The days are growing longer and grilling season is coming out in full force, which means that not only is the official start of summer just around the corner, but Father’s Day will be here before you know it. This year, forget about adding to his tie collection or springing for a fancy yet impractical high tech gadget. Instead, celebrate dad with a present that’s a bit more special and unique; one that takes his personal interests and tastes into account. And if he’s a whiskey enthusiast, you’re in the right place.
Whether he’s passionate about high rye whiskey or prefers double oaked bourbon, there’s truly something for every whiskey-loving dad. To mark his special day, gift him a memorable bottle of a tried and true favorite, or help him expand his horizons with something entirely different from his usual tastes.The best sorts of gifts are those that can be shared, and the options are limitless, from commemorative whiskeys aged in rum casks and double oaked bottles that come out rich and caramel-y, to a bottle that’s been aging longer than, well, dad.
The tradition of making whiskey (or, fine, whisky) may have its roots in Scotland, but Ireland also has an incredible footprint for the aged spirit. Those classic Scottish whiskey brands are already so well-known, so this list actually largely highlights those from other parts of the world, because why not try something more unexpected? And just to clarify, yes, bourbon is, indeed, a type of whiskey.
Whiskey has never been more diverse or exciting, and right now, there are quite a few limited releases, anniversary editions and even special birthday exclusives. Celebrate dad with ‘whisky’ from the rainy countryside fjords of Denmark, or perhaps with a 100th anniversary bottle from Japan.
So grab a special bottle for a good old fashioned toast with Dad before Sunday, June 18. Below, see the best and most inventive whiskeys to spoil the most special guy in your life this Father’s Day.
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The Best Whiskeys to Gift Dad This Father's Day
Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This double cask Scotch whisky comes with a hefty price tag, but the 18-year aged liquor is well worth the splurge. Made using traditional copper distillation methods in Macallan’s Scottish distillery, this rich, honeyed single malt is balanced and as smooth as silk. This whiskey is aged in oloroso sherry casks made from European oak as well as American oak, and the rich hue is a great marker for the depth of flavor you’ll get here. Not into smokey, peaty Scotch whisky? No need to worry, as Speyside whisky can have a cleaner profile.
Chicken Cock Double Oak Whiskey
Yes, another double oak whiskey, and for good reason. Double oak isn’t just a fun name; it describes the actual process of aging the whiskey goes through. This particular liquor starts with a seven-year aged liquid that is then re-barreled into New American oak for another year. Chicken Cock is one of the oldest American whiskey distillers, and this expression all goes back to a barrel shortage in 2014. Bourbon can only be labeled Kentucky Straight Bourbon if it’s aged in a barrel made of new white American oak, and this version is the best of both worlds, allowing for a deep complexity of age while maintaining a brighter, more wood-forward top note.
Suntory Yamazaki 12 Year Old Whisky
No dive into whiskey is complete without Suntory’s signature bottle, the iconic Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt. It’s one of the most well known in the line, and considered by many to be an integral core expression. Suntory was a pioneer of the Japanese whiskey movement, and they’ve just released a special 100th Anniversary edition as an homage to Yamazaki, the oldest malt distillery in Japan, while also evoking “Monozukuri” craftsmanship, a principle encompassing artisanship and the pursuit of expressiveness and quality. That particular bottle will set you back over $1,500, and while still an investment, this classic Yamazaki 12-year bottle is relatively easy to find. With subtle depth and a slightly fruity, floral and mildly spiced finish, this is a great way to open up your palate to the world of Japanese whiskey. It’s particularly easy to enjoy for those who are already fans of classic Scotch whiskey.
Old Forester Single Barrel Rye
Old Forester has a storied history in Louisville, spanning 152 years. The single barrel rye features hints of lemon, rounded out with burnt caramel, spiced apple and finished with subtle black pepper. This complex sipper is worth the expense, but drink with caution, as this is a cask strength bottle, which means it hasn’t been watered down. Expect to taste carefully, savor and then taste again to see how the liquid changes and subtly opens up over time.
Woodford Reserve Baccarat
Woodford Reserve is known for high quality liquid with great flavor, and if you’re ready to seriously splurge on dad this year, look no further than this limited edition Baccarat bottle, which is actually two presents in one. The carefully selected Kentucky bourbon is first aged again in American oak barrels in order to officially retain bourbon designation. Next comes further aging in French oak barrels, which all previously held XO Cognac for at least three years. The liquid is viscous and complex, with subtle spice and fruit notes, and a surprisingly creamy finish. The second bonus present is the bottle itself—Baccarat is known for their quality handcrafted crystal, and once the whiskey is finished, the bottle can be used over and over again with whatever dad wants to enjoy.
Bushmills 30 Year Irish Whisky with Gift Box
What happens when a Northern Irish whiskey meets a fortified Spanish sherry? Well, something truly beautiful and unique, that’s what. Bushmills is the oldest licensed whisky distillery in the world, with a royal license that dates back to 1608. Bushmills’ newly released 30 year old whiskey is the result of maturing starting off in bourbon barrels and sherry butts (a traditionally smaller barrel) for at least 14 years. The liquid then takes a rest in freshly used Pedro Ximénez casks for another 16 years. The Ximénez is a fortified sherry wine that is on the sweet side, with a rich red color, and brings a warm toffee note to the mature liquor.
It’s a long process, and gives the liquor a rich, complex and bold flavor profile, with notes of dried fruit.
Virginia Distilling Co. Courage and Conviction Bourbon Cask
Virginia Distilling Co. makes their famous American Single Malt Whiskey at their distillery located amid the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a mash that starts with 100 percent malted barley, the spirit is then aged in American oak barrels for at least 4 years before it is bottled at cask strength. With an emphasis on sustainability, transparency and local ingredients, Virginia Distilling Co. is known for giving back to the community as much as for their excellent whiskey.
Stauning Rye Whisky
Whiskey can be made anywhere, and some of the most interesting bottles today are emerging from the most unlikely of places. That is, until you remember that the base of most spirits is grain, and Denmark has grain (more specifically, rye and barley) in abundance.
Some of the strains are heritage varieties that make the spirit completely unique. Stauning makes copper distilled spirits that not only have body and complexity, but meld the innovations of American whiskey with the traditions of Scottish spirits. The Stauning Rye Whisky begins with locally malted rye and barley, and then introduces more local peat and heather, before it’s aged for three to four years in American oak, resulting in a wonderful rye bread-like body, with spice and dried fruit notes.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is a good starting point for high-end bourbon whiskey. This single barrel bottle is as eye-catching as it is as tasty, with its signature round vessel and horse and rider cork topper. The single-barrel bourbons register at 92-proof, allowing for a great introduction that shows off the soft and mellow flavor profile. Bourbons in general are ranked by blended and unblended versions, with this particular bottling as a standout. And yes, the corks are collectible.
Michter’s US1 Toasted Barrel Finish
First known as Shenk’s and then Bomberger’s, Michter’s traces its beginnings back to 1753, when it opened as the first American distillery. Famously, George Washington allegedly purchased bottles to help fortify his troops at Valley Forge.
If you want to invest in limited edition bottles, Michter’s exceptional American bourbon whiskey is a great place to start. Michter’s US1 is first aged in charred American oak barrels, and then finished in 18 month air-dried barrels which are subsequently toasted. The resulting red-hued liquid offers a unique taste, with chocolate, spice and honey notes.