Claim the Throne of ‘The Favourite Child’ - Here’s 6 Whiskies To Drink With Your Dad This Father’s Day
BY SOPHIE CHUNG
From the Scottish Lowlands to the Isle of Islay and Maryland, take your dad on a delicious taste tour around the world.
9 AUG - 2021
It’s time to get amongst the raging whisky boom for there’s no tipple better than the golden legs.
Following a year and a half of social distancing, some of us have been completely robbed of the opportunity to do what’s most natural and meaningful to us - spending time with friends and family. For the lucky ones in New Zealand, it may be that this Father’s Day marks the first time in a while that you’re able to cheers over a dram with your dad.
Although I’ll be drinking from afar via Facetime with mine, I’ve lined up six perfect bottles to pick up for yours with the help of Siona Collier from Whisky Galore. Raised in rural New Zealand with a quintessential Scottish upbringing, Siona had a farmside barefoot childhood with highland cattle in green paddocks and bagpipes in the living room.
“My first major exposure to the wonderful world of whisky didn’t come through a single bottle, it came via jugs directly from the cask during a whisky festival that I conspired to join my father on,” Siona shares. Living in the outer Hebrides at the curious age of 14, she made her way to a banquet event which was hosted in a castle. “Some hitch-hiking may or may not have been involved,” she divulges.
The first time for anything marks a milestone that renders itself unforgettable. For Siona, the emerald green dress that her father hired in a rush made for some typically hilarious father-daughter memories. “We had the greatest struggle doing it up and I spent the rest of the evening having difficulty with sitting, breathing and eating,” she reminisces.
A true maestro in whisky, Siona shares six unique drops to please everyone; from the absolute beginner to those with the most scrupulous palate. All you have to know is, this unique whisky round-up will guarantee your place as Dad’s ‘favourite’ child. They say these things don’t exist but let’s face it - it totally does. And of course, because his whiskies will be accompanied by the best gift of all - quality time - you’ll have the thoughtful edge that will trump any sock and undie combo, even if it’s Calvin Klein.
Tamdhu 12 Year Old
“Speyside whiskies typically represent a sweeter, fruitier style of whisky and this expression is just that.” Matured in the best Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, Tamdhu 12 YO is a smooth, single malt drop that delivers flavours of dried fruit, warming cinnamon rolls and sweet notes reminiscent of traditional Scottish tablet, which is a fudge-like confection that’s a bit firmer and grainier.
Silky in texture, it coats the tongue in banana, malt biscuit, berry jam and at the very end, you can expect a wisp of peat smoke. Thanks to its maturation process, “it is certainly a richer style of whisky but it is so smooth and sweet that it strikes the perfect balance for those brand new to whisky and those who might have tried a couple beforehand,” Siona recommends.
Bladnoch 11 Year Old
If you want to spoil your dad with a rare dram and drop some impressive social ammunition, Bladnoch Distillery is not only one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, but also the most southerly, located in the Scottish Lowlands. Founded in 1817 by the McClellan brothers, Bladnoch was acquired in 2015 by long-time Scotch whisky lover, David Prior, to revive and honour the historic estate that is so rich in history.
Due to the distillery’s geography, Bladnoch provides a true Scottish Lowland experience which typically creates light, refreshing notes that are green, floral and citrus. “I remember when I first tried Bladnoch whisky, the smell of freshly cut grass was just so nostalgic and inviting. It has a real freshness to it and the notes of vanilla make it feel nice and creamy on the palate,” Siona says. Matured in a combination of ex-Californian red wine and ex-bourbon casks, you can expect hints of wood spice as well as baked apples and cherries.
Scarabus Islay Single Malt
Distilled on the Isle of Islay, Scarabus is famed for its collision of peat smoke, sea salt, leather and vanilla. “Smoky whisky can be quite polarising,” so beware that it’s not for the faint of heart and may take some warming up to. However, Siona does suggest taking the plunge as some people take to peat immediately.
“Scarabus is a really great place to start when it comes to smoky whisky,” she claims.
