Laphroaig Càirdeas - 2020 vs. 2016 Releases


Today we’re looking at a pair of Laphroaig releases:

Laphroaig Càirdeas Port & Wine (2020)

Region: Islay

ABV: 52%

Price: £90

So we’re told this is a mixture of 5 year old ex-bourbon, and 2nd fill ruby port casks that were married together and then finished in red wine casks.

Nose

Yep, it’s a Laphroaig, the bourbon casks influence is noticeable here. There's plenty of peat and iodine on the nose. Along with that we’re getting melted butter on burnt toast, oats, vanilla ice cream, and some red fruits such as strawberries. We’d have thought to the port/red wine notes would have been more prominent.

Palate

Similar to the nose, the palate has a generous amount of notes you’d associate with a bourbon cask Laphroaig. Notes such as burnt sugar and vanilla pods. Of course the peat is here as well, alongside some tar and ash. There's also some sultanas, caramel, and orange peel.

Nose (with water)

With water we’re getting less peat and more fruit. There’s toffee brittle, peanuts, ammonia, and butter cream biscuits.

Palate (with water)

Now the palate has more ash, with a little grit. Fruit is again more prominent with a strong note of grapefruit. Finish has a little ethanol, cracked black pepper, and some chilli.

Conclusion

Is there a bad Laphroaig? We’d say probably not. While this is in no way bad, and we’d happily drink it, It ends up middle of the table if we were ranking Laphroaig’s we’ve tried, and because of that we’re giving it a 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10


Laphroaig Càirdeas Madeira cask (2016)

Region: Islay

ABV: 51.6%

Price: £100 - Approximate auction price.

This particular release is made up of bourbon casks that were married together and recasked in Madeira hogsheads.

Nose

Interesting nose for a Laphroaig, there's dominate notes of burning newspaper, strawberries, and pineapple. Behind those are the more typical Laphroaig notes such as iodine and grilled fish.

Palate

Peat is prominent on the palate with ash, and wood burning smoke at the forefront. Behind that we’re getting orange peel, smoked almonds and white chocolate mice.

Nose (with water)

The smoke has really receding into the background. Similar to the 2020 Càirdeas, we’re getting a lot of melted butter on the nose. There’s also a touch of treacle and liquorice.

Palate (with water)

For those who love the peat, rest assured while the water has dampened it somewhat the peat is still here. We’re also getting much more orange peel, opal fruits, and seawater. Finish is long with smokey notes lingering.

Conclusion

A nice big peated Laphroaig with some tasty fruit notes to round it out. We wouldn’t be disappointed if someone bought us this, but with the bar having been set so high by other releases we wouldn’t actively go and buy it at auction prices. Now if you got this at RRP then it was a great buy.

Score: 8/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

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