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Get Dad What He Really Wants for Father’s Day: Whiskey

Get Dad What He Really Wants for Father’s Day: Whiskey: Gene Danenhower

Gene Danenhower

A nice bottle of whiskey is a classic Father’s Day gift, but giving Dad the same old booze year in and year out just gets boring. Instead, try something new! Here are a few bottlings released in recent months that your dad (or you) might enjoy.


01 Glenmorangie

Photo courtesy of The Glenmorangie Distillery

GLENMORANGIE TÙSAIL SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ($99)
Single malt is of course made from malted barley, but you don’t often hear anything about what type of malted barley. Well, the latest addition to Glenmorangie’s annual Private Edition series was distilled from Marris Otter barley, an exceptionally flavorful variety that’s been mostly wiped out by more efficient strains. The resulting juice is sweeter than a typical Highland Scotch, with notes of toffee, almonds and ginger.


02 Highland-Park

Photo courtesy of Highland Park

HIGHLAND PARK ODIN SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ($350)
Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection is a series of four whiskies named for Norse gods, and this, the final member of the set, is appropriately the most powerful, named for the king of Asgard. It’s 55.8 percent alcohol, the highest-proof spirit the distillery has ever bottled, amping up Highland Park’s characteristic peaty smoke while adding some stone-fruit notes on the finish thanks to aging in sherry casks.


03 JB SC Harvest High Rye

Photo courtesy of Jim Beam Brands

JIM BEAM SIGNATURE CRAFT HIGH RYE BOURBON ($50 FOR 375 ML)
Bourbon is typically quite sweet and mellow, especially huge brands like Jim Beam, the world’s best-selling bourbon. But this limited-edition 11-year-old bottling from the venerable distiller shakes things up, putting a higher-than-normal proportion of rye into the mashbill, which gives it some lovely spice and depth, along with some very interesting tropical-fruit notes.


04 Woodford-Rye

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

WOODFORD RESERVE RYE WHISKEY ($38)
Back before Prohibition, rye whiskey was king, and then it very nearly disappeared from existence. But as old-timey cocktails have risen in popularity, so has the old-timey spicy whiskey style, and mainstream distillers are starting to get in on the party. Woodford Reserve’s entry is actually quite low in rye—just 53 percent of the mashbill (51 percent is the legal minimum)—which means it hews pretty closely in flavor to bourbon. But you’ll still get some nice black pepper and cinnamon notes, along with tart fruit and rich grain flavors.


05 Alberta

Photo courtesy of Alberta Distillers, Ltd

ALBERTA RYE DARK BATCH WHISKY ($30)
Don’t sleep on Canadian whisky. Many well-known brands are bland and cheap blends, but creative distillers across our northern border are making some excellent bottlings that you’ll see more of in the coming years. Case in point: Alberta Rye Dark Batch. It’s a groundbreaking mix of 91 percent rye whiskey, 8 percent bourbon and 1 percent sherry, aged in the heart of Canada’s rye-growing prairie provinces, where low humidity and wild temperature changes lead to an extra-fast aging process. The whisky tastes like dessert, with notes of pear, graham cracker and caramel.


06 The-Glenrothes

Photo courtesy of The Glenrothes Distillery

THE GLENROTHES SHERRY CASK RESERVE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ($60)
Most Scotch ages in used bourbon barrels, but recently whisky geeks have been going crazy for whisky that spent time in sherry casks, which are more expensive but offer bright acidity and fruitiness that’s very different from the norm. This brand-new bottling is The Glenrothes’ first that aged exclusively in sherry casks, and it has citrus and spice in spades, with lots of orange, ginger and vanilla notes.


07 The-Last-Drop

Photo courtesy of Last Drop Distillers

THE LAST DROP 1965 48 YEAR OLD ($4000)
Need to score a lot of points with Dad? Need to make up for that time you crashed his car in high school? Here’s your solution. Founded by an experienced group of spirits-industry professionals, The Last Drop seeks out dusty barrels of exceptionally old and rare whisky squirreled away in Scottish warehouses, combining them into one-of-a-kind blends. Their latest release is a mix of whiskies all distilled in 1965 or before, many of them from distilleries that have been shuttered for more than 30 years. In 1987, the already-aged spirits were combined and placed in former bourbon barrels for another 27 years of maturation. There are only 592 bottles available on Earth, and you’ve almost definitely never tasted anything this complex, with notes of smoke and green apple emerging above a deeply honeyed oakiness.


Jason Horn is Playboy.com’s spirits columnist. He lives in Los Angeles and you can follow him on Twitter @messyepicure.


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