It’s that time of the year again!
Father’s Day comes but once a year and you know how much he loves whisky, but the choice can be overwhelming, so let us take you by the hand and explore some of our picks for 2016. We are aware that everybody has a budget so we have stuck to gifts that are £50 and under, more expensive whiskies are available but probably best waiting until a special birthday for them.
Kilchoman Machir Bay
This particular Islay whisky is named after one of the spectacular beaches that can be found around the island. One of the very first Kilchoman whiskies that soon became part of their core range. It is a dram made up of a high percentage of Ex-Bourbon matured whisky, complimented with whisky matured in Oloroso Sherry Butts.
A firm favourite here in the corner, it may be young but that doesn’t hold this whisky back, a balance of vanilla, smoke and rich fruitiness that leaves you wanting to recharge your glass, time after time.
What’s that I hear you cry? Another whisky from Islay’s youngest distillery? Well, yes, yes it is. The mirror image of Machir Bay is Saniag. Named after a small rocky inlet that lies North of the distillery, this is the latest release to join the core range.
The reason for including it here is to give balance, the Machir Bay uses a very high proportion of Bourbon barrels to create the whisky, while Sanaig is the opposite. Here the ratio of Sherry Butts to Bourbon barrels used is approximately 80/20. This gives this whisky a darker colour, more fruit and dark chocolate and a richness that is unmistakeably Sherry Butt influenced.
The Kilchoman Sanaig can also be found at specialist retailers and Master Of Malt stock this for just under £50. Find it here.
Ardmore 12 year old Port Wood Finish
Moving away from the whisky isle, and we find ourselves transported to the highlands of Scotland, in particular to Ardmore.
The distillery undertook a revamp a couple of years ago and one of the new whiskies to emerge was this. A 12 year old finished in Port Pipes.
We have used this in tastings throughout the year and it never fails to amaze the lucky tasters, with red apples and honey prominent along with the subtlest hint of charcoal smoke. It may be another peaty whisky but the Port Pipes impart a wonderful fruity wine like influence, you just need to try it yourself to see how good it is
Again this is a whisky from specialist shops, it can be found at The Whisky Exchange for £45.95, a steal in our opinion. Find it here.
SWIG Hip Flask – www.swigflasks.com
Sometimes you need to take your whisky out and about with you, a 70cl bottle can be cumbersome and very noticeable. What better way to take your favourite dram out and leave the bottle at home than using this marvellous Swig Hip flask. This flask is made from one piece of stainless steel, so no horrible join lines, and no chance of leakage. 170ml capacity (6oz), so large enough to share your dram with your friends and also a flat bottom to enable the filling of flask to be as simple as possible.
This is right on our budget at £49, however if you want a funky little jacket for your flask, then for an extra £10 a range of Harris Tweed protectors can be purchased.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd then bright orange or pink high quality leather pouches can be purchased, these are available at £69 (including flask) and will certainly make a statement. Find the Naked Flask here, the Harris range here and the Leather range here.
Teeling Single Grain Whiskey
Moving away from Malt whisky and moving away from Scotland at the same time can be a dangerous game to play but not if you land in Dublin at the home of Teeling Whiskey. The Brothers, Stephen and Jack, have brought distilling back to Dublin in a big way, with a new distillery now open for production and visitors alike.
One of their start up products and now part of their core range is this wonderful Single Grain Whiskey. Fully matured in Californian red wine barrels results in this whisky being intensely fruity with beautiful berry notes.
If you are a Malt or even a Scotch snob, then try this, it will open your mind to the wonderful world of Single Grains and World Whiskey, be warned though, you could travel a long way to find anything half as good as this.
A bargain at the low price of £37.45, available from The Whisky Exchange here.
anCnoc 12 year old
The final product on our gift guide and it’s back to Scotland, to the village of Knock in the Highlands and the Knockdhu distillery.
The entry level malts from distilleries can sometimes feel neglected and a necessity rather than a product to be proud of. That is certainly not the case here with the anCnoc 12 year old. A wonderful every day dram, deliciously spicy and warm, yet still complex enough to make you sit and think as you drink it. Gentle and comforting, once you meet, you will have a friend for life.
It’s a must have on your shelf and what’s more it can be found on some supermarket shelves enabling you to pick one up along with the cat food and Weetabix. Expect to pay no more than £35 for this, even lower and you should pick one up for yourself as well.
This concludes this years gift guide, it has been prepared by ourselves from our own personal tastes and is not endorsed by any distillery or online retailer mentioned in the article.