Laphroaig Cairdeas Madeira Cask

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016 Madeira Cask (51.6%, OB, Friends of Laphroaig, 2016)

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin:  Laphroaig distillery
  • Bottling: Official, Friends of Laphroaig
  • ABV: 51.6%
  • Cost: £65


What they say

Cairdeas 2016 Madeira edition.
Most of you will remember one of our most popular Cairdeas ever, the 2013 Port Wood. So, this year we decided to match this with Portugal’s other famous fortified wine from the island of Madeira. Our 2016 bottling features Laphroaig classically matured in American oak for its first maturation, married together for a second maturation in the larger Madeira-seasoned, traditional hogsheads.

Official tasting notes:

  • On the nose you’ll find an aroma of ripe orange fruits and sweet liquorice that mixes delightfully with our traditional peat smoke. On the palate our classic peaty, earthy flavours emerge with a hint of saltiness. Creamy orange tones follow and with a bold and lingering spicy dryness and nutty finish. The result is a fabulous expression to be savoured by Friends of Laphroaig, old and new. This 2016 Cairdeas has been bottled at 51.6% ABV and is non chill filtered.

What I say

A yearly ritual, which I seem to have slipped out of, was receiving my birthday money off voucher from Laphroaig immediately before they released their Cairdeas (friendship) expression in the run up to Feis Ile. Perhaps the main reason I stopped buying these was because I had accumulated the last 3 or 4 unopened as I stumbled by a chance to taste them elsewhere before I got around to popping the cork off my own bottle. I always have open bottles of Laphroaig in stock, severely reducing the chances of me opening even more. Anyhow at a tasting way back so long ago I can’t remember the exact details of I had the chance to sip both the 2015 and 2016 Cairdeas side-by-side. Forgetting also that I have previously reviewed the 2015 edition I made a completely new set of taste notes which I may well post just for comparison. Anyhow here is what I thought of the 2016 Madeira cask finished edition.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Orange bronze (6/20), slow, fine tears leave long fine legs.
  • Nose: Sweet and fruity initially with fresh apricot, a little floral, dried fruits like apricot and peach, light peat influence with smoke and ash, quite medicinal/phenolic, orange oil, estery with over-ripe/black bananas
  • Taste: Full-bodied on the palate, syrupy and sweet then peaty then sweet again, oranges, peach, apricot, earthen peat, mineralic and briny, shellfish, paprike or cayenne pepper heat, slightly tannic like over-stewed fruit tea.
  • Finish: Long, sharply spiced, peat smoke, fresh orange and lemon juices and more cardamom spice.


A long sweet twist on your standard Laphroaig, the Madeira cask finish certainly isn’t dominant but the sweetness pervades both the smoke and spice. Undulates across the palate as flavours fight for dominance but overall quite harmonious and very enjoyable.

Score 87/100

Shop for Laphroaig Madeira Cask (2016) subject to availability (opens Master of Malt)

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