Nine of the best gins and whiskies for Father's Day
Bottles for the dad who claims to have tried everything
Some fathers have obvious passions - yachting perhaps, or shooting or painting - making Fathers' Day an incredibly easy celebration to navigate. Others, however, are more difficult to buy for – often the ones who say "don't bother getting me a present, I have everything I need."
For these fathers, the best and simplest solution may be a bottle of fine whisky or gin, because how can you go wrong with a bottle of something delicious and intoxicating that you can share with one another?
So what should you get? Here are eight great gin and whisky gifts to please even the most stubbornly difficult-to-buy-for dads, ranging from £30 to £17,000.
Starward Wine Cask Edition from New World Projects, £48.95
Australian whisky has come a long way in a very short space of time. International attention became focussed on the great southern land after Sullivan’s Cove’s French Oak emerged from the rainy isle of Tasmania and won the World’s Best Whisky award at the World Whiskies Awards in 2014.
Now a hotly tipped newcomer has arrived, this time from the Australian mainland, and it too is tipped for greatness: Starward from the New World Whisky Distillery in Victoria.
All Starward whiskies are made from Australian barley, and are aged in Aussie barrels, which ensures that they “reflect the terroir with subtlety”, says Man of Many.
Their Wine Cask release, which is finished in Australian red wine casks was awarded best Australian single malt at the 2017 World Whiskies Awards, despite only having been aged for three years.
According to company founder David Vitale, Melbourne's notoriously changeable weather gives his single malts an edge. The city’s climate is “perfectly suited to maturation in shorter time frames,” he told the Daily Mail.
So how does Starward Wine Cask taste? It opens with aromas of raisin and banana, before bringing a touch of balsamic and a palate filled with red berries and spice. The distillery’s flagship Solera offers a more caramel flavour, and a much spicier finish. Both are delicious and offer dad a taste of Down Under this Father’s Day.
Moonshot Gin from That Boutique-y Gin Company, £32.95
For the dad who has tried everything on Earth, Moonshot gin is made solely with botanicals that have been shot into space. To make the gin, That Boutique-y Gin Company loaded ingredients including juniper, coriander, cubeb pepper and fresh lemon peel into an improvised rocket and sent them into the stratosphere at an altitude of at least 24km where they were exposed to extremely low pressures. Once back on Earth, they were distilled with moon rock from a lunar meteorite, to add, presumably, to the gin's out-of-this-world flavour. The result is a perfect gin for anyone who has ever stared up into the night sky and wondered what it would taste like to fire plants into space, bring them back, distil them with moon rock and then drink them.
Port Charlotte 10 - Heavily Peated from Bruichladdich, £50
The last bottle of Bruichladdich this reviewer tasted (The Classic Laddie) was as smooth as they come, with hints of mint and flowers on the nose, and a more sugary, malted flavour on the palate.
This bottle shares something of the same smoothness, but offers a radically different flavour profile. Bruichladdich’s head distiller Adam Hannet describes Port Charlotte (which is named after a village that lies two miles south of Bruichladdich) as having “notes of coconut, vanilla custard and lemon honey, combined with smoked oysters and sun baked salty sand.”
As the name implies it is also rich in smoke – with its eponymous “heavy peat” a firm feature. Yet Port Charlotte’s interpretation of char and ash is not an overwhelming one; this is an unexpectedly delicious and easy-to-drink whisky, despite its name. And the long malty finish is a knockout.
Springbank 10, £44
A favourite among those who appreciate a local touch, Springbank is "the only distillery doing everything themselves, hiring local people and promoting a community first attitude in an industry often criticised for its corporate approach", The Scotsman says.
A fruity nose with a sweet, tingling finish make this a delicious, as well as ethical, dram.
Raasay While We Wait 2nd Release, £57
R&B Distillers are currently building their first distillery on the stunning island of Raasay, which for its size also happens to be one of the UK's most geologically diverse areas. Raasay While We Wait has been made at a Highland distillery to predict the flavours that they will soon be able to create in their new home. While the project is being finished off you can get a look-in with their While We Wait 2nd Release, a single malt promising the flavour of the things to come - peat smoke and spice and, thanks to 18 months' finishing in French oak Tuscan wine casks, a few raspberry and blackcurrant notes in there, too.
For £250, the Raasay Distillery is also offering the opportunity to join its exclusive An Roghainn Club. Members can invest in the emerging brand and have the chance to add limited release whisky to their personal libraries, as well as the opportunity to buy casks of the Raasay Distillery whisky.
Ableforth's Bathtub Gin, £32.99
This multi award-winning gin is made using a very high quality copper pot-still spirit, and infused with Juniper, Orange Peel, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cloves and Cardamom. Bathtub Gin has been lavished with praise and awards from the International Spirits Challenge, the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the World Gin Awards.
Highland Park 30, £615
Five years ago, the Highland Park 25 became the first spirit ever to be awarded a full 100 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Its older counterpart is also much praised. "I find myself enchanted by this single malt to the point of craving the next sip," wrote a reviewer on the Whiskey Wash. With a fudge-like sweetness and a lingering finish, this whisky will stay with you for so long you might forget the price.
Drink by the Dram's 50 Year Old Gift Set, Master of Malt, £43
You only get 3cl of this 50-year-old whisky, but every drop counts when the quality is this high. Promising the kind of deep oak notes "that can only develop over many decades", this malt has a nose of honeyed fruits and gingerbread. You also get a crystal tasting glass to help bring every subtle flavour to the fore.
1952 The Macallan Fine & Rare Vintage Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Speyside – Highland, £17,000 and up
The Macallan name carries a special frisson in the whisky world. For obvious reasons, we haven't tried the 1952 ourselves (it's not even their most expensive bottle), but at this level, and from one of the most venerable names in whisky, rest assured what you'll get will be liquid gold.