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Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

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Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby jotter » Tue May 06, 2008 10:52 pm

Dear xxxx,

May is the time of year for 2 important events. The Feis Ile of Malt and Music and of course our limited Laphroaig "Friends" special bottling, released at the distillery and in the friends online shop.

This year we have called it Cairdeas (Friendship in Gaelic). It is really unique and its creation is an interesting story in itself, which you can read below. As last year, it is, I am afraid, to be sold on a first come first served basis. For the lucky friends that do get a bottle please save some for our live webcast from the distillery on June 18th. We will be tasting it live and would love you to join in and share the experience. At the bottom of this E Mail is the link. Click on it to make your order.

Robert Hicks wrote the following piece on how he developed your 2008 Cairdeas.

Slainte,

John


The Creation of Cairdeas by Robert Hicks

To me a Master Blender needs 4 skills. 1. Obviously a good nose (far more important than taste, incidentally). 2. A memory like an elephant! - You need to be able to remember things you tasted 10 - 20 years ago. 3. A little imagination - it goes a long way and 4. Patience! Whisky is a slow process and cannot be rushed!

I like to think all 4 skills came into play when creating Cairdeas for you.

My first approach

When I sat down to consider this challenge, my thoughts went back 3 years to a little experiment I did when creating Quarter Cask. Having perfected the blend from the first maturation, rather than placing all the spirit in the tiny "Quarters" (which give a very "intense" maturation) I placed a small quantity of this whisky into first fill Bourbon casks and left it to see how it matured. My thoughts returned to these barrels and the whisky they contained. It was good, in fact very good, but to me it still lacked the exact flavour profile I was looking for.


A month later...

I had not cracked the problem, and I was in the process of tasting a quantity of 17 year old Laphroaig barrels (more of this some time in the future!). Two barrels were quite different to the rest, really special - and they had exactly the missing characteristics I was looking for. I asked John if I could have them and he grudgingly accepted (they were expensive barrels!).

The bottling

With trepidation I added this 17 year old. It was perfect. I asked for it to be bottled without chill filtering to ensure it retained the exact flavour profile. Please note it is also bottled at 55% ABV, so add a dash of water (or ice for those that know me!)

I love it; I really hope you do too. John has agreed to keep the price to £40 - even though I used his precious 17 year old!

For the lucky few of you who can get their hands on a bottle, we will be tasting it at our "Distillery Live!" broadcast on June the 18th, so please leave some to taste along with me live!

Slainte,

Robert Hicks.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Aidan » Wed May 07, 2008 5:53 am

Ordered a bottle of this yesterday. Looking forward to it.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby TheTross » Wed May 07, 2008 8:30 am

Ordered one of these also. Unfortunately I'll be working when the Distillery Live! tasting is done on June 18th, but I'm sure we could arrange a live tasting on this very forum at some point once bottles start to arrive :)
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Willie JJ » Wed May 07, 2008 9:00 am

I've placed an order for one this morning. It doesn't say one per person for this bottle anywhere that I can see. I wonder if it will go very quickly.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby fishboy » Wed May 07, 2008 9:10 am

I ordered mine this morning with no problems. Thought about ordering two bottles, but that little voice whispering in my ear made me just get one..... :angel:

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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby TheTross » Wed May 07, 2008 9:12 am

Willie JJ wrote:I've placed an order for one this morning. It doesn't say one per person for this bottle anywhere that I can see. I wonder if it will go very quickly.


It appears to be limited to three per person, as the order quantity drop-down box on the Laphroaig shop website is only numbered 1-3.

EDIT: Yes fishboy, I had that voice in my ear too whilst ordering! I only ordered just the one because of funds being a little tight this month (too many bottle purchases!); otherwise I'd have done what quite a few forum members have done and ordered two - one for now, t'other for much later.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby les taylor » Wed May 07, 2008 9:25 am

TheTross wrote:
Willie JJ wrote:I've placed an order for one this morning. It doesn't say one per person for this bottle anywhere that I can see. I wonder if it will go very quickly.


It appears to be limited to three per person, as the order quantity drop-down box on the Laphroaig shop website is only numbered 1-3.

EDIT: Yes fishboy, I had that voice in my ear too whilst ordering! I only ordered just the one because of funds being a little tight this month (too many bottle purchases!); otherwise I'd have done what quite a few forum members have done and ordered two - one for now, t'other for much later.


