Laphroaig Cairdeas - Feis Ile bottling
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.
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!).
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!