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Finding the Perfect Father's Day Spirit Gift

Jack Bettridge
Posted: June 8, 2012

(continued from page 1)

But American whiskey doesn’t have to be all that old. Consider brilliant expressions like the Small Batch collection (including Knob Creek and Booker’s), Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed, Woodford, such single barrels as Blanton’s, Evan Williams and Four Roses, as well as Eagle Rare.

Most single-malt Scotch starts out at between 10- and 12-years-old, but most familiar brands—like Dalmore, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Highland Park, Laphroaig, Macallan, are also tricked out to such levels as 18, 21, 25 and even 30 years.

Irish (e.g. Jameson’s) and Canadian (like Crown Royal and Canadian Club) whiskeys have similarly extra aged choices. Cognacs and Armagnacs come in VS and VSOP varieties, but become exquisite at the XO levels.

If you’re going berserk about establishing your claim as the favorite child consider such outstanding brandies as Louis XIII, Ricard Hennessy or L'Essence de Courvoisier, but expect to bring several thousand dollars in your open wallet. The oldest of the old in Scotch—40 to 60 years—are more extravagant, and you'll likely have to haunt auctions to find them.

Then again, age isn’t everything, and you could mine the many exquisite whiskies that creating magic simply by their interesting aging techniques. Glenmorangie has been the leader in using novel types of barrels (those that have previously used to age liquids other than the typical Bourbon) to finish its spirits. However, many other makers have taken up the banner.

If you're looking at clear choices—gin and vodka—it isn't always as transparent what counts as quality as they are generally unaged. Nevertheless, most brands will give you the chance to make Dad feel more special with a gloss of extra premiumness: like Bombay's Sapphire gin, Tanqueray's No. 10, Stolichnaya's Elit or even Maestro Dobel, if Tequila is in order. Vodka is practically well represented in the sense of big, beautiful bottles, like those from Grey Goose, Belvedere and Ciroc.

Of course, you can simply find a bottle that comes in a gift package. Ones that are personalized will probably remain on Dad's bar longer and become a constant reminder of your largess. Crown Royal will stitch your message onto the familiar purple cloth bag that its Canadian whisky comes in. You're probably already familiar with Johnnie Walker's pitch for etching the side of its top-of-the-line Blue Label. The idea is that those who can't bring themselves to tell their father in so many words that they love him may feel more comfortable about engraving it in glass. My kids tell me that all the time—but I still wouldn't mind them signifying their love with a fifth of Blue.

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