Laphroaig Cairdeas 12, Feis Ile 2009, 57.5%

An older sample I got somewhere, probably from Tom van Engelen, since he’s recently turned in to a supplier of good Islay whisky from years gone by.

This one is from the Cairdeas (‘friendship, in Gaelic’) range, which is Laphroaig’s Feis Ile / Distillery Only range, which is surprisingly easy to get for something that is supposed to be quite limited. Luckily, this is represented in the price as well, when it’s released.

Of course, this being bottled 12 years ago, it has now ramped up to a jumping off point of € 369, which is quite a bit less ‘easy to get’.

Image from Whiskybase

There’s virtually no information on this one, no cask information or anything. I guess that means it’s a bourbon cask, and the color and palate support that.

Very typical Islay smokiness, backed up by a light, but intense whisky. Very fishy, briny, coastal with lots of salinity, brine, fishing nets and kippers.

Here the lighter side shows, before the coastal notes take over. Some dried flowers and straw, but then it’s back to fierce alcohol and smoke. A dry saltiness, fish, iodine and lots of peat smoke.

On the finish, the iodine and band aids show. Quite medicinal, with those typical coastal hints again. True Laphroaig, in overdrive.

This is a true Islay whisky, which made me fall in love with the region all these years ago. It’s almost a Lowlands whisky in style, the straw and grass notes, but with an Islay make over. Harbours, fishing boats, windy beaches at the Atlantic coast.

This is a very solid Laphroaig. Unfortunately it’s ridiculously expensive now.


Available here.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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