The”Cairdeas” (meaning friendship in Gaelic) is a special product from Laphroaig that is unique to each bottling, and meant as a token of thanks by the distillery to its many supporters. It is also a No Age Statement (NAS) whisky, which allows the distillery to give such a broad variation in taste each year. Our bottle was the Port Wood Edition, adding an additional flavoring to the standard bourbon oak maturation.
Location: Port Ellen
Maturation: Port casks
Nose: smoke, fruit, toast
Palette: smoke, brine, wood, tawny port
Finish: brine, warm, echo of peat
Comments: Water is needed. Not complex, but the few notes are prominent.
Adam – This Scotch suffered from some unfortunate scheduling, coming on the heels of the Oban and Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition. Frankly, nothing short of angel tears would have kept pace after those two. I do like the soft smokiness in the nose, coupled with the port. My biggest complaint about this whisky is the absurdly short finish, with only a Pyrrhic bloom of warmth in the chest later on. This Scotch needs to be watered – no surprise, given the alcohol per volume. If you can find the right ratio of water, this can keep you toasty on a cold winter night, though I will always want it to be more complex than it actually is. Given that the Cairdeas changes from year to year, Scotchology may have to revisit another iteration of this whisky in the future to see if redemption can be found (Editor’s Note: we finally did, here).
Kate – Like an interloper in a gentlemen’s club. Smells like leather, cigar, oak and iodine. It smells like old men. Present in the nose and finish, but the taste is very lackluster, even if it has texture. This is the kind of Scotch I could imagine my grandfather drinking.
Meghan – Shrug. This entry from Laphroaig leaves me underwhelmed. There is nothing technically wrong with it but the Cairdeas is just unable to hold my attention. The nose is too weak to draw me back in and the finish too short to help me remember what I just tasted. Sadly, what stands out about it most is the unpleasant shock of heat and burn when tasted unwatered. The fact that I had to experience it at least twice to remember not to do it again highlights how forgettable it can be. Another downside for it- it requires an alchemist’s touch with the water to get the right balance… and the outcome isn’t worth the work.