Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira Cask, NAS, 51,6 %

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira CaskThis is the 2016 Friends of Laphroaig release. As always the last digit in the ABV reveals the release year (6 -> 2016). The Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira Cask has been matured for about 8 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being married together in Madeira seasoned traditional hogsheads for a further two years.

So, the finish is not made in ‘real’ Madeira casks then, but rather casks that have been seasoned with Madeira. Nothing wrong with this, and I applaud Laphroaig for stating the facts in this matter. From what I understand, getting your hands on ‘real’ Madeira casks is very difficult, and certainly in the quantity that would be needed for a release from Laphroaig.

The Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira Cask was released at the Feis Ile 2016 festival on Islay, and the remaining bottles were sold by ballot to the Friends of Laphroaig on the distillery website. You had to register your interest and hope your name came up on June 10.

The Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira Cask sold at around GBP 69 when it was released.

Nose: Rich, sweet, peaty and delightful. Well, that was the short and the sweet of it (literally). Let’s dig into the details, shall we. It is definitely a Laphroaig, I would say. It has the familiar bourbon cask base – the creamy vanilla notes, as well as the softly medicinal smokiness. The maritime notes are quite hidden on this one though. In addition to this we get a lovely, deep sweetness, that surely must be from the Madeira cask finish. I find sweet oranges, orange juice, licorice, red berries and lemon zest.

Taste: Rich, creamy and oily mouthfeel. Peppery with lots of ashes and wood smoke. Salty, medicinal and sweet. The lovely sweetness from the nose is here as well, but in addition we have the warm, almost glowing base of pepper and hot ashes.

Finish: Medium long finish. Peppery spices and rich sweetness (now more reminiscent of honey and fudge) work together in near perfect harmony.

Comments: This, for me, is one of the best Cairdeas releases. I really loved this dram! The Madeira finish is a very good match for the Laphroaig style of whisky. Very happy to have a bottle (not from the ballot though, had to get mine through an online auction).

Score (89/100)

– Thomas



  1. Well you know me and my son’s views on this! Defo a 90/100 for me. Best Cairdeas together with 2014 (yellow bottle label?).


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