Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish (2018 Release)

Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish (2018 Release)

In 2008, Laphroaig released the first bottling of Cairdeas (Gaelic for “friendship”) to the Friends of Laphroaig, their customer loyalty program. Created as a celebration of friendship and intended to be the first in a series of limited edition, annual releases, the Friends of Laphroaig voted to make Cairdeas the permanent name of the annual bottling.

Since that time we’ve seen Laphroaig Cairdeas releases finished in Port (2013), Amontillado (2014), Madeira (2016), and now, Fino wine casks. Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish (2018 Release) has been double matured in first fill bourbon casks and Fino Sherry Hogsheads. How does it compare to past releases?

Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish Specifications:

  • Spirit: Scotch.
  • Type: Single Malt.
  • Region: Islay.
  • Age: NAS (No Age Statement).
  • ABV: 51.8% (103.6 Proof).
  • Cask: Matured in first fill bourbon casks and Fino Sherry Hogsheads.
  • NCF (Non-Chill Filtered)? Yes.
  • Natural Color? Yes.
  • Price: $79.99 for 750 ml.

Elias’ Notes:

  • Color: Amber.
  • Nose: Like walking into a burning ice cream parlor or bakery. Vanilla ice cream, almonds, stewed fruit. Smoky, medicinal, iodine, a hint of burnt matchstick.
  • Palate: Sweet and savory. More vanilla ice cream, smoke, iodine, and medicinal notes. Almond milk, eggnog, burnt matchstick, lactic acid, raspberries, lemon, grilled pineapple.
  • Finish: Long. Burnt rubber, milk chocolate. More lemon and grilled pineapple. Smoke and medicinal/iodine notes linger. Stewed apples.

I’m enjoying this significantly more than last year’s Cairdeas release, Cask Strength Quarter Cask. That’s not to say last year’s release wasn’t great, it just didn’t provide an experience that was much different from the standard Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Laphroaig Cairdeas releases have gained a following for their experimentation with different wine casks and the unique experience they provide compared to Laphroaig’s core line-up, and the release of Fino Cask Finish marks a return to form.

Elias’ Rating: 90/100

Jayson’s Notes:

  • Color: Amber.
  • Nose: Smoke, caramelized chocolate, burnt rubber, motor oil.
  • Palate: Medium mouthfeel. Smoked sweet BBQ. Olive oil. Faint pickle juice. Raspberries and citrus.
  • Finish: Long. Really robust. Peat gets a bit more medicinal. Burnt raspberry pie. Fruit. Grilled pineapple with black pepper. Slightly oily.

This is the third best Laphroaig Cairdeas after Portwood and Madeira. It’s well balanced, complex and definitely recommended.

Jayson’s Rating: 89/100

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