Island of Islay Laphroaig Distillery Scotland Whisky from 200 euros and over

Laphroaig Càirdeas 2012 Origin

Review of the bottling for 2012 Fèis Ìle

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 51.2%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon refill and quarter cask
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Suntory
Average price: € 300.00
Official website: www.laphroaig.com
Vote: 89/100

Fifth edition for this exclusive bottling for the Fèis Ìle, released in 2012 in 20,000 bottles.
The previous year’s version made many people turn up their noses (but not me), and this one decided, right from the name, to return to its origins.
It’s the result of combining in equal proportions ex-Bourbon casks dating back to the first Càirdeas in 2008 (with ageing varying between 18 and 21 years) and quarter casks around seven years old, bottled at a reduced alcohol content: in effect, a much more classic recipe than the previous one.
Colourful note: from the following year, each edition of Càirdeas had a higher alcohol content than the previous one by one percentage point, a tradition that was followed in alternate years after 2016.

As always, here’s the full list of the series:
2008 Càirdeas – ex-Sherry, 55%ABV;
2009 Feis Ila – ex-Bourbon, 57.5%ABV;
2010 Master Edition – ex-Bourbon Hogsheads, 57.3%ABV;
2011 Ileach – ex-bourbon, 50.5%ABV;
2012 Origin – ex-Quarter Casks and ex-Bourbon Refill Casks, 51.2%ABV;
2013 Port Wood Edition – ex-Bourbon finished in ex-Port barrels, 51.3%ABV;
2014 Bottled 2014 – ex-Bourbon First Fill finished in ex-Sherry Amontillado Hogsheads, 51.4%,ABV;
2015 200th Anniversary Edition – ex-Bourbon, 51.5%ABV (special edition for the bicentennial);
2016 Madeira Cask – ex-Bourbon finished in ex-Madeira Hogsheads, 51.6%ABV;
2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask – ex-Bourbon First Fill from Maker’s Mark finished in Quarter Casks ex-Bourbon, 57.2%ABV;
2018 Fino Cask Finish – ex-Bourbon First Fill finished in ex-Sherry Fino, 51.8%ABV;
2019 Triple Wood – ex-Bourbon, Quarter Cask and finished in ex-Oloroso Sherry, 59.5%ABV;
2020 Port & Wine Casks – ex-Bourbon, ex-Ruby Port and ex-Red Wine, 52%ABV;
2021 Pedro Ximénez Casks – ex-Bourbon, ex-quarter cask and ex-Sherry PX, cask strength at 58.9%ABV.

Tasting notes

The nose is an early morning stroll on the shore, brackish notes intertwining with fresher impressions of tropical fruit (pineapple, pink grapefruit) punctuated by custard, butter biscuits, star anise and nutmeg. Herbaceous smoke with medicinal touches. Creamy and crisp.
Liveliness that is found also in the mouth, with a sprinkle of white pepper that introduces a heart suspended between marine and sweet, a fruit and seaweed tart slightly burnt in the oven. Tamarind, candied pineapple, toasted pine needles, Catalan cream and a crisp blanket of smoke that welcomes but doesn’t cover, thanks also to the support of a well-calibrated alcohol content.
The finish is long with an elegant peppery quality that echoes the olfactory aspects cloaked in a more decisive and ashy smokiness.

This is a solid whisky, almost granite-like in its elegance, with a striking balance between smoke and sweetness, renouncing to certain connotations typical of the distillery. Full but not particularly rich, it could perhaps have been more daring, but it remains a classy dram.

Reviews of Laphroaig whisky in the blog

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