Yes, there’s lots of gifts you could get your dad for Father’s Day. But, if you’re really stuck for ideas – or your dad is someone who likes nothing better than to settle down with a snifter of Scotch of an evening – then you really can’t go wrong with a really great bottle of whisky (or, indeed, whiskey). Whatever type of malt drinker he is, here’s our top choices of bottles that’ll go down a storm this Father’s Day.
The Artisan – Dingle Whiskey Distillery’s Batch No 4 Single Malt
Making whiskey in the most westerly town on the European mainland, Dingle Whiskey Distillery was Ireland’s first artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka maker and the first purpose-built distillery to open in the country in a century. Making it pretty remarkable in and of itself. Its latest release is also a bit special. Finished in a mix of bourbon, sherry (both Pedro Jimenez and Oloroso), and port casks, it’s a full spirit with a blend of notes of creamy vanilla, dried apricots and sultanas. There’s only 2,000 bottles available in the UK, the perfect gift for a dad who appreciates craftmanship in his glass.
£80 masterofmalt.com, dingledistillery.ie
The Purist – Caol Ila 15 year old
Often when someone proffers a glass of ‘good whisky’ you can get blown away by the peatiness, at the expense of any other flavour. And to be fair, peaty smoky whiskies are great. But there should be more to savour in a spirit than one note, and so Caol Ila distillery, on Islay, the heartland of peated whiskies, decided to demonstrate the depth and complexity of its liquid. In 2018, the distillery released a Scotch with the smoke stripped back to allow the delicate flavours that come from the grain, its distilling process, and the wood of the cask, to shine through. If your dad is something of a purist, seeking out the nuance, and savouring a multiplicity of ideas, he’ll like the Caol Ila 15 year old – every sip is a way of experiencing how much the distillery can bring out of something as simple as grain and water.
The Raconteur – Balvenie Stories
There’s a lot that’s remarkable about Speyside distillery Balvenie. Making whisky in the traditional batch process method, the company uses locally grown barley where it can and is one of only seven (out of more than a hundred) distilleries in Scotland with its own malting floor. It’s a place that’s seen some stories since it opened in 1886 (you can hear some here), and this is exactly what the brand intends to celebrate with Balvenie Stories. Three variants: The Sweet Toast of American Oak, a 12 year old; The Week of Peat, a 14 year old; and A Day of Dark Barley, a 26 year old – each emphasise different elements within the classic Balvenie style, to celebrate character, endeavour and craft. If your dad is the type who loves to spin a yarn, these are the spirits to further loosen his tongue.
American Oak £49.50, Peat Week £79.50, Dark Barley £650.00, fortnumandmason.com, thebalvenie.com
The Outdoorsman – Talisker 10 Year Old
The oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye has something of the salty seadog about it. Remote and rugged, Talisker brings out the sweetness in its full-bodied single malts. It might be something of a classic when it comes to Scotch, but for good reason. Facing the winds and weather of the Atlantic, it’s a whisky for those who like to be out in the elements, who enjoy the feel of rain on their faces and salt on their tongues. If your dad was the kind to make you camp in the damp of a British summer, or one who’s never happier than when striding up a mountain or setting the sails for sea, a bottle of Talisker 10 to top up his hipflask should see him right.
The Individualist – Johnnie Walker Blue Label Rare and Port Ellen
Liquids from Scotland’s famous ghost distilleries are highly sought after. Port Ellen is one of these, closed in the 1980s, with the whisky made at this former Islay distillery being eked out in a series of one off releases that can be bank breaking. However, this special release of Johnnie Walker is kinder on the wallet, crafted using some of this irreplaceable liquid from its Blue Label reserves, to bring the distinctive maritime smokiness of Port Ellen to the heart of each bottle. And when you think that only 1 in 10,000 casks make the cut for Johnnie Walker Blue Label on an ordinary day, it’s an outstanding gift to give the remarkable man with the honour of being your father.
£275, thewhiskyexchange.com, johnniewalker.com