One of the hardest things about gift-giving holidays is being sure what someone on your list might like to receive. Something well-made and delicious to drink is always a good idea in my book. Father’s Day is around the corner and that’s the perfect time to look toward distilled spirits as gifts. I recently tasted through a number of different spirits, and I found seven that are perfect Father’s Day gifts. So whatever your budget is, the list below likely has something that fits in.
Speyburn 10 Year Highland Single Malt Scotch, SRP $30 – The distillery sits in the hills, built from carved stone sourced at the local namesake river. Nearby is the largest collection of distilleries in one area. This Scotch has an extremely fresh nose that is tempered by bits of salinity. Stone fruits are evident through the palate with peach, nectarine, and apricot all playing a role alongside a nice complement of spices such as white pepper and hints of clove. Oatmeal, yeast, and gingerbread spices are all in play on the finish, which is above average for the category. This even-keeled and easy drinking Scotch represents a very solid value in Single Malts.
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, SRP $30 – To create this expression, their Master Distiller marries four distinct bourbons to create one new blend. This bourbon has a deep, coppery color. The nose is loaded with vanilla and complementary spices as well as toasty oak. The palate is intense and hefty, layered with deep fruit flavors, continued spices, and a hint of mesquite honey. Barley, bits of nectarine and caramelized brown sugar are all part of the intense and somewhat fiery finish. Four Roses Small Batch is a very nice expression of bourbon, particularly at this price-point.
Phraya Aged Rum, SRP $40 – This offering hails from Thailand. Different lots of rum were aged in oak barrels for periods ranging from 7-12 years. From those they select their favorite barrels to create Phraya. The appeal of this particular rum starts from the absolutely gorgeous and striking packaging. From there, the moment you pour it, the lovely golden color shimmers beautifully in your glass. The first whiff reveals a mélange of plum pudding spices supporting tropical fruit aromas. White fig, roasted pineapple, caramel, and cinnamon flavors are all part of the generous palate. The spice-laden finish, which shows off chocolate and crème fraiche, also reveals a bit of pleasing heat. This rum is a winner all the way around from a country that I haven’t thought of for this particular spirit before.
Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum, SRP $40 – This selection was distilled in pot stills and then aged over 12 years in small oak barrels. They utilize Canadian White Oak exclusively. Roasted, spice-covered banana aromas fill the nose of this rum. The palate is weighty with tremendously pleasing mouth-feel. Tropical fruit and spices are joined by bits of honey. These all lead to brown sugar, fig, and bits of chocolate on the finish. This is a remarkably smooth example of rum without a single sharp edge. It leans gently towards the sweeter side of aged sipping rums.
Gran Duque D’Alba Solera Grand Reserva Brandy, SRP $50 – This offering comes from one of the three areas in the world (Brandy de Jerez) that has a specific appellation for brandy. It was aged under the Solera system for 12 years in casks that previously held Sherry. Pouring this into a brandy snifter shows off a beautiful, maple syrup-like hue. The gorgeous nose is a mix of dark tropical fruits, and spices such as brown sugar. Black fig, prunes, and caramel are all in evidence on the substantial and weighty palate. The influence of the Sherry casks really makes its presence known on the finish with bits of raisin and sweetness. The flavors linger beautifully and persistently on the tongue and back of the throat. This is an exceptional expression of brandy. I tasted 5 different brandies for this story, hoping I’d find a couple to recommend. None of them came close to this one in terms of flavor, length of palate, or value. If you like brandy this is a must buy, and if you’re new to brandy this is where you want to jump in.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask Islay Single Malt Scotch, SRP $60 – The folks at Laphroaig age this Scotch twice. First it sits in ex-bourbon barrels then smaller Quarter Cask barrels in their warehouse near the Atlantic. The light color of this Scotch brings to mind freshly squeezed apple juice. This is classic Laphroaig from the first whiff of the peaty nose. However with a lighter touch than many of their other expressions. Crispy bacon aromas are present as well. Pecan, roasted peaches, and toasted farro all come together on the palate, which is layered with a smooth and gentle density. The finish is impressively long with complexity and persistence to spare. This is a worthy entry in the notable Laphroaig portfolio.Holidays are a great time to give someone a bottle they might not try on their own, so if your dad is a whisky lover, you might want to stretch his palate over to rum for fun.
Mount Gay Rum 1703 Old Cask Selection, SRP $100 – This rum is blended from Mount Gay’s most treasured cask reserves. They age entirely in Kentucky oak barrels. The casks selected have between 10 and 30 years of age on them. The 1703 Old Cask has a huge nose laced with apricot, spice and tropical vanilla bean aromas. Banana, date, and mission fig flavors are prominent on the deep, dense palate. Layer after layer of flavor keep your taste buds busy and happy. Dark chocolate-covered coconut characteristics and mild wisps of gingerbread spice are all part of the intense, prodigiously long finish. This is an example of rum well suited for special occasions.
Whatever your dad’s taste in distilled spirits, one of these bottles will be an appropriate gift. Holidays are also a great time to give someone something they might not try on their own, so if your dad is a whisky lover you might want to stretch his palate over to rum for fun or vice versa. In any event, you simply can’t go wrong with any of the bottles above.