Laphroaig Càirdeas – with a little help from our friends

Laphroaig, despite being the biggest-selling Islay whisky, doesn’t mess around with many special edition bottlings. The distillery has a solid core range, an occasional selection of older and more expensive bottlings, and a few travel retail exclusives, but it focuses almost all of its special-edition efforts on a single bottle each year: Laphroaig Càirdeas.

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Laphroaig Càirdeas 2020 Port & Wine Casks

Laphroaig Càirdeas Port & Wine

While this year’s Islay Festival of Malt and Music – Fèis Ìle – has been rather different to other years thanks to the joys of the global pandemic, some things have stayed the same – a load of special whiskies have been released. Most distilleries keep their festival releases for visitors of the island, but a couple regularly send theirs a bit further afield. One of those is a whisky that I grab every year and have become an obsessive collector of, despite not always liking the dram: Laphroaig’s release. This year’s is one that wears its ‘Billy won’t like this’ credentials on its sleeve, but as ever, I’ll give it a go – Laphroaig Càirdeas Port & Wine Casks 2020: Port & Wine Casks.

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Laphroaig Càirdeas 2019 – Cask Strength Triple Wood

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2019

When it comes to whisky festival releases, Laphroaig has one of the longest-runnning traditions. Since 2008, the distillery has produced a bottle for Fèis Ìle – the Islay Festival of Malt and Music – as part of the same series: Càirdeas. The 2019 release is a fan request become reality – Laphroaig Càirdeas Triple Wood Original Cask Strength.

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Laphroaig Select

Laphroaig Select

From time to time the little whisky geek echo chamber that I sit in gets its collective metaphorical panties in virtual bunch. The most recent bunch-incident happened this past weekend with the launch of Laphroaig Select, the latest entry in the distillery’s ongoing line-up. Like a good little whisky geek, I got caught up with the crowd, but have spent the last few days considering my opinion. While I initially tried it within hours of the announcement of its existence was made public, a couple of days of thought have changed my mind considerably about the whisky.

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Laphroaig Cairdeas 2013 Port Wood and Origin 2012

Laphroaig Cairdeas

My fondness for Laphroaig is becoming a bit of a cliché. I’m not sure these days whether I pick up the bottles I do because I’m fairly sure I’m going to like them or whether it’s habit. Fortunately so far I’ve not been let down, with the Laphroaig QA Cask, Sherry Cask and various Cask Strength batches I’ve found recently all hitting the spot. However, there’s one bottling that I’m certain I’ll keep on getting as long as they let us buy it from their website – Laphroaig Cairdeas.

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Laphroaig QA Cask

I’m slightly obsessed with Laphroaig. I’ve been a fan for a while, but over the last couple of years, ever since trying a 1990s version of Laphroaig 10, I’ve grabbed every one of their new releases, bought a few older ones at auction and investigated independent bottlings. Their new releases over the last few years have focused around Travel Retail, formerly known as Duty Free, with Triple Wood and PX appearing on the shelves. The former has now been moved into the general market, replaced by the latter, and this month they announced that another whisky had been added to the Travel Retail exclusive line-up – Laphroaig QA Cask.

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Whisky Live(ish) #1 – SMWS and Bistro du Vin

This week has been ‘hard’. By ‘hard’ I mean that my normal ‘work’ has been supplemented by even more events than usual, culminating in the 2-day fungasm (fungasm might be going too far, I will admit) that was Whisky Live London 2011. I was at there under the auspices of work and I have at least one blog post bubbling in the back of my brain to be decanted onto the TWE blog, but I also did Other Things around the time which seem to fit better over here.

First up – a preview tasting of whiskies with the folks from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

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