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Choosing the Best Whisky for the Best Dad

Arkwrights’ Fran Thomas on the best whiskies to present your dad with this Father’s Day
Smooth, spicy, malty and oaky with the complexity often found in older whiskies that results in a contemplative dram to ponder the meaning of life over...

Whisky is for sharing (unless it’s my Highland Park 30 year old of course) and if, like me, it was your Dad who introduced you to the amber nectar then it’s only fitting that you should sit down and share a dram with him this Father’s Day – possibly with a whisky that is new to him and certainly with one that you can both enjoy! 

The range of whiskies available has expanded rapidly over recent years but here are a few suggestions for drams to share with your Dad, drawn from both old and new favourites that we and our customers are currently enjoying.

Starting off at the lighter end of the spectrum, Arran whisky hails from the island of the same name just off the west coast of Scotland.

Small but perfectly formed, the distillery was established in 1994 and is famous for the eagles resident on the adjacent mountain. The whisky is characteristically fruity, floral and spicy with a well balanced creamy sweetness and a hint of green apple, but varying maturation cask types and ageing periods influence the spirit in different ways. The perennially popular 14 year old is matured in both sherry and bourbon casks and this results in a beautiful, rich mouth-filling dram in which flavours of vanilla, spice, caramelised stewed fruit and custard are all evident.

For a richer-flavoured whisky then it’s worth considering one that has been matured in sherry cask, where the tannic European oak and the previous incumbent of the cask combine to give the ‘fruit cake’ flavours that are irresistible to many.

Not available until recently in the UK, the Glenfarclas 17 year old has just landed with us.

One of the few distilleries that matures its whisky completely in sherry casks (an expensive business nowadays as the cost of the casks is prohibitive) this example is smooth, spicy, malty and oaky with the complexity often found in older whiskies that results in a contemplative dram to ponder the meaning of life over.

If your Dad likes a touch of peat tang to his whisky then go for the rich, smooth and subtly smoky Fettercairn Fior.

This Highland distillery is owned by Whyte and Mackay and, whilst it may not be as famous as its stable companions Dalmore and Jura, the joyous cacophony of dark chocolate, coffee beans, peat smoke, nutmeg, citrus and truffle found in this malt is constantly winning it new fans.

Or for a hit of peat from the ‘whisky island’ of Islay try something from the Kilchoman Distillery.

This farm size distillery was only set up in 2005 but from the moment I first tasted their new make spirit I thought ‘This is going to be one to watch’. Sure enough, nearly 10 years on the whisky has developed into a delicious sweet yet smoky whisky which has a character all of its own. This is shown to great effect in their 100% Islay bottling, particularly as from the growing of the barley right through to the bottling of the whisky all processes are carried out at Kilchoman. With a peaty, fruit and custard aroma and a palate of creamy lemon and lime combined with smoke this is a fresh and delightful whisky.

Whether you select one of the whiskies above or one from the many other excellent bottlings now available not just from Scotland but many other parts of the world the main thing is to share and enjoy – Sláinte!

- Fran Thomas, Arkwrights