Whisky is a popular Father's Day gift, but buying it can be daunting experience if you don't know about whisky, especially if you buy it rarely. The big question is, which of the vast array of bottles on the shelf is the right one to choose? Here is our quick guide to help you buy the correct present for your dad.
You don't need to know lots about whisky in order to buy something good. What is important is what your father would like instead, be it light, rich, sweet or smoky? You may know a brand that he likes and can get help selecting something similar. Also consider if you want a famous brand or something less well known.
Your budget is important - single malt whiskies start around £25 for a 70cl bottle, while blended whiskies can start for as little as £10 for a supermarket home brand. There are whiskies to fit any budget, including those costing hundreds or thousands of pounds. There are many places to buy whisky, so let's look at your choices...
Specialist retailers offer a wide range of whiskies and have knowledgeable staff that can explain the differences between these whiskies and offer advice. These shops can appear daunting, but if you consider the points above they will be able to recommend you some great whiskies.
Supermarkets sell a core range of the most popular products, but many companies have cut back on specialist wine and spirit staff recently. The larger chains have expanded their ranges to give more choice. If you are struggling, read the labels as most brands now print basic tasting notes on their packaging.
The internet has an ever expanding number of places to buy whisky - some are online specialists, others are websites of the specialist whisky retailers or supermarkets. Some have helpful tasting notes, include customer reviews and distillery facts to help you make your choice.
My five whiskies for Father's Day
Up to £30 - Balvenie 12 years old 'DoubleWood'
This single malt is the whisky that got me interested in whisky. It is widely available and the nose is full of rich, sweet dried fruits combined with vanilla, coconut, caramel and honey. The palate is so soft and mellow with the glorious dried fruity sweetness again, plus malty cereals, almonds, orange zest and hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is long, rich and delicious. An excellent whisky, which offers great complexity and value for money.
£30-40 - Penderyn Madeira Finish
There are many whiskies in this price bracket, but how about something non-Scottish? Penderyn is a single malt whisky from the only Welsh distillery. The nose is light and vibrant with vanilla, honey, fresh green apple, cereals and dried fruits. The palate feels creamy and velvety with cinnamon, toffee, vanilla, green fruit and almond notes. The finish is decently long and refreshing, with an enjoyable sugary sweetness combining with cinnamon. Delicious and leaves you wanting another glass.
£40-50 - Lagavulin 16 years old
This single malt whisky from the famous whisky island of Islay is a great example of the smoky, peaty style. It is a worldwide favourite. The nose offers a complex mix of sweet earthy smoke, oak, leather, vanilla and dried fruit. There are other aromas of lapsang souchong tea and clove. The palate is creamy, full and oily with a bonfire-like smokiness and sweet vanilla, plus hints of salt and menthol. The finish is long and dry with plenty of powerful peaty smokiness. A classic.
£50-100 - Glenmorangie 18 years old
The famous distillery of Glenmorangie releases relatively small amounts of this wonderful whisky. The nose is tempts you with aromas of tropical fruit, vanilla, honey and lemon zest. The palate feels rich yet refreshing, with a heady mix of caramel, honey, vanilla, dried fruit and tropical fruit notes. There is a hint of nutmeg spice too. The finish is wonderful with the sweetness turning slightly drier towards the end. Any dad would be pleased to get this whisky.
£100 upwards - Glenfarclas 40 years old
If you fancy splashing the cash and spending about £350, then this old whisky is a stunner. The nose is intense with aromas of sweet toffee and dried fruits mixing with treacle and chocolate. The rich palate is vibrant for a whisky of this age. Wood spices, ginger and nutmeg are followed by raisins, prunes, candied orange peel, butterscotch and brown sugar. The finish is long and lingering with plenty of dried fruits and spices. The combination is superb.