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Laphroaig Cairdeas Warehouse 1 Matured In Marker's Mark Bourbon Barrel

What you need to know:

  • Islay giant Laphroaig has submitted for approval its annual Cairdeas (pronounced car-duhss) bottling ready for summer/fall of 2022.
  • Fans are always looking forward to Cairdeas, which means "friendship" in Gaelic, for what's in store, with no two bottlings the same.
  • For 2022, departing manager John Campbell, has perhaps one of his last few parting gifts for us, a bottling that was matured in ex-bourbon casks from US bourbon distillery Maker's Mark, bottled at 52.2% ABV.
  • This bottling was also fully matured at the distillery's shore in the racks of Warehouse 1, which will bear a significant maritime and coastal character on the whisky.
  • We're primed to expect a “shoreline astringency to the classic Laphroaig flavors of peat, smoke, and salt”.
  • Whether the L in Laphroaig stands for "Love It" or "Less Please", the distillery is so revered for the fact that it has a very strong taste profile that is distinctively Laphroaig, I've heard it referred to as bitter medicine or cough syrup both with affection and terror.
  • No better way to capture the best of Laphroaig than with the Cairdeas in our opinion.
  • Cop the Drop of Not Verdict: Cop

  

(Image Source: Maker's Mark, US TTB)

One of Islay’s mainstay distilleries, Laphroaig, has submitted for approval by the US Alcohol Tax Authorities, a fan favorite – the Cairdeas (technically “Càirdeas”, pronounced car-duhss), which will be ready for sale in 2022.

To provide some color to an otherwise very colourful series from Laphroaig, Cairdeas actually means “friendship” in Gaelic and was first released in 2008, quickly becoming a hit with fans – call it Laphroaig’s little inside joke. It’s been released annually since then, with each year’s Cairdeas expression unique from the next. In a way, it’s tantamount to Ardbeg’s annual Committee Release bottling – it’s much more experimental and keeps fans salivating, wondering what’s to come next year.

 

Warehouse 1 lies on the shores of Islay, subjecting maturing casks with a good dose of sea spray which will come through in the whisky. (Image Source: Trip Advisor)

Well the time is nigh and Laphroaig has laid out plans for the 2022 Cairdeas bottling, named “Cairdeas Warehouse 1”, bottled at a venerable 52.2% ABV. What’s pretty interesting this time is that while the Islay distillery hasn’t revealed (and might not) what specific casks they’ve used, which they typically do, but they did throw us a clue – we’re told that first-fill bourbon casks from bourbon distillery Maker’s Mark. 

They did also tell us that these were fully matured in the Islay distillery’s Warehouse 1, which happens to sit by the island’s shore. This apparently imparts a maritime (read sea spray, briny) and coastal character to the whisky, specifically “shoreline astringency to the classic Laphroaig flavors of peat, smoke, and salt”, as we’re told by the distillery.

 

(Image Source: US TTB)

 

For the hardcore Laphroaig fans, this is also a bittersweet bottling as it’ll likely be the last few (if not the last) handled and therefore signed by departing distillery manager John Campbell.

It is bottled at weighty 52.2% ABV and will likely be available sometimes summer/fall of 2022.

 

Our Take 

Laphroaig is one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em distilleries because the distillery has such a distinctive house style of loads of herbaceousness, smoke, salinity – that really heavy peated style that I’ve often heard compared to cough syrup or bitter medicine. It’s so classic Laphroaig that keeps around the ardent fans, but at the same time that distinctiveness cuts both ways and can be pretty divisive.

For the fans, this is a must have, as with every Cairdeas before and every Cairdeas to come. Fans gush for the annual Cairdeas bottlings because they get a chance to taste the Islay giant at its finest, specially crafted by the distillery’s manager with their precise enjoyment in mind. But here’s an ode to the skeptics (including me), if you have to pick your poison and try a single Laphroaig, go with the Cairdeas, trust me.

 

 Each Cairdeas is a new friend. (Image Source: @Dram_Dude Instagram)

Of course, every Cairdeas is its own whisky - they’re all different, but what I’ve come to appreciate is that the bottling is truly an embodiment of friendship. By which I mean, Laphroaig knows (I speculate) that some people are alittle meh about it and hence this bottling is a peace offering, where one half is unmistakably Laphroaig, and the other half is a much more approachable dabble outside of the distillery’s comfort zone.

This bottle is the best way for you to try Laphroaig in a much more accessible way that is probably more comfortable and familiar to the broader whisky community. Past Cairdeas bottlings have brought out aspects of Laphroaig lesser seen, with sanguine dimensions of a more floral Islay peat monster, sweet velvety Port maturations, and the occasional tangy zesty barbeques.

Whatever the case is, it’s not too soon to say that this is gonna be something worth looking out for, fans and skeptics alike.

 

Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Cop

 

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Kanpai!

  

 
@111hotpot