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Best Whiskies For Father's Day

Francesca Conlin
Photo credit: Eric Rosati/Various

From Men's Health

If you grew up watching your dad indulge in a glass of whiskey after a long day or as a nightcap, you probably didn’t get why it was so great until you became an adult and tried for yourself. Now, you can really appreciate it and understand that it’s more than just “that brown stuff” and why having a nice bottle (or two matters). Naturally, dad deserves a nice bottle of whiskey anytime but especially on Father’s Day. Try one of these twenty bottles as a gift. Just don’t expect him to share.

Photo credit: Eric Rosati/Various

The Glenlivet Code

As if the bottle isn’t enough to reel you in, perhaps the mystery of what’s inside will entice you further. Released earlier this year without an age statement or tasting notes-all we know is that it’s a single malt-the Code invites you to sip whiskey without any preconceived notions-great if dad has pretty much tried every bottle in the book. If his nose and tongue are well-versed in whiskies, he can scan the code on the back of the bottle to test his knowledge and unlock the flavors via a virtual experience.

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The Dalmore 18

Worth every single dollar, this Highland single malt encompasses everything you’d expect from The Dalmore-notes of dark chocolate, orange, and spices-but amped up to the extreme so it tastes even more luscious. First matured for 14 years in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, it’s then transferred to 30-year-old Matusalem Oloroso sherry butts for another four years. Fun fact: The sherry butts from the world-renowned sherry house Gonzalez Byass are hand-selected for The Dalmore, so dad won’t be able to get the same flavor from another bottle.

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Jura 18

This brand new release has an age statement, if you can believe it, so time to snatch it up. While it might have some of the typical characteristics of a Jura whiskey, it’s finished in European oak casks after being initially matured in American white oak bourbon barrels. Equal parts chocolatey and spicy with a dash of sweetness and peaty flavor, it’ll delight dad’s palate no matter his whiskey preferences.

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Shackleton Whisky

After venturing into uncharted territory in the South Pole, Ernest Shackleton, for whom this bottle is named after, brought 25 cases of whiskey (MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky to be exact). Since only 11 were ever recovered, Richard Paterson created a replica with Mackinlay’s as the foundation and other Highland malt whiskies thrown into the mix. They’ve married over a long (but still undisclosed period of time) resulting in this complex blended malt that’s rich, robust, and just ever so slightly smoky.

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Royal Brackla 12

Dubbed “The king’s own whisky,” this bottle is fit for the king of your household. Not just a marketing ploy, it actually does have a royal history since in 1833 the Royal Brackla Distillery was granted a Royal Warrant by King William IV. Even though it comes from a lesser-known distillery, it was aged quietly in first-fill oloroso sherry casks, creating a superior taste and then release as part of the Last Great Malts of Scotland series in 2015 from John Dewars & Sons.

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Glenfiddich IPA Cask

Does dad also love beer as much as he loves whiskey? Since this distillation is the first single malt to be aged in IPA beer casks, he probably doesn’t already have something like this. To create this, a special beer was aged in ex-Glenfiddich casks for a month before they were filled with Glenfiddich whiskey for a three-month finishing period. Naturally, it combines the best flavors of both including hops and fresh herbs but also sweet, oaky, and vanilla notes for a smooth taste and finish.

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Johnnie Walker Blue Label

This premium blend is more well known, since it’s Johnnie Walker after all. Made of the finest old-aged malt and grain whiskies, it’s the rarest of the whiskies from the brand. Even long after you’re done telling dad how much you love him, it’ll feel like a celebration every time he pours himself a glass.

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Balcones Texas Rye

To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Balcones used chocolate rye in the mashbill of their Texas Rye along with several other types of rye, so if dad has a sweet tooth, this will please his taste buds without actually tasting sugary. Even though it might smell oaky, the flavor is dominated by chocolate with spice. Chances are he hasn’t tried something like this before.

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Auchentoshan American Oak

Even though this might be a Scotch whiskey, Auchentoshan was founded by Irish refugees and distilled three times versus two, which makes for a smoother, richer flavor. Matured in first-fill bourbon casks only, it creates a luscious vanilla but still fruity taste-you can thank the orange for the zestiness. It’s a well-rounded malt that impresses when sipped with company but without the same price tag as other similar varieties.