On the nose, Scarabus has a gentle sweet peat and citrus notes that mingle with dried apricots and honey. Texture wise, it coats the mouth with a pleasant oily finish and has a savoury twist like olive brine. “It also has a lovely vanilla sweetness to it which makes it deliciously moreish - especially in the colder months.”
This drop is of amazing value as there’s a lot of whiskies out there that count on the Islay factor to market itself and raise its price exorbitantly.
Scarabus, 46%, $79.
Old Pulteney 12 YO
If you’re new to whisky, Old Pulteney 12 is a fantastic all-rounder dram to get you on board. “Known as 'The Maritime Malt,' the distillery itself is situated right on the coastline and the whisky has an ever so slightly sea-salty tang which alludes to this.” Imagine dark caramel blending with creamy honeyed vanilla and a spritz of citrus.
Matured in air dried ex-bourbon casks, it’s got a sugary quality and marzipanesque nuttiness that will satiate a sweet tooth too. “As whiskies go, they don't get much more approachable,” Siona says. “And it really is the perfect drop to get started when entering into the world of whisky.” If you’re struggling to choose, Old Pulteney is a no-brainer option that’s extremely difficult not to love.
Brand transparency and ingredient traceability has never been sought after by consumers like this before. To meet the demands of the conscientious, Waterford Distillery have tapped into an innovative approach to technology so that you can see exactly what type of barley was used, where it was grown, who it was harvested by, where the maturation casks are from and how it was distilled.
Dubbed the TÉIREOIR code, when you punch in each bottle’s unique QR code, it provides all the knowledge you need in a highly stylised and interactive way which gives Waterford the integrity and trust that we crave from brands. Siona adds, “while you might think this only appeals to those deeply invested in the world of whisky, I find that it also provides a really wonderful story for those just getting started on their whisky journey as it breaks down the whole process step by step.” For this particular bottle from the Waterford Single Farm Origin line, the barley was farmed by Phil O’Brien in Baile an fhasaigh, which translates to the 'place of the lush grass.'
As Waterford celebrates using the world’s finest barley, “the whisky is deeply layered and complex, and so, makes for a really great dram to sit down and share with someone.” Taste-wise, Waterford Sheestown is quite oily and malty with fruit-forward notes of poached pears, marmalade, honeycomb and finishes with a warm clove spice that’s not too overbearing.
Now that we’ve dabbled in Ireland after a trip around Scotland, we’re going to hop, skip and jump over to America and try their traditional Maryland-style rye whiskey (with an ‘e’). You’d suspect an intense peppery spiciness that rye whisky usually has, but as Siona says, Sagamore Rye has sweet and spiced notes that smells like caramel honey. “The first time I opened a bottle of the Sagamore Rye whiskey, I was immediately transported to baking with my kids. The smell of baking spices and brown sugar is so enticing!”
A classic example of the American whiskey style, this gem of a drop comes from two straight rye mash bills - cinnamon, clove and nutmeg is brought out of the high rye; caramel, honey and candied dried orange peel from the second rye. It’s only in the finish that the warming peppery notes linger with hints of walnut and brown sugar.
It’s a seriously tasty tipple - it’s so smooth that you can easily drink it neat, like every edgy female protagonist who’s scheming her next villain’s trap. Aside from fictional characters such as Lisabeth Salander, there’s also the real-life queens who dabble in the drop - like the freshest billionaire Rihanna, Christina Hendricks, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga and Halle Berry - remember her 2017 Comic-Con stunt where she sank her whisky down the hatch? Iconic.
“This is a whiskey that makes for something deliciously sweet to sip on but also the perfect addition to a whisky cocktail!” Sagamore Spirit Rye is quite honey forward and leans into sweet fruity notes like candied pineapple and pear which gives it that delicious tropical pop to a drink, both neat and mixed.
This pretty little dram sits at the higher price point for this Father’s Day gift guide, and surprisingly, at the lower proof end of the scale too. It’s got a big presence and has got a lot to offer so if your budget can stretch a little further, Sagamore Rye Whiskey is worth every penny.