Laphroaig Càirdeas 2024


We're kicking off the week with a look at the 2024 release of Laphroaig Càirdeas.

Laphroaig Càirdeas 2024

Region: Islay

ABV: 52.4%

Price: £89.00

The 2024 Càirdeas release from Laphroaig is a 10-year-old expression crafted from a combination of casks from two previous releases, Triple Wood and PX Cask. The 2019 Triple Wood release involved initial maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, followed by aging in quarter casks, and a final period in European oak casks previously holding Oloroso sherry. The 2021 PX Cask release started in ex-bourbon barrels, moved to bourbon quarter casks, and finished in Pedro Ximenez casks. This blend was bottled at a fixed strength of 52.4% ABV.

Nose

On the nose, this whisky offers caramelised figs, pomegranate, dry untreated wood, and a hint of pine cones, complemented by chocolate with cashew nuts and a hint of bonfire smoke. When exposed to air and a little time, additional aromas of bacon crisps, cherry cola, tar, ash, cinnamon spice, chocolate, and prunes emerge. The casks dominate the nose, but the aromas that are here are not unpleasant.

Palate

The taste initially is slightly dry and bitter, featuring some smoked fruits. We’re finding the peat is restrained and relatively tame. This could due to the neck pour, as the flavours begin to open up over time, and a second dram. Sweet notes like chocolate and hard toffee candy, akin to treacle, start to emerge, accompanied by sour cherry, brown sugar, and a touch of ginger spice that lingers beyond the other flavours in the medium-length finish. As more time passes, spices such as paprika and cumin become noticeable. The mouthfeel is satisfying, and although cask strength might have been preferable, the reduced ABV is quite drinkable.

Nose (with water)

Adding water to the nose results in largely unchanged aromas, though there is a slight emergence of a chemical scent, reminiscent of chlorine or iodine. It also becomes a touch drier with less smoke and less sweetness.

Palate (with water)

With water added, there's a reduction in spice, while ash and smoky notes become more pronounced, reminiscent of BBQ glazed pork or smouldering brisket burnt ends. There's also an increase in sweetness, with chocolate notes becoming more apparent and a hint of citrus, perhaps sweet Sicilian lemon, emerging. The mouthfeel becomes slightly diminished yet still retains its character. The finish remains unchanged.

Conclusion

This is one to uncork the day before you plan to drink, as it seems to suffer a bit from neck pour and improves significantly the day after opening. However, we're not convinced it improved enough to surpass the PX cask release. While it delivers a whack of sherry, it offers too little peat for our tastes. That said, we're confident this release will divide opinions, as many will prefer this slightly tamer Laphroaig. We give it a personal score of 7/10 and a technical score of 8/10.

Score: 8/10

Value

It's priced the same as last year's Càirdeas, which we're pleased to see, but we would have preferred it if this release were also bottled at cask strength.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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