malt, plastic, orange zest, pepper and a bit of vanilla. Water makes the smoke explode and brings out a bit more graham and citrus and a more pronounced iodine and saline character.
Char, smoke, apples, honey, vanilla, allspice, pepper, mineral water and a touch of mint. Initial delivery is a bit flat with everything being roughly even but a bit of water sends the smoke shooting skyward and also unlocks the saline, iodine and burnt plastic/band-aid phenolic character we all love.
Long fade of spice, fruit, smoke, peat and mineral water.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, full body and a heavy oily feel.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask is young but elegant. The mixing of the honied fruit with the mineral heavy saline character comes across as both bold and balanced. This is a whisky I can easily come home and sip on any day of the week and be more than happy it’s in my glass. Though to really unlock its potential you do need to add a bit of water.
I know that statement makes a few folks out there cringe, but if you want to get everything you can out of the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask you need a bit. Out of the gate, it’s a bit closed off and the peat feels a bit hidden, especially on the nose. But with a small splash of H20 and a couple minutes of air the peat come barreling out of the glass dragging the sweet and mineral driven notes behind it turning this dram into an experience.
SCORE: 89/100 (B+)
*Disclosure: This was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
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