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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2022 & Elements L1.0

As Bobby D would say, the times...they are a changin' over at Laphroaig. Islay's southern coast stalwart has been one of the busiest distilleries, post-pandemic...from sending their new Distillery Manager, Barry MacAffer all over the world, to increasing the in-house maltings, fermentation times (up to 72 hours now), adding a couple of new washbacks, and even adding some new warehouses on-site (with more coming soon). As with everything else on Islay though, the distilleries bigger plans to increase (and possibly double) capacity will take some more time, however they're hoping to break ground on a new mash & still house in 2024.

Laphroaig Cairdeas |2022| Warehouse 1 - 52.2%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


Cairdeas |2022|

Warehouse 1 - 52.2%

The newly (and future) constructed warehousing ensures we'll be seeing an increase of "Islay aged" stock coming from Laphroaig down the line...about 50% of it in fact. Some of which, will be coming from the same Warehouse 1 which supplied the full makeup of (Makers) barrels for last year's Cairdeas edition.

The 2022 Cairdeas release was the latest example of an Islay distillery using the allure of it's most coastally-matured casks to influence our taste buds. Similar to Bowmore's No. 1 Vault, Laphroaig's Warehouse 1 is physically located a stone's throw away from their respective bays which justifiably evokes some classic imagery of an old dunnage warehouse sitting by the sea...taking on all the aroma and character of a dried up seashell, basically.

Appearance: Yellow Gold

First Whiff: Fresh squeezed lemon juice over a bed of oysters.

Nose: A bouquet of peat opens up with some fresh, sandy seaweed and chunky medicinal notes...latex bandages, tcp, and surgical gloves. The Makers barrels are there, featuring some bright, doughy, citrus and vanilla a lemon biscotti.

Palate: Classic Froyg, oily-ness to start, with a bit of tart, cooked grapefruit and guava to follow. With water: Creamy with a mixture of unsalted butter and stinky fruits...ginkgo, jackfruit.

Finish: Long, salty and sour. Slightly mineral with a lingering, chalky seashell salinity.

Summary: Laphroaig at its core, really. A classic Islay malt which targets the mossiest of peat-heads. The Makers barrels' influence is negligible, since we never know the (presumably varying) percentage of their usage in the rest of their core expressions. I have to admit the salty, salinity (perhaps from its warehouse location, or perhaps not...) was definitely there. There was a bit of brine as well. This almost feels like a deconstructed element from a typical batch of their 10 year cask strength bottlings. A fun exercise but I'm not sure if I'd take it over said 10 year CS expressions.


Laphroaig L 1.0 |Elements| Ex-Bourbon - 58.6%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


L 1.0 |Elements| - 58.6%

Laphroaig has finally channeled their inner-whisky-nerd with the new "Elements" series. The first release was rolled out in October and offered us a look into some of the new production projects they've been experimenting with, presumably over the last decade or so, for this initial bottling at least.

For "L 1.0" specifically, it was noted they used a combination of cloudy and semi-cloudy wort, an 8.5-tonne and an 11-tonne mash. All of which, included 100% Islay malted barley from their own in-house maltings. A new point of emphasis it seems, as they've reportedly increased the amount of their own maltings incorporated into production from 14% to now 20%, which coincides with the increased maltings and additional washbacks.

Appearance: Chestnut oloroso/Palo Cortado.

First Whiff: Brown sugar baked ham.

Nose: Bonfire ashes, almost Caol Ila-like, initially. Iodine soaked gauze pads, musty hay bales stacked in a barn. There's a sweet, campfire/creosote, toasted marshmallow note underneath too. With water: A sandwich of grilled pineapples and prosciutto on toasted rye bread.

Palate: Oily, dirty and metallic. Quite punchy at first with a warm fist of copper. Very dry citrus...lemons, grapefruit which gradually approach tropical awareness with some pomegranate and ripe, Ataulfo mangos. With water: Port Charlotte-esque with a mix of coal embers and a bit of that farmy funk I'm used to getting from a Laddie.

Finish: Long and medicinal. Sours out with some minty-herbal tingling.

Summary: Needs water/air time but it's fairly straightforward after that. Whiskybase is claiming solely "ex-Bourbon" casks were used here but I'd wager to guess that there's a good portion of sherry in it as well. That's the problem though, when you try to appease the whisky nerds with bottlings that talk about things like fermentation times, worts of different opacity, and different sized mashes...we just have more annoying questions.



Laphroaig Cairdeas 2022 & Elements L1.0


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