I HAVE few better memories than those shared with my dad.
Memories such as watching TV with him as a child when he got home from work, or the pride on his face the first time he took the stabilisers off of my bike and watched me cycle away for the first time, right through to playing football with him on the fives pitch and enjoying a quiet pint afterwards.
These days there’s nothing better than meeting up for dinner at the weekend, sharing stories of the week or two gone by, before enjoying a whisky or three. Unbelievably, it took me a while to get him into whisky as he’d never been much of a drinker, but now he enjoys a dram almost as much as I do and loves to hear me talk on the subject.
So, on Father’s Day there’s no better opportunity to buy a good bottle of whisky for your dad and I’ve picked out a selection of good value bottles, so that no matter his taste, it’s covered here:
Starting off with the beginners: fathers who are maybe just beginning their interest in whisky or maybe you’d like to just buy them something interesting.
For me, you can’t go wrong with Auchentoshan. It’s a lowland single malt, it’s triple distilled and one of the smoothest around. My personal choice would be the Awesome Auchentoshan Three wood, it’s triple matured in three different casks; Bourbon, Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks and has a depth of flavour and complexity that keeps on giving.
From here we move a little further up the country to that most famous of regions - Speyside - home to 46 distilleries and a dizzying array of styles and flavours. I chose two from this region, mainly because it’s too much fun not to.
The first is a new bottling from a great distillery. I’ve chosen it because of the fastest rising section of whisky fandom, which your dad may belong to, that of the sherry head.
A sherry head is a whisky fan who loves the full on flavour of sherry maturation and the Balvenie single cask 15 year old sherry matured will go along way to satisfying this. The new Single cask from Malt Master Dave Stewart is matured exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks. I find this is one of the best whiskies for balance between wood and spirit in the sherry category.
From here I’d have to make my second Speyside selection, the Glen Grant ten year old, A light zesty malt, perfect for the summer weather. This is a whisky I never tire of. In fact, my only complaint might be that it goes down a little too easily. With hints of lemon and apples, this one is definitely best enjoyed in the sunshine.
The fourth choice is one for those who love smoke or, more importantly, peat. This one will go great with a cigar or two and really is a big hitter. The Kilchoman Machir bay is an Islay malt; in fact, it’s the newest Islay malt, the distillery itself having only opened in 2005. The whisky is young (It’s a vatting of four and five year old whisky matured in first fill bourbon casks, and in some of the newer versions there is even a little sherry maturation) and as such it carries a real punch of flavour. Akin almost to liquid charcoal, it lacks the coastal sea salt of its more eastern Islay cousins but has a more singular nature which I’m enamoured with. It’s definitely raw and uncompromising. A must have for Islay fans.
The final choice is a bit of a wild card. I’m a massive fan of Japanese whisky, and for the more experienced whisky drinker it might challenge perceptions some what. A clean, crisp whisky, I’ve gone for Nikka from the Barrel. This is a blended, cask strength whisky, that comes in around 51.4% abv and as such is perhaps in need of a splash of water. However, it’s smooth enough for it to be drank neat, which is my preferred way to enjoy it. This is definitely the choice for someone who is looking for something different.
Remember to choose carefully though, as the best part of buying whisky as a present is getting to share a dram with your dad afterwards and the new memories you’ll create while doing so.
• Sean Murphy is a writer for the Scotsman and a barman at the world famous Potstill Whisky Bar on Glasgow’s Hope Street.