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WhiskyDad’s Guide to Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is almost upon us (In Australia, it’s on the first Sunday in September) and if your father or husband is a WhiskyDad like me, look no further than my Father's Day guide for the WhiskyDad in your life (not just my own wishlist).

Whisky

The most obvious gift could also be the hardest to choose because you want to buy something your dad will like. My suggestion is to raid his whisky cabinet and find out what he drinks. You could either play it safe and buy what he already has or you could buy him something similar that he may not have tried before. The easiest way to do this would be to talk to the proprietor of a specialist whisky bottle shop and tell them what he drinks and ask for a recommendation of something similar. But if that isn’t possible, allow me to give you some loose rules.

He likes all whisky

By far the easiest dad to buy whisky for since you could buy him just about anything and he would enjoy drinking it. That said, I would look at what he usually drinks and buy something around the same price point.
This WhiskyDad knows what he likes, but what about what he doesn’t know he likes? 
He only drinks Jack Daniel’s

This WhiskyDad knows what he likes, but what about what he doesn’t know he likes? Jack Daniel’s and all its many special and limited editions, is a Tennessee whiskey. What’s a Tennessee whiskey? It’s bourbon, with an extra charcoal filtration step. A great alternative to Jack Daniel’s is another readily available Tennessee whiskey, George Dickel. George Dickel comes in No.8, No.12 and X varieties and my pick would be George Dickel No. 12 as a legitimate (and in my opinion, superior) alternative to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7.

He’s a Peat Freak

This WhiskyDad loves his whisky smoky. Chances are he will drink anything from Islay but that isn’t the only peated whisky available. Look for any of these, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Bowmore, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Laphroaig; or outside of Islay, Springbank, Longrow, Kilkerran, Talisker, Ledaig or Highland Park. Failing that, anything with ‘Peat’ in the label like independent bottlers Douglas Laing’s Big Peat or Compass Box’s Peat Monster should be fine.

He only drinks the cheap stuff

There’s nothing wrong with drinking whisky that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but chances are if it’s cheap, it’s a blended whisky. Not all blended whiskies are equal and some are quite expensive. One of the most famous and popular blended whiskies is Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker comes in a number of varieties that get progressively expensive of which Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black are a good balance of reasonable price and quality.
This may sound a little controversial, but most Irish whiskey is no different to Scotch whisky. 
He likes Irish Whiskey

This may sound a little controversial, but most Irish whiskey is no different to Scotch whisky. If you look at the ingredients and the way both are made, there really isn’t a lot of difference between Scotch and Irish Whiskey other than the country of origin. There are a few exceptions but if you are going to buy an Irish whiskey, buy a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey like Redbreast, Green Spot, Yellow Spot or Powers. These are quintessentially Irish whiskeys and are quite different from any Scotch whisky.



He likes the burn

Does your dad like a whisky that burns in his chest and warms his insides? Then you should get him a cask strength whisky. Cask strength means the whisky is bottled at or near the ABV% it was straight from the cask. Most whisky is diluted with water before bottling to reduce the ABV% to a standard figure such as 40%, 43% or 46%. My pick for a cask strength whisky would be Aberlour A’bunah.
The older the whisky, the more influence the cask has over the flavour and often colour. 
He likes darker coloured whisky

If you dad drinks whisky that is generally darker and more amber than your average whisky, chances are it is ex-sherry cask (barrel) matured. Most whisky is matured in either ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks. The older the whisky, the more influence the cask has over the flavour and often the colour. Ex-bourbon cask matured whisky usually has a vanilla dominant flavour whereas ex-sherry cask whisky has a dried fruit or Christmas Cake dominant flavour. Oh, he likes traditional Christmas Cake? Then ex-sherry cask matured whisky is a safe bet such as the excellent BenRiach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood Matured.

Something Australian

There are plenty of very good Australian whiskies on the market. Obviously, these are much easier to obtain from within Australia. Most are quite expensive, around $200 for 500ml, but not all are, such as Starward Wine Cask Edition which can be picked up from Dan Murphy’s for around $80-$90 for a 700ml bottle. Being originally from Tasmania myself, it would be remiss of me not to recommend a Tasmania whisky so how about a Lark Cask Strength from the distillery that started the recent whisky boom across the island state.

Something unexpected

There is nothing quite like surprising a Scotch snob with a great-tasting whisky from an unexpected region of the world. Did you know that India produces some amazing single malt whisky? I guarantee your Scotch-loving dad will enjoy either the Paul John Classic Select Cask or Amrut Fusion if they prefer a peated whisky.

Whisky gifts other than whisky

There are plenty of gift ideas for the whisky-loving dad other than whisky; consider some of these.

Something edible

Fancy yourself a bit of a cook? How about making some whisky fudge, some whisky cured bacon or whisky jerky? You could even ‘borrow’ some of your dad’s whisky to flavour it. Just don’t borrow the really expensive stuff.
The world of specialist whisky glassware can be a load of wank, but not all glasses are equal when it comes to drinking whisky. 
Whisky glasses

The world of specialist whisky glassware can be a load of wank, but not all glasses are equal when it comes to drinking whisky. In my opinion, the pinnacle of shape (performance), weight (comfort) and value (some glasses cost upwards of $50 each) is the Glencairn glass. These can be picked up for as little as $10-$17 each and are a great choice for a whisky-loving dad. There is even a more expensive crystal version of the Glencairn glass if you want something a little fancier.

If your dad drinks his whisky with a mixer, go for a nice crystal tumbler instead.

If you want something a little different, how about a quaich? A quaich is a shallow Scottish two-handed drinking cup. They can be made of metal such as pewter or silver but are traditionally carved from wood.

Artwork and accessories

A map of the whisky distilleries of Scotland by Manuscript Maps is an excellent gift for a WhiskyDad and looks great on any whisky fan’s wall. Factor in extra for postage and framing to get the best out of it.

Angel’s Share Glass make some great whisky themed accessories such as Glencairn shaped cufflinks.



Books

There are stacks of great books on whisky that would make excellent Father’s Day gifts. The World Atlas of Whisky is an excellent and hefty coffee table book whereas Whisk(e)y Distilled is more portable by no less detailed.

Pens

Check out these awesome pens, made from ex-bourbon barrels. They can even be personalised – I would love a couple of these myself. Hint, hint.


Image © bourbonpens.com 

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