Celebrate friendship with Laphroaig’s latest peaty, cask-strength offering

On a recent night I opened a sample of Cairdeas Triple Wood from Laphroaig, which produces some of the finest Islay peat monsters available.

I nosed it and was immediately intrigued. Spicy, tobacco and a hint of citrus. Orange maybe?

I passed it over to my wife, who took a whiff.

Well? I asked.

“It smells like my grandfather’s house. He had a wood stove.”

I sure wish I could have lived there, I told her.

Her impression, though a bit hyperbolic, isn’t that far askew.

The new Cairdeas, which clocks in at almost 120 proof, definitely carries Laphroaig’s characteristic smoke. But, because it’s cask strength, this Cairdeas is spicier on the tongue than, say, the distillery’s 10-year. But it’s quite good, with notes of heavy caramel, hazelnut, honey … and, yes, there’s the orange.

This whisky is first matured in ex-bourbon barrels, and then, the distillery says, saturated with flavor in smaller quarter casks, and finished in European oak casks that previously housed Oloroso sherry.

“Each year,” the distillery says in a news release, “Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell crafts a limited edition malt to celebrate friendship (“Cairdeas” in Gaelic). Those who were lucky enough to attend this year’s Fèis Ìle celebrations had the chance to share a dram of this unique whisky, which is one of the most anticipated Laphroaig offerings each year.”

The Cairdeas Triple Wood will run about $80 a bottle. Slainte.