Thursday, 3 January 2013

Whisky Discovery #289

Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin 2012 NAS (51.2% abv OB, 2012, 70cl)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
circa £45.00 70cl

Laphroaig was the first whisky I ever bought, and the first whisky club I joined too. I immediately joined 'Friends of Laphroaig' upon finding the unique bottle code on the leaflet within every bottle of Laphroaig, and promptly became a landowner, owning one square foot of property on Islay!

The beauty of becoming a Friend of Laphroaig is that you automatically get 10% off of most shop sales, and then on your birthday, you are sent a voucher which entitles you to a further 10% off of your purchase. The voucher is valid for a good few weeks so you don't have to make any rash decisions. I was about to spend my voucher on an 18 Year Old, but this limited release came up and I had to have it. Perhaps I'll get the 18 Year Old on my next birthday, it's definitely on the wish list after tasting it at the Birmingham Whisky Club Whisky Show last month.

So, getting back to the blog post, this bottling was released at the Feis Ile, to celebrate the very popular Friends of Laphroaig whisky club turning 18 years old. Càirdeas means friendship in Gaelic, a which is rather a fitting name for this expression, although probably difficult to pronounce unless fluent in Gaelic!

The thoughtful chaps and chapesses at Laphroaig retained some of the very first Càirdeas for the ‘Friends’ 18th birthday expression .This whisky is now between 13 and 21 years old. It was then blended 50:50 with some new spirit fully matured in quarter casks for 7 years and bottled it without any chill filtering for maximum flavour, and at 51.2% abv strength, the last two digits matching the year of production.

So What Did We Think?

I'll come straight to the point - I just love it. There's a flash of citrus zest before the iodine medicinal notes strike. I was tasting this alongside the Bowmore Enigma and it's much more earthy than the fruity Bowmore. Its grassy with straw bales and charcoal, ash and dust it's a deliciously 'dirty' dram and reminds me of the charcoal village that I used to drive through when I lived in the Far East - I loved driving through that camp where they made lump wood charcoal. Eventually I was able to tease some fruit out of it - firm white grapes, and some very faint toffee notes.

Water seemed to have little effect on the nose, the charcoal remains dominant throughout.

On the palate the peat hit is instant, there's a light sweetness accompanied by some salty brine. The citrus zest found on the nose appears on the palate too. There is an immense spicy pepper build up in the mouth, attacking the tongue, but it subsides quite quickly once swallowed, leaving a delicious earthy peat flavour.

Water tames the fire and makes the dram both sweeter and softer.

The finish is long and satisfyingly warming with a balance of smoke peat, charcoal, a tangy sweetness and light brine. Long and lingering like a dying beach bonfire and then right at the very end, liquorice root appears. I just adore it. Have you tried it ? What did you think?

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