Around this time last year I reviewed Laphroaig Cairdeas Madeira and it blew me away. Cairdeas Madeira was an amazing example of what the world of single malt scotch has to offer; it was distinctive, earthy, peaty, and full of life. Well another fall has come and Laphroaig has released another Cairdeas in their annual series celebrating friendship and fine scotch, but this one is totally unlike the others.
This year’s iteration, Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask, is another animal entirely. This unadulterated and pure cask-strength scotch is not for those new to the whisky game, it is for those that have are well traveled scotch lovers looking for the next mountain to climb. First off Cairdeas Quarter Cask is a whopping 114.4 proof (57.2 ABV) behemoth which is the very essence of undiluted and raw power. The nose does not quite tip you off to the experience you are about to have; it starts with hints of fresh vanilla and sweet malt overtones with an underlying base of bonfire style burnt wood. The palate is extremely deep and complex where the hints of vanilla noted in the nose comes to life amid a base of smoky fury. The mouthfeel has an oily essence that melds perfectly with wisps of licorice bitterness. Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask finishes surprisingly smooth with cream and smoke notes dominating for a long while on the palate.
If you are a true scotch lover and aficionado take the dive off the deep end in to this superb cask strength whisky. Be sure to enjoy Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask with a bit of water, up to 15% the total volume, in order to open up both the nose and palate and to settle this monster of a Islay scotch down a bit. This scotch is not for beginners, it is for those looking to experience cast-strength scotch in its rawest form. While it may be a bit daunting, trying Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask is extremely rewarding in every way imaginable.