I too had that voice in my ear. Thats why I ordered 2. Some 17 year old Laphroiag at £40 a go. You've got to give it a go. :)
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 11:18 am

les taylor wrote:I too had that voice in my ear. Thats why I ordered 2. Some 17 year old Laphroiag at £40 a go. You've got to give it a go. :)

It's actually not 17yo, despite what all the marketing would have you think - it is a No Age Statement. The base whisky is young quarter cask whisky that has had some additional time in first fill. This has been blended with two casks of 17yo. Now, if the edition is 3200 bottles - and you'd expect (being generous) to get 500 bottles from a 17yo bourbon cask - that this is well over 80% young whisky.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 11:24 am

No edit button - apparently it's an edition of 3600 bottles so an even higher percentage of very young whisky... The promotional e-mail is very cryptic but as written, it could be read either as the bulk of this blend being only 3 years old (new make spirit put into first fill), or as 3 years + the age of quarter cask filling (quarter cask stock diverted into first fill bourbon).
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Aidan » Wed May 07, 2008 11:42 am

There was some kind of malt produced in Ireland a few years ago. It was a cask of Cooley whiskey, I think, with one bottle of old Preston malt poured into it (from a closed distillery). They called it a single malt, even though it was now a vatted malt because they poured a bottle from an old distillery in. What difference the Preston (if that's what it was) made to the overall taste, I just can't concieve.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 11:55 am

I remember the 1996 Private Eye Macallan - it was advertised as containing malt actually distilled in 1961, the year of Private Eye's foundation. If you read the small print, it was clear that the vast bulk of the whisky in the bottle would be much, much younger. But the whisky sold well - thanks to a stunning label - and is now worth much, much more than the sale price. Sometimes I regret not buying a bottle but if I had, I'm sure I would have opened it and it would be long gone by now.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Aidan » Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 pm

Did they say "allegedly, it contains malt from 1961" to cover themselves against any possible legal proceedings?
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 12:23 pm

Very droll. Actually they overplayed the 1961 thing so much that many people today believe it to be a 35yo whisky. I have just corrected the Wikipedia article.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby les taylor » Wed May 07, 2008 12:44 pm

Nick I did appreciate that it is not a 17 year old. That is why I said it had some 17 year old in it. If I'd said it was a blend or vatted or some other such like expression, I don't doubt that I would have been pulled up on that. I just didn't think that the expression "some" was controversial.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 1:01 pm

Sorry if I misunderstood. I suspect, though, that the confusion is entirely intentional on the part of Laphroaig - and I don't doubt that many will place an order in the belief that they are buying 17yo whisky.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Mccandless1 » Wed May 07, 2008 7:43 pm

Weeell ive placed an order anyhow. Would be nice to get an unusual laph'. Even if its got alot of young spirit it'll still have the smoke etc etc. Id sure like to hear what u folks who have tried it think of it, pu some tastin notes up on here maybe?
When I get mine ill sure do the same. Hope your all keeping well :D
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 07, 2008 10:57 pm

Now apparently 12000 bottles worldwide, making 96% very young whisky and 4% 17 year old...

There really ought to be a law against describing Cairdeas as Laphroaig have done. It is misleading in the extreme.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby sampaiocaleia » Wed May 07, 2008 11:32 pm

I love the whisky mag forum!!!.
After my dinner I open my computer (again) and saw the FOL email, about the Laphroaig Cairdeas.
After that I order my Cairdeas!, open a Laddich 3D3, and went to my blog to put this amazing notice there. Finally made my login in this forum to see if somebody has open a new post about it!.
Unbelievable, there're two post and more than 250 views!!!.
What an amazing community!!!!
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Newbie » Thu May 08, 2008 1:49 am

Seems to be a tread recently of releasing society bottlings with NAS (mainly consisting of young whisky) and with relatively high price tags (£40 for the Laphroaig and £45 for the Corryvreckan).

I hope this not a beginning of a tread to sell enthusiasts young whisky at a premium price!
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu May 08, 2008 8:01 am

Newbie wrote:Seems to be a tread recently of releasing society bottlings with NAS (mainly consisting of young whisky) and with relatively high price tags (£40 for the Laphroaig and £45 for the Corryvreckan).

I hope this not a beginning of a tread to sell enthusiasts young whisky at a premium price!

