A nice bottle of whiskey (or whisky) is a classic dad gift for a reason. Every bottle of bourbon, scotch, or rye tells a story — a story of ingredients, of process, of time, of land. Well chosen, a bottle of whiskey speaks to a dad’s taste and style, sure, but also reflects how his palate has changed. Maybe he used to be a whiskey and coke man but now, with more time to sit and relax, he prefers to sip a well-aged scotch. Or maybe you just want to treat dad to something a bit more expensive than he normally buys himself. Either way, if you’re searching for the best whiskey for a first-time father or an experienced dad, you’ll surely find it below. Representing a variety of prices and styles, there’s a bottle here for dads of every style.
Two-hundred years into its vaunted history as an excellent, affordable whiskey, Buffalo Trace still boasts hints of vanilla, toffee, mint and molasses. Smooth on the surface, but with great depth, as notes of brown sugar and spice evolve into oak, toffee, and anise. It punches well above its price point.
Jefferson's isn't afraid of experimentation — their ocean-aged bourbon, which develops in barrels aboard their ship out at sea is probably the best example of their seriously playful approach to production — and this handcrafted mix of four bourbons delivers approachable, light hints of vanilla, fruit and caramel. This affordable whiskey from a premium brand is a great place to start.
Rye is the elder statesman of American whiskey, its founding spirit. Still made from American rye grains, each bottle is aged in a single barrel, offering one of the best and most affordable ryes out there. With hints of nut, mocha, and leather, and a dry finish.
The newcomer Australian label Starward has only been available in the U.S. for a little over a year, so you may not have seen it on shelves yet. But their initial release, Nova, is one worth searching out. Aged for two years in Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir barrels, it’s a treat dad will dig. It's less fruit-forward than one would expect, with notes of oak, cherry, honey and a whiff of vanilla.
This Islay single malt whisky may only be aged for five short years in in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, but it’s a punchy spirit perfect for dad’s who love a good dose of smoke. WeeBeastie, named as such because it’s a peat monster, is deeply flavorful for such a young whisky. Big notes of cocoa lead the mouth to a smoked, meaty note that’s hard to forget, followed by a pop of the medicinal flavors Islay Scotch is known for, all of which return to perform lengthy encore on the finish.
First launched as a limited offering late last year, Knob Creek 12 Year is now a permanent fixture in the brand’s core range and we are totally stoked. It’s fast become one of our favorites. This bourbon, as it’s age statement would suggest, lingers in the barrel for three years longer than original Knob Creek and the resulting whiskey is righteous. Mature with big notes of warm smoke, it’s a bit spicier than the original with a rich fruity undercurrent beneath the brand’s traditional vanilla and caramel flavors.
This Speyside icon is a classic gift that will be sure to bring a smile to any Scotch-drinking dad’s face, The whisky ages for a dozen years in Spanish Sherry casks sourced from bodegas in Jerez giving it lovely notes of oak, fruit, and spice as well as a sweetness that makes it eminently approachable, even for whisky noobs.
For the dad that’s into the burgeoning American single malt scene, we like Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Single Malt. It’s a four-year-old whiskey that gets transferred to 40-year-old Oloroso sherry casks for an additional spell. The result is rich, flavorful drink with a fruity sweetness that balances nicely with flavors of salt and leather.
Once an under the radar bottle, Henry McKenna Single Barrel is now one most bourbon aficionados look for. If your dad is a fan of the Kentucky spirit and you can find a bottle, he will certainly be stoked. It spends 10 years in oak and is bottled at 100 proof, which makes it rich and flavorful with a long finish that beckons another glass.
If your dad favors the Irish, this single malt spends its first 14 years in ex-bourbon casks and then completes the aging process Oloroso sherry wood. The result is a deliciously balanced dram with nutty notes and a fruity sweetness that pops will dig.
If someone is looking to share a gift with us, GlenDronach 15 is a bottle we’d love to see a bow on. Back after a five-year absence, the GlenDronach 15, aged in sherry casks from Andalucía, delivers refined notes of dark fruit, dark chocolate and manuka honey, with a finish that keeps you cozy well into the night.
Glenmorangie Signet is a real treat. A deep amber in color, the whisky is beautifully complex thanks in part to the roasted chocolate barley used in the distilling process. After a lengthy time maturing in virgin American oak, the result is flawless and like all great whisky there is something new to discover in every dram.