In what seems to be a great trend for Scotch (and spirits) lovers, more and
more marketing firms & liquor importers have been showcasing their products
at smaller intimate events. Lifford Wines hosted such an event and invited
While the night was mostly about the other spirits they
will be bringing into the country (get the Hayman's Sloe Gin if you can,
it's phenomenal), we will be focussing on the Scotch component of the night.
The night entailed a "structured tasting" of Lifford's premium Scotches
covering two brand lines: Bowmore and Auchentoshan with samples of
increasing age of each single malt.
First up were the Auchentoshan 12 and Three Wood, both of which have been
reviewed by ScotchBlog in the past. Some new notes did appear in the larger
room setting. Cream on the nose and a sweet vanilla and bubblegum finish
came through on the 12. The Three Wood presented an almost toothpaste like
mint on the palate and again was slightly sour the longer it lingered. Both
of the Auchentoshan offerings left something to be desired. It doesn't seem
to be any coincidence that it was used in the mixed drinks that were to
follow after the tasting.
The Bowmore set of tastings improved on the Auchentoshan and, while the
latter may appeal more to a long-time Scotch drinker, the Bowmore asserts
itself as a Scotch for all. We have already review two of the offerings
(Tempest 10 & 18) and, while a review has not been provided, the 12 makes a
regular appearance on our tables so we already had an idea what to expect.
We were surprised though that after having the Auchentoshan and immediately
moving to the 12 there was an extremely strong peatiness and oil present
(something we were not expecting and chalk up to the quick switch between
the two). Even more surprising, based on our comparison of the 17 & 18, was
that the 18 was the best of the three. We'd still recommend the 17 on value
alone but the 12 would not disappoint if you were to try it.
The second part of the night presented a significant selection of Lifford's
spirits that either are in or on their way to the LCBO or are in processing
for approval. It's truly unfortunate for us that the Bowmore 16 is not
scheduled to be offered at the LCBO. In a switch-up it is matured in
Bordeaux wine casks taking the base and completely changing it from other
Bowmore offerings. It was smokier without the peat overwhelming the whisky
and provided hints of deep red wines that you would not expect to taste in a
Scotch. Here's hoping the LCBO decides to carry it because it would be a
great addition to the collection.
The tasting was originally to be lead by Bowmore's brand specialist David
Clelland. Hurricane Irene kept him in New York so Melissa Stunden from Lifford
stepped in to pinch hit. She did a valiant job of walking through the brands
but did not have the in-depth knowledge that David would have brought
leaving us wanting for more in the structured tasting. The night itself was
well attended and well planned. Sassafraz was an inspired choice of location
that offered well complemented hors d'oeuvres and a beautiful space.