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Suntory Habiki Harmony

We often think of Scotch when we think of whiskey but this Japanese distillation from the Beam Suntory portfolio proves that we shouldn’t overlook the category. Call it the art of fine blending, the spirit blends multiple malt and grain whiskies of varying years. Expect notes of orange peel and white chocolate for an approachable but still unique taste-no wonder it’s won so many awards.

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Photo credit: Eric Rosati/Various

Hudson Whiskey Manhattan Rye

We’ve talked about how good Hudson Whiskey’s bourbon was before but this handmade, small-batch, award-winner is perfect for dad. It’s spicy and rustic yet smooth thanks to ingredients sourced from around the New York distillery’s homebase including 100% whole grain rye-none of that artificial stuff . It starts out peppery but gives way to a honey cinnamon finish.

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Peerless Kentucky Straight Rye

A liquor that goes down smoothly is always a good indication of its quality, but when we say this one goes down smoother, we mean it. Balanced by maple, brown sugar, and citrusy flavors, it’s a super palatable rye. But really, you can thank their unique distilling process, which includes “sweet mash” rather than “sour mash”-the more common kind. So, essentially, fresh batches of yeast are used for every mash.

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High West Bourye

Combining bourbon and rye-hence the name Bourye-this premium blend offers a luxurious sipping experience. While the ratios remain a secret, you can rest assured that there are straight rye and bourbon whiskies of varying years (at least nine) inside. Aged in American white oak barrels, it’s dreamy with orange crème anglaise to sniff, sweet honey nougat to taste, and roasted pecan to finish, but also has heat thanks to the peppery taste of the rye for a little kick.

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Ardbeg An Oa

This newcomer to Ardbeg’s main collection won’t disappoint if dad is already a fan but might just turn him on to the brand if he’s never tried one of their spirits before. After several whiskies are matured in virgin oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and bourbon barrels, among others, they’re then married in new Gathering Vats, so they can hang out and blend for a bit before bottling. This creates a smoky but still sweet taste so notes of peat, butterscotch, dark chocolate, black pepper, and clove can show off their flavors.

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Four Roses Bourbon

This single barrel bourbon is just one of ten separate bourbons distilled by the Four Roses distillery. While the age of this bourbon is unknown, don’t let the lack of age statement fool you into thinking it isn’t mature. With its sweet taste and hints of caramel and vanilla, this Kentucky Bourbon packs a punch not only with its high alcohol content (50 percent) but with its full flavor.

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Bladnoch Adela 15 Year Old

Revived in 2017, seven years after its original debut, this single malt is made of stocks that were ageing prior to its closure. As its name indicates, it was aged for a minimum of 15 years in oloroso sherry butts made from Spanish and American oak-some first fill. One pour reveals its diverse tasting notes of black pepper, liquorice, dark chocolate, coffee, and dried fruit.

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Tincup Whiskey

This whiskey is inspired by the past and the men who made it possible. With a tin cap (that also works as a cup), this whiskey takes everything that represents the great mountains of Colorado and bottles it into one. It starts out with three ingredients-corn, rye, and malted barley-and then aged for a minimum of four years before being cut to proof with fresh water from the Rockies. It’s a high rye whiskey but has the flavor profile of a bourbon albeit much spicier and fuller.

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The Notch 12

Coming out of Triple Eight Distillery in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Notch is arguably the best non-Scotch single malt whiskies in America. Winning countless awards-over a dozen since its release-it’s been a tough one to get your hands on. Must be something in that fresh, Nantucket air that makes it taste so good. Actually, it’s the water. According to the distillery, they experimented with different water and Nantucket’s was the best. After being distilled it’s aged in various barrels from the distillery as well as others including Woodford Reserve.

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Black Bull 12

This blended scotch whiskey grabs the bull by the horns. Living by their slogan “No bull. Just Whisky," Duncan Taylor distillery has truly made a man’s whiskey with the premium blend’s intense, yet smooth, flavor profile. As the mainstay in its core range of products, the 12 year offers everything to be desired in an everyday tipple.

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