The newest Cairdeas release is upon us. Since 2008, Laphroaig distillery has released a special bottle in honor of their distillery’s day for the annual Feis Ile festival on Islay. In the early days they simply bottled various aged, standard Laphroaig malt. Then they blended several random age statements together and released those. In 2013 they released their first specialty finished cask- the Port wood version. It’s been their biggest, white whale Cairdeas bottle to date, but in 2017 they began another trend of taking something from their core range and releasing it at cask strength as their Cairdeas bottle. For 2019, they’ve given us the venerable Triple Wood CS. It’s bottled at a whopping 59.5% ABV. Now, the standard Triple Wood usually gets a mixed bag of reviews: some love all the wood influence, some do not. Some people think the cask notes overpower the standard Laphroaig medicinal qualities and campfire smoke. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the first bottle of Triple Wood I ever bought, but they won me over on the second go around. So, I was anxious to try this beefed up version, although I do miss the days when Laphroaig experimented more for the Feis Ile bottles. The 2019 Cairdeas is surprisingly more amber in color than the standard Triple Wood fare. There’s very skinny legs and tiny drops running around this oily beast. The nose provides the BBQ smoke and band aids you’ve come to expect from th’ frog. Young oak flexes it’s muscle before releasing more subtle flavors like mint, berries and sherry grapes. The palate starts out with some crazy sherry notes- way more than the standard Triple Wood. Way, way more. The higher ABV leads to a more abrasive mouthfeel, but the sweet smoke and sea salt play a delicious role here as well. There’s still a ton of oak to remind you this is the Triple Wood, but the sherry aspect takes center stage and just dances into the recesses of your mouth. It’s quite the performer. The finish is also hot, but sweet and mouthwatering. Heavy wood notes linger on after the sherry fades and an increased warmth will either have you sitting back relishing the power of cask strength whisky or scrambling for some water to tamp down the flames. It’s all about how much you can take. Personally, I really love this version. I was feeling a little uninspired when they announced this because I wasn’t overly impressed with 2017’s Quarter Cask CS. I felt like the regular QC was beautifully balanced and wasn’t improved upon. This CS Triple Wood is still complex, hot as the devil, but sweetened just enough with the sherry cask to make it hit all the right notes. It’s not perfect, the young spirit still holds it back a little, but it’s better than the standard Triple Wood. The fact it’s cask strength and only $10-15 more than the core bottle makes this a nice value for money purchase, too. I give this 4.5 stars and urge fans of the regular Triple Wood to seek it out and buy a case. Normal Laphroaig fans should also snag a bottle or two and just take their time enjoying this beefed up, wood blend beauty. Cheers, my friends.
90.0 USD per Bottle