Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Review

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Review

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 was first released at this year’s Fèis Ìle and that’s when the rumblings about something new and interesting coming from Laphroaig began. From there I kept reading reports about how phenomenal this whisky was as it rolled in from the East Coast and then those reports of its awesomeness stopped for several months somewhere in the mid-west. It did this because CA and the West Coast didn’t get their shipment in until fairly recently. I don’t know the exact reason why, but since the Laphroaig 15 years still hasn’t shown up in CA I’m guessing it’s a distributor thing.

As with all Cairdeas releases the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 has something unique about it and this time around that uniqueness is the fact that it was created using 100% Laphroaig floor malted barley and matured completely in Warehouse #1 which is the famous sea-neighboring warehouse. Even though Laphroaig still has a malting floor it’s so small in comparison to how much they need that each batch of Laphroaig only contains about 20% of their own floor malted barley with the rest coming from Port Ellen maltings. This use of 100% Laphroaig floor malted barley, and being distilled on their smallest stills, gives us a glimpse into what the Laphroaig of old might have tasted like… ah the good old days.

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Info

Region: Isaly, Scotland

Distiller: Laphroaig
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon (Maker’s Mark barrels)
Age: NAS (approx. 11 3/4 years was given at a recent tasting)
ABV: 51.5%
PPM: 80

Price: $85

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Review

EYE
Inky yellow

NOSE
Oily nuts, peat, malt and fruity sweetness make a lovely combo. A combo which can, and in this case is, enhanced by notes of cocoa, brine and a light bit of dark sweets.

PALATE
The flavor meanders across the palate carrying a bag of peat, french toast, fruit, butterscotch heavy dark sweets and a bit of citrus. A dark earthy undertone builds during its journey and pops a bit towards the end.

FINISH
Long and earthy with nice notes of toasted nuts, smoke, fruit and dark candy sweetness showing up along the way.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Nicely balanced, full body and a velvety texture.

OVERALL
Next to the famous purple Laphroaig this is my favorite of the Cairdeas releases and brings a completely unique character to the modern Laphroaig lineup. Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 is tasty, it’s expressive and it has an X factor to it that makes me happy to sit, sniff and sip.

It has a different aspect to it than the current Laphroaig releases and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, bringing a different approach and dimension to a whisky I’ve known and loved for years. Definitely a keeper and I plan on picking up a couple more bottles of it if I’m able to track them down here in SoCal.

SCORE: 91/100

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 91
  • Palate - 91
  • Finish - 91
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 91

Summary

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 is an absolute stunner of a whisky and if you can find it at MSRP it’s a great value considering most limited editions these days ring in at over $100.

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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9 Responses to Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 Review

  1. The 91 is a reasonable score for this one. It’s definitely better than the 2014, which had a type of sweetness that I found off putting. In fact, this is so good, I’ll make it my occasional “half-dram” to make it last, and to see how it changes with time. Oh yeah, I also need to pick up a couple more!

  2. Here in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, we will never see this one. Too bad. But you raised a point that I thought interesting. The identify of the barrel, coming from Maker’s Mark. A question that probably cannot ever by answered with authority, but has anyone taken the time (like that would be all someone has time for) to check into a Scottish distillery production, and the exact bourbon maker’s barrel, to see if that influences to any marked degree, the taste. Thanks again, for another excellent review.

    • Thanks CK. I don’t know if anyone has done a side by side aging to see what different ex-bourbon barrels do to whiskey, but I know that Kilchoman uses the exact same peated malt as Ardbeg but use only Buffalo Trace barrels to age their whiskey in and despite both starting with the exact same 50 PPM malt they taste quite a bit different. Of course there are a ton of other factors in play when it comes to yeast, fermentation and distillation methods, but one can’t help but imagine the bourbon that was in the barrels also plays a not-insiginifcant role in the final flavor. But until someone does a full SBS with different barrels it’d be tough to say exactly how much that influence is.

      Cheers!

  3. 80 PPM, eh? Where did you find that out? I think this is the first review I’ve seen anywhere that mentioned a peating level. (Pretty high!)

    • That’s the PPM level that was given out by Simon at a recent Laphroaig tasting when asked about this. Since it’s 100% floor malted at Laphroaig it ended up with a higher PPM than usual.

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