Woke up feeling the worse for wear, but a good scottish breakfast soon sorted that out. Laphroaig were running three special events. A masterclass tasting, a trip to Taxa island and a sensory tasting. We were too late to book the first two, but got on the sensory tour for 4pm. Dominic was here as a guest of Laphroaig and hence they took him on all the events. Whilst jealous, I didnt really fancy a cask strength tasting at 9 am! He had a break in his busy drinking schedule at 11 am, so we went down to meet him with the idea of popping over to ardbeg for a coffee (oh alright, I admit it, for a dram). It was glorious sunshine again today, so dom suggested we walk to Ardbeg. The ladies also on his PR trip came with us and were good company. So this conveniently became our walk for the day. The dog is feeling the pace, he is knackered, so it suited us all!
Its a shame there isnt a coast path, but even though you have to walk along the road its still lovely with great views over the hills. You loop down into the Lagavulin valley, up another hill then down again into Ardbeg. Its a 2 mile walk though, and with dom chatting away and us being knackered it took so long that they all had to turn back 100 yards from Ardbeg in order to get back in time for their next Laphroaig event. So near but yet so far! We bought him an Ardbeg minature to show him what he missed. We had lunch at Ardbeg (food at their cafe is fantastic, probably the best on the island) then returned to laphroaig. There was a folk band playing and they had some limited catering, but I would recommend going to Ardbeg to eat. Bizarrely they didnt have a tent selling whisky! There did not seem to be that many people hanging about, but the day revolved around the events rather than entertainment outside. We did the sensory tour, which ran through sights, sounds, touch, smell and taste. The smell part of the tour was interesting, there were glasses with cotton wool soaked in vanilla, TCP, smoke and rose water in them. We tasted 10, quarter cask and 18. We tasted the 10 then had some stilton to knock out the salt taste which brings forward the sweeter notes. The second whisky was quarter cask and we had some smoked salmon, with that which made the whisky taste ‘lighter’ by knocking out the wood. We had chocolate with the 18, just because! Dom said the cask strength tasting was one of the best he has ever done. I hope he writes it up in his blog.
Festival bottling is once again called Cairdeas, a cask strength expression of 11-19 year old whiskies. There are 5000 bottles, 4000 of which are to be sold online, so there is plenty to go round. It costs £45.
It has a light, fresh almost floral flavour which is not that medicinal by laphroaig standards. Its highly drinkable and a lovely dram. We are a bit whisky overloaded so cant really come up with better tasting notes, sorry! Will add more tomorrow. The bottle says “A truly distinctive Laphroaig with a complex, fruity nose which gives way to a surprising burst of peat flavour in the mouth, tempered by softer, sweeter notes”.