Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask sweet, smoky and irresistible

Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell makes a habit each year of crafting a new version of Cairdeas — which means “friendship” in Gaelic — to honor the Friends of Laphroaig community.

Campbell’s is a wonderful habit.

His latest offering, Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask, features different ages of Laphroaigmatured for more than five years in first-fill bourbon casks, a news release says. It’s then laid to rest for a second time in smaller quarter casks. After six months of maturation, the liquid from 177 of the casks are bottled at 114-proof cask strength.

One not need be a fan of Scotch to savor this sweet, smoky and creamy whisky treat.

A taste brings hints of vanilla honey mingling in a warm cup of lightly sweetened coffee. Then comes the unmistakable smoke and freshly burned wood, which, though pronounced, is somehow fruity and ultimately irresistible.

It goes for about $80 a bottle, which is reasonable for such a drinkable Scotch.

Islay’s Laphroaig is one of only a few distilleries that still uses traditional malting floors and dries and infuses its own malt with the thick blue smoke from old peat-fired kilns, the company says.

The Cairdeas isn’t as funky as it’s Lore offerings yet it should more than satisfy committed Scotch drinkers and, well, bourbon drinkers, too.

And, as always, opinions are welcome.