After publishing my review on Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish I was asked how does is stand up to Laphroaig PX Cask and the answer was cut and clear that the Sherry Oak Finish is better.
But then someone asked: “And how does it compare to the Cairdeas 2021 Pedro Ximenez?”. Now, those whiskies aren’t exactly competing one with the other – the better question (and competition) would ask how does it compare to the Laphroaig PX Cask. But nevertheless, it’s an interesting comparison between two recent official Laphroaig releases both finished in sherry casks.
The Cairdeas PX started its life in ex-Bourbon barrels, followed by quarter casks before a finish in European oak PX hogsheads. So it’s sherry finished but it’s a different kind of sherry (PX Vs. Oloroso).
As I couldn’t answer the question immediately, although I did tast the Cairdeas at the distillery last month I didn’t analyze it or tried to compare it to the Sherry Oak finish, meaning I had to sit down and taste it again properly with this comparison in mind.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2021 Pedro Ximenez Casks (58.9%)
Nose: Sweet peat smoke, sticky toffee, sultanas and dates, cinnamon and milk chocolate. The dry smoke is there but held in check, smoked meat, iodine and seaweed. After a few minutes in the glass there is more dry smoke and also of the burning wood smoke, pine needles, getting jammy with sweet blackberries and blueberries, TCP and disinfectant, dark chocolate, more toffee and raisins.
Palate: Peat smoke blast, burnt wood, pine needles, more dry smoke. Here comes the PX impact with raisins and dates, smoked and charred meat, toffee, dried blackberries and raisins and ends with menthol and pine needles freshness.
Finish: Long finish, drying, smoke and ash, pine needles and mint, toffee, raisins, berries, TCP and iodine.
Thoughts: As expected, the Cairdeas PX has a different style than the 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish. Here we have a syrupy body and it sports far more burnt notes but also feels less sweet, leading to a harsher and muscular whisky profile.
It’s a classic ‘to each his own’ situation and personal style preferences. Myself, I’d go for the 10 Year Sherry Cask Finish over the Cairdeas PX because it’s subtler and reminds me more of the older Laphroaig style, although this Cairdeas PX has it’s own charm with this more muscular profile.