Warehouse Liquors: Lochlea Tasting

Liz and I were at Warehouse Liquors – attending a tasting of Lochlea, hosted by their Production Director and Master Blender John Campbell.

A very interesting bit of trivia: I happened to try out a bottle of Lochlea randomly, after seeing it on the shelf at Binny’s. I had no idea who John Campbell was, and later learned that he had been at Laphroaig for 27 years (16 years as their Distillery Manager).

What’s really funny is that I enjoyed Lochlea, and was interested in doing a kind of home tasting by getting a few of their different bottles. As it turns out, this tasting afforded Liz and I the chance to do this, without needing to purchase everything ourselves (which was nice).

John Campbell, talking about his newer endeavor with Lochlea. The distillery grows all their barley on site, and it’s still very young (it’s only about 5 years old).

At one point, he mad a slip and said something like “us at Laphroig.” A lot of the audience laughed when he caught himself, and someone yelled out “Some habits die hard!”

John responded with: “It was a Laphroigian slip,” and that elicited more laughter. He followed that up with “The jokes don’t get any better, you just get drunker.”

The takeway I had previously, as well as from tonight is that Lochlea is to me a very soft whisky. There’s a lot of flavor, but it doesn’t rush at you – it’s light and there. “Soft” is the word that keeps coming to mind.

They have several offerings, and it was interesting to hear more about what went into each. The various bottles tied in to the seasons:

Sowing – Spring / Bourbon (the barrels were from Makers Mark)
Harvest – Summer / Port
Fallow – Fall / Sherry
Ploughing – Winter / Peated

It was very interesting to hear John talk about his time at Laphroaig, and what the process was like for him to move to a relatively new/unknown brand. And the process of starting over, in many ways.

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