I'd say the trend is well and truly established - look at Ardbeg Very Young and Oogling as forerunners. But that's fine - what I object to is misleading labelling. In the case of the Cairdeas, Laphroaig have focused their e-mail on the two 17yo casks which amount to about 4% of the contents of a bottle (if my maths and assumptions are correct). Age statements in whisky are based on the youngest, not the oldest cask in the bottle. The Cairdeas marketing is a good demonstration of why this is so important. Ardbeg were sort of guilty of the same thing with Serendipity which they marketed as very old Ardbeg by the back door. For me, this raises the issue that whilst the new whisky legislation will regulate what goes on the labels, I wonder whether it will extend to the contents of marketing e-mails and other such material.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Willie JJ » Thu May 08, 2008 8:26 am

It's always been this way Nick. Caveat emptor.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu May 08, 2008 9:01 am

No, Willie. There are actually laws about misrepresenting goods and misleading descriptions.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby fishboy » Thu May 08, 2008 9:05 am

Newbie wrote:Seems to be a tread recently of releasing society bottlings with NAS (mainly consisting of young whisky) and with relatively high price tags (£40 for the Laphroaig and £45 for the Corryvreckan).

I hope this not a beginning of a tread to sell enthusiasts young whisky at a premium price!


This years Springbank Society bottling (released on the 8th April) was a genuine 17 Year Old matured in Port wood bottled at 51.5% and cost £55. Slightly more expensive than the two Islays, but a very limited bottling (570 bottles). Very very tasty!!

The Springbank society is slightly different from the Friends of Laphroaig and the Ardbeg Committee in that they make a charge for membership. However we do get some fantastic bottlings......

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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Willie JJ » Thu May 08, 2008 9:07 am

Nick Brown wrote:No, Willie. There are actually laws about misrepresenting goods and misleading descriptions.


Yes Nick and you have very accurately explained just how ineffective they are in practice. It will always be possible for the marketer to stay within the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit. It is simply impossible to codify a rule for every situation, so I still say buyer beware.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Newbie » Thu May 08, 2008 11:09 am

I have to agree with Nick on this one (shock :shock: )!

I shouldn't have to do alot of research to discover what is exactly is in a bottle of whisky, it should say so on the label.

The Laphroaig is a little misleading as the literature mentions the two barrels of 17 year old and not the age or the quantity of the 'quarter cask whisky'.

Since both the Ardbeg and the Laphroaig society bottlings are meant for enthusiasts they should tell us the exact details of whats in the bottle (age, casks etc.). I would appreciate this type of information far more than some marketing gimmick!
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Newbie » Thu May 08, 2008 11:15 am

Whoops forgot to add!

The springbank bottling sounds really good! I would have loved a port finished springbank!

For some reason this appeals to me more than either of the offerings made by Ardbeg and Laphroaig! I do love both Islays but the Springbank is something different which I don't have yet in my collection / drinking stash!
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby fishboy » Thu May 08, 2008 11:35 am

Newbie wrote:Whoops forgot to add!

The springbank bottling sounds really good! I would have loved a port finished springbank!


Just to clarify, the Springbank is not a port finish. Its entirely matured in port wood and is (IMHO) fantastic!!

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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Leither » Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 am

I agree with Nick and Newbie, I think Laphroaig are being (intentionally) misleading with their marketing - as such I'm not biting!

When I first read the e-mail I received from Laphroaig I thought 'Yip, I think I'll have one of those'. But when I read it more carefully and checked this thread (as aforementioned what a great place this is for insight and informed opinion) they can keep their 12,000 bottles.

However to give them some credit the Cairdeas order page does say 'It has been created by blending specially 'overaged' Quarter Cask spirit with two remarkable barrels of 17 year old.'

I'll stick to the 10yo CS at around half the price if you shop around ie Tesco. :thumbsup:
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Newbie » Thu May 08, 2008 11:53 am

Fully port matured?!?

I would have definitely gone for that! Are there any left by any chance?
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Willie JJ » Thu May 08, 2008 11:55 am

I'm not saying that Laphroaig are not being misleading. On the contrary, they definitely are. What I am saying is that they are all at it all the time and we should be taking any marketing spiel with a pinch of salt.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Leither » Thu May 08, 2008 12:16 pm

Willie JJ wrote:What I am saying is that they are all at it all the time and we should be taking any marketing spiel with a pinch of salt.


