If Cairdeas is my faith, I must taste every expression in the series. I arrived at a bar in a hotel in Bowmore that offers every possible expression under the sun from Islay. They had a list of all the Cairdeas releases. I started going through what I hadn’t tasted yet, starting from the beginning: 2008, 2010. A little bird named Yuri whispered to me: Origin and the 200th Anniversary. So, I ordered all four of them.

As part of my evaluation, it was important to me to:

  1. See the development of the expression over the years.
  2. Understand the difference in the ratio of peat to smoke over the years.

2008, Cairdeas 55%
For me, this is the heart of Laphroaig that isn’t cask strength. It’s chewy, dirty, heavy, and peaty.

2010, Cairdeas Masters Edition Hogshead combined with Ex-Bourbon 57.3%
A bit more refined, but you can feel the alcohol and the sour peat.

2012, Origin Quarter Cask Matured, 51.2%
I understand why Yuri recommended it. Right from the nose, there’s wonderful elegance, still! It’s gentle to the nose. Not just in alcohol but in texture.

2015, 200th Anniversary
The peat is also in the lower layers of the flavor. There’s another present spicy flavor on top. Not very sweet. Super gentle. Reminds me a bit of the 2018 Fino, elegant like that.

In the middle of doing my homework, one of the bar patrons approached me and said, ‘What a beautiful and impressive lineup you have there! Great choices!’ So Yuri!!! Great choices 🙂 and I understood immediately!!! This is a sign from above to move to Islay!

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