My dad & I at Victoria Whisky Festival 2014. Courtesy of Jen Steele Photgraphy

My dad & I at Victoria Whisky Festival 2014. Courtesy of Jen Steele Photgraphy


With just a few days to go before Father’s Day, I’m sure many of you might be scrambling around for something to buy.

If you’re anything like me (sorry Dad!) you’ll possibly tend to do things a bit last minute. Unfortunately for me, I can’t send my dear Dad whisky (the lovely Canadian import authorities along with Royal Mail make that rather tricky for me) so I’ll hopefully have to suffice with raising a toast over Skype together.

For those of you with your fathers in closer geographical proximity, here’s my round-up of whiskies and whisky-related events that are coming up that you can surprise him with this Sunday.

And I hope for all of you lucky enough to share the day with your father that you raise a toast of some kind or another to say thanks for all that our dads do. Happy Father’s Day everyone!


World whiskies:

Overeem WhiskySo much is going on in this space now that it seems appropriate to lead with a few suggestions of whiskies outside of the more ‘traditional’ realm. Just this year, Sullivan’s Cove (from Tasmania) won World’s Best Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards for its French Oak cask, signalling a major step forward for some global superstars.

Unfortunately, that winner doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but there are a whole host of great world whiskies out there. I spoke to Jake Wallis-Simons in this piece for the Telegraph, and he’s put a fantastic selection at the end of the article on some world whiskies. To that, I’d definitely add the single cask releases coming out from Overeem as I’ve been really impressed with them (check out this review for more information).

GG Wine Cask MaturedNew arrivals:

The whisky world is forever launching new beauties to market, making the choices even more difficult for the whisky lover.

One, which I was lucky enough to have a sneak sample of up at the distillery, is the new release from Glen Garioch. It’s been fully matured for 15 years (distilled in 1998) in ex-Bordeaux wine barriques, and takes that lovely sticky big texture of Glen Garioch and ramps it up with big berry notes – I had no idea what it was when I tried it (they gave it to us blind) but I was excited to find out more. It’s been bottled at 48% and is non-chill filtered with a price tag of £100, available at specialist whisky shops this month.

The latest release from The Balvenie has also hit the shelves – the new 15 year old single barrel has been matured for its full lifetime in ex-oloroso sherry butts, something rare for the normally ex-bourbon, American oak focused company. I don’t tend to write about the brand on this site at the moment since I currently do ambassadorial work for them (I like to keep separate hats) so I’ll let the folks at The Whisky Exchange and the chaps at Caskstrength give you an insight into what it’s like.

And then, of course, there’s the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company, which always seem to have something new up their sleeves. They’ve recently released their first blended whisky and, while I’ve not tried it yet personally, I have been impressed with their previous single-cask releases and expect this to be up there in the quality stakes. Full details of the company’s releases are here.

Another classic you can't go wrong with...

Another classic you can’t go wrong with…

Can’t go wrong classics:

And, of course, there are always the classics if you want to stick to some great whiskies that are forever wonderful to go back and revisit.

I often get asked what is my ‘favourite’ whisky. To that, I have no answer; there are far too many that I love for me to pick just one. But I do often reply to that with a list of ones that are pretty much always in my cupboard…the classics if you will.

For me, this includes the salty smoky Talisker 10 (£33 at Waitrose); the unctuous sweet Glenmorangie 10 (currently a ridiculous £24 at Tesco); the rich, sweet and dry The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 (usually around £30-£35 at supermarkets); the nutty, dry and rich Yamazaki 12 (£45 at Ocado); and, the single pot still glory Redbreast 12 (£38 at TWE). I also continuously find myself surprised by the most ubiquitous of whiskies – Glenfiddich 12. I was given it in a blind tasting recently and was really taken aback at how much I (and, quite a few of us who also were given it blind) enjoyed it. It is really the classic of the classics. I put together this easy to use gift guide for Glenfiddich at Christmas, so check it out if you want a quick break down of some of that brand’s releases.

Booze n BluesEvents:

Bowmore: Oysters and Whisky: On the 17 June at London’s The Caledonian Club, you’ll find Bowmore hanging out with The Oyster Boys for a night of oyster shucking, whisky cocktails and whisky tasting. Take dad out for a night on the town in style in Belgravia. Tickets are £18 and include a goody bag on departure. Details and tickets here.

Booze ‘N’ Blues: This event looks superb, and comes just in time for a post-Father’s Day gift. On the 30 June and the 28 July, whisky ambassador king Colin Dunn will bring his rhythm and blues band and some cracking whiskies to the Tooting Tram & Social in London. Tickets are £25 and include five whiskies, music and a tasting led by the fabulous Mr Dunn. Get details and tickets.

Rococo Chocolates and Whisky: Okay, so this is one I’ll be at so this is a bit of self-promotion, but why not do some forward planning and book in to come join me and the brilliant chocolatiers at Rococo Chocolates on the 17 July in London for a whisky and chocolate tasting to remember. These guys make seriously decadent chocolate while I’ll be bringing along some fabulous whiskies so we’ll have fun exploring both worlds. Details on how to get tickets here.

The Whisky Lounge Festivals: The team over at The Whisky Lounge put on relaxed, fun festivals around the country (see my video round-up of London’s May festival here). They currently have tickets on sale for festivals in Liverpool, York and Manchester for the autumn, tickets for which make for a great day out to pencil in now and look forward to. Details can be found on their site.

TWE Whisky Show: By far one of the biggest festivals in Europe with an ever-expanding array of offerings, the Whisky Exchange Show in October never fails to disappoint. They’re running a Father’s Day special, which includes tickets plus a bottle of whisky and a nice glass thrown in, so now’s the time to book if you’re wanting to come along! Details here.