Well said that man!

I do think that many recent releases have been taking it too far and some distillers are starting to 'over-promise and under-deliver' with their marketing hype.

Ultimately some are starting to negatively impact the brand affinity in their traditional markets, but again perhaps that is intentional as they try to capture new markets.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Newbie » Thu May 08, 2008 2:07 pm

The way they're marketing the society bottlings is all wrong. While I'd expect this type of marketing for bottles on general release, its totally unnecessary for releases directed towards the enthusiast market.

I like fancy packaging and all the bits that came with the Ardbeg but I would rather have a booklet that told me what casks were used, why and so on.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby TheTross » Thu May 08, 2008 4:50 pm

FoL email wrote:It has been created by blending specially 'overaged' Quarter Cask spirit with two remarkable barrels of 17 year old.


It's the 'overaged Quarter Cask spirit' part that gets me. I agree that the email is pretty cryptic at times, and purposefully so I should imagine, but to me the 'overaged' part simply says that the bulk of the Cairdeas bottling contains spirit older than that used for the Quarter Cask bottling; however old that is is anyone's guess I suppose, but I doubt that there's a lot of really young whisky in this, if any, so £40 isn't really a bad price considering the Quarter Cask bottling is something like £27 and that the Cairdeas is a one-off. I just hope 'overaged' doesn't translate to 'past its best'!

Anyway, my order has already been processed for a bottle, so hopefully it'll arrive fairly shortly :)
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu May 08, 2008 6:08 pm

TheTross wrote:
FoL email wrote:It has been created by blending specially 'overaged' Quarter Cask spirit with two remarkable barrels of 17 year old.

I doubt that there's a lot of really young whisky in this, if any, so £40 isn't really a bad price...

Then you have fallen for it. Read the e-mail and it seems that the bulk of the whisky (96%+ if you do the maths) is quarter cask + 3 years - and that's at the most optimistic reading. Quarter cask is alleged to be 4ish years old, so you are getting 96% 7 year old whisky.

I don't know whether the whisky will taste young or not, and whether £40 is a fiar price depends on what people are willing to pay. But the original e-mail has so many references to old age:

Laphroaig E-Mail wrote:The Creation of Cairdeas by Robert Hicks

To me a Master Blender needs 4 skills. 1. Obviously a good nose (far
more important than taste, incidentally). 2. A memory like an elephant! -
You need to be able to remember things you tasted 10 - 20 years ago.
3. A little imagination â€" it goes a long way and 4. Patience! Whisky
is a slow process and cannot be rushed
!

I like to think all 4 skills came into play when creating Cairdeas for
you.

My first approach

When I sat down to consider this challenge, my thoughts went back 3
years to a little experiment I did when creating Quarter Cask. Having
perfected the blend from the first maturation, rather than placing all the
spirit in the tiny “Quarters” (which give a very “intense”
maturation) I placed a small quantity of this whisky into first fill
Bourbon casks and left it to see how it matured. My thoughts returned to
these barrels and the whisky they contained. It was good, in fact very
good, but to me it still lacked the exact flavour profile I was looking
for.


A month later...

I had not cracked the problem, and I was in the process of tasting a
quantity of 17 year old Laphroaig barrels (more of this some time in the
future!). Two barrels were quite different to the rest, really special
â€" and they had exactly the missing characteristics I was looking for.
I asked John if I could have them and he grudgingly accepted (they
were expensive barrels!).

The bottling

With trepidation I added this 17 year old. It was perfect. I asked for
it to be bottled without chill filtering to ensure it retained the
exact flavour profile. Please note it is also bottled at 55% ABV, so add a
dash of water (or ice for those that know me!)

I love it; I really hope you do too. John has agreed to keep the price
to £40 - even though I used his precious 17 year old!

For the lucky few of you who can get their hands on a bottle, we will
be tasting it at our “Distillery Live!” broadcast on June the 18th,
so please leave some to taste along with me live!

All of the highlighted phrases are either overt descriptions of old age or subliminal references to it. This is what I object to - not the whisky per se or the price.
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Re: Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling

Postby TheTross » Thu May 08, 2008 6:17 pm

Ah, I didn't realise that Quarter Cask was that young, thought it would be a few years older than that :o. Must do more research in future I think :headbang:

Oh well, not to worry. You takes your chances, and all that...
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