Laphroaig Cairdeas and Sensory Seminar
So it’s definitely been awhile since I posted something and I figure I might as well write about something I’ve been drinking a bit of.
The USBG teamed up with Laphroaig, including Master Distiller Jason Campbell and Global Ambassador Simon Brooking.
The theme of the seminar was to hit all of the senses while comparing and pairing things with Laphroaig.
Everyone first started off with Touch. We started putting our hands in covered boxes and felt what goes into the production of each bottle. Inside of the boxes there was peat, barley, wood staves from the barrels and charcoal.
Then we all moved along to Smell. There were 5 champagne flutes filled with large cotton balls. In each glass, certain scents were added to the cotton balls and then covered. Our “assignment” was to try to figure out what each smell was, since these are some of the characteristics many people experience from drinking Laphroaig. From what I remember there was; Liquid smoke, banana, caramel, coconut and iodine. There was a “6th scent” (vanilla) that Jason and Simon were going to add, but figured our noses would be pretty over-powered.
Last, was the real fun part: Taste. There were 3 different expressions poured for all the guests.
The first was the original Laphroaig 10-year-old. It’s a chill filtered Scotch with peat and iodine on the nose. It was paired with a blue cheese which is usually native to the island. The tangy, grassy flavors from the cheese paired extremely well with rich mouthfeel, smokey and light oily texture from this classic Islay Scotch. As Jason said, foods and spirits of the same regions more often than no pair very well with each other. Try it out sometime!
The second pairing was with the Laphroaig Quarter Cask which is a 7-year-old Scotch. It’s double matured in American Oak barrels (200L) and then aged in a Quarter Cask (125L) for 6 to 7 months. The softer, coconut cream and oak flavors paired very well with smoked salmon we were given. This Scotch is non-chill filtered so it can look cloudy due to the oils in it. I also learned that these barley oils help to hold in flavors such as the grass and banana you can pick up.
The last pairing was with the Laphroaig 18 year and dark chocolate. The Scotch is a bright straw color and has been non-chill filtered. Aromas and flavors of baking spices, cooked pear, melted toffee and nutty almond. This Scotch would go extremely well as an after dinner or dessert cocktail.
Now Jason and Simon came up with a surprise for the people who could attend this sensory seminar. A fourth expression was revealed to us: Cairdeas (pronounced CAR-chess).
Cairdeas means “Friendship” in Gaelic and it was specifically made for Friends of Laphroaig and during the Feis Ile (Islay Festival). This specific Ileach Edition means that it is the Native Edition from Islay.
The Scotch is an 8-year-old expression, aged in Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels. The barrels are stored on an earth floor warehouse by the sea in warehouse #1.
Cairdeas is honey and light golden in color.
The nose has peat, fresh sea air, rosewater, cloves and flowers.
On the tongue there’s peat, charcoal, toffee, rich fruit, caramel, salt, candied orange with a sweet finish.
Now the Cairdeas only came out of 48 barrels and out of those, only 350 cases are being sold in the United States. I’m fortunate enough to live in San Francisco and I got myself a bottle. Even more so fortunate, I have one of them signed by Jason Campbell himself. I’m really excited to add another Laphroaig bottle to my collection and cannot wait for the Triple Wood to come out later this year!