If Scotch is Dad's drink, head to Andover tasting

Father’s Day is Sunday so why not surprise Dad with a special gift of his favorite Scotch, Irish whiskey, Bourbon or wine?
On Saturday, at Andover Classic Wines in the Shawsheen Plaza off Route 28 in Andover, Manager Andrea DiFiore and her capable assistants, Maggie Griset and Chris Whitaker, will be pouring a top-notch selection of high-end, single-malt Scotches and  Bourbons from 3-5 p.m.

Dalmore Cigar Malt is one of five Dalmore scotches to be tasted on Saturday.
Dalmore Cigar Malt is one of five Dalmore scotches to be tasted on Saturday.

They’ll have six tables set up with familiar brands and hard-to-find imports. If you’ve never been to a Scotch tasting, this event represents a good, low-key opportunity to learn the differences between Irish and Scottish blends and how cask aging affects quality and taste. Don’t be shy to ask questions — DiFiore and her staff are certified educators in distilled spirits and wines, and Griset is particularly well-versed in U.S. bourbons.
Here are some of the scotches being offered at the complimentary tasting: Dalmore Cigar Malt, Dalmore King Alexander, Mackinlay Shackleton Rare Old, Isle of Jura Prophecy, Bruichladdich Islay Barley, The Glenlivet 15, Aberlour A’Bundadh, Jameson Black 18, The MaCallan Fine Oak 15, Famous Grouse, Highland Park 18, Glenfiddach 21, The Balvenie 17 Double Wood, Gordon & Macpahil Benromach 10 and Monkey Shoulder.
As for the Bourbons, there’s Clyde May, Compass Box Great King, Templeton Rye, Jefferson’s Reserve and Hudson Baby Bourbon among other samplings.
I’m not a Scotch drinker but my twin brother John has a healthy respect for it. I’ll be shopping for his Christmas present — in June.
Bourbon’s another story. I visited Andover Classic Wines last November, just prior to Thanksgiving, and had Griset help me select four distinctive bottlings. I came away with Blanton’s single barrel Kentucky bourbon, Boston-made Bully Boy, Hudson HV, and Michter’s. The spicy warmth they provided helped me get through the long, cold, snowy winter without complaint.