Our love of Laphroaig is well known, so we were very excited to review the distillery’s special edition series entitled “Cairdeas.” Cairdeas means “friendship” in Gaelic. Gaelic is still intermittently used in parts of Scotland, especially in the northwest of the country. I was surprised to find Gaelic road signs and radio stations during my travels there.
Laphroaig releases a Cairdeas edition each year, which Andrew and I very much look forward to. Andrew has developed a habit of bringing me a bottle of Cairdeas for special occasions — wedding, baptisms, and the like — and it has certainly become a way to celebrate our friendship.
Color: Port red with a hint of copper
Aroma: Very sweet off the nose with peat smoke, sea salt, and medicinal overtones
Palate: Matches aroma to perfection. Initial taste has butterscotch, spice, and rhubarbs. Peat smoke dominates the middle taste but gives way to a wonderfully long, oily, port-sweet finish.
Andrew: There are few better whiskys with which to celebrate the Easter season. The Cairdeas 2013 is one of Laphroaig’s best, with its perfect blend of peat and port. I wouldn’t have imagined that the traditional Laphroaig could be improved so much, but this edition magnifies the beautiful aromas and taste of the original to create a wonderfully unique and exceptionally enjoyable Islay single malt. While I look forward to every subsequent Cairdeas which Laphroaig will produce, I doubt they will be able to produce something more perfect than this.
Michael: The 2013 edition of Cairdeas achieved a level of perfection unrivaled at the price point. Simply put, this bottle is a masterpiece and if you can still find it you should absolutely buy as many as you can get your hands on and put them away for very special occasions. Without question this is the best whisky I have ever had.
Verdict: Empyrean Heaven, the tenth level of Paradiso.