The newest release in Laphroaig’s ongoing Cairdeas series is Laphroaig Cairdeas Amontillado, a single malt that’s been aged in ex-bourbon barrels for eight years before moving to Amontillado sherry casks for an additional year. Finishing whisky in sherry is nothing new, but finishing whisky in Amontillado sherry is an uncommon choice, lending the 2014 Cairdeas an extra bit of intrigue.
On the nose, Laphroaig Cairdeas Amontillado is full of the distinctively peaty, smoky Islay character you’d expect from Laphroaig. But here you’ve also got lots of spice–cinnamon, mostly–plus citrus and sherry notes like figs and dates. Take a sip, and much of those sherry qualities give way to dry leather, peat and brine. It finishes long and dry with a hint of salted meat, plus charcoal, nuts and more leather bringing things to a close.
Laphroaig Cairdeas Amontillado feels a little disjointed compared to last year’s terrific Cairdeas Port Wood expression, but that’s a high bar for any whisky to meet. If you’re a fan of Laphroaig or the Cairdeas series, there’s plenty going on here to warrant a look.
– 51.4% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★