June 2010 Archives

With Father's day arriving this Sunday, perhaps you are like me and have yet to purchase a gift for the man who sired you. Well, if he's a single malt fan, or appreciates whisky in general, then here are six whiskies that I feel both fit the season and the occasion.

As is my custom, I have taken the time to roll through the LCBO's aggravating website to ensure that all bottles are in reasonable supply to save you some hassle.

Isle of Arran Robert Burns Single Malt Nicely priced at $41.95, this light, playful whisky delivers the pleasant notes of apple and vanilla with a hint of citrus. Ideal for those not enamoured with the rich peat or smoke elements that are often associated with Scotch whisky.

Speyburn 10 Year Old $47.05 is a fair price for this Highland malt. The butter cream and toffee elements will entice while its mild heat and quick finish render it a fine dram for the hot summer months.

Auchentoshan 12 Year Old More appropriate for the seasoned Scotch drinker, the upside is that $48.05 will not break the bank. A heady mix of salt and iodine with toffee and almonds combined with a fair bit of heat ensures that this whisky will challenge all but the most weathered palates. That said, if your dad likes a rough Scotch, this is the one for him.

Isle of Arran 12 Year Old Murray McDavid Margaux Finish $84 is well spent on this limited run independent bottling. Delightful notes of apricots, cognac, and red wine with a dry, lingering finish make this whisky an excellent one for late night summer conversations on the deck or the dock. The fact that the limited run means that there were only 3,000 bottles produced also enhances its value as a gift. There is but one caveat, you will have to order it online through the LCBO's Vintages service here, and present your dad with the receipt for the time being. Certainly gift worthy nonetheless.

Aberlour a'bunadh While difficult to pronounce, it is easy to find right now. Its $92.95 price tag may seem high until you realize that its 59.7% ABV cask strength means that it should be consumed with a splash of water, which translates into a bottle that will have considerable stamina on the shelf. Deep red in colour with flavours of cloves, nutmeg, red apples and brown sugar mean that this single malt will easily stand up to the flavours and aromas of the barbecue, while its shelf life should see it through to Christmas where this flavour profile will again be well suited.

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old Unfairly priced at $169.95 for those of us residing in Ontario (given that it can be bought at Gatwick Airport in England on a flight home for $64), solace can be found in the fact that this is a truly fantastic single malt worthy of a gift to your father. Butterscotch, vanilla, and a pleasant nuttiness lead the flavour profile while hints of mint dance through the remarkable cooling, dry finish. A perfect malt at any time of year, but especially now in the summer. If you have the $170 to spend, then forgive my whinging about price, and just buy this bottle for your dad as it is impossible not to enjoy it!

So there you have it. My recommendations for this father's day's last minute whisky shopping. For more recommendations you can find my Christmas Gift Guide here, although not everything listed is still available, so be warned. As usual, links to the full reviews are embedded in the titles of the whiskies, and as always, we welcome your feedback on this or any other article.

Happy gift buying!

IS-Arran-96-MM.JPGFounded in 1995, this expression started out life as one of Isle of Aaran's first whiskies, with Murray McDavid (aka Bruichladdich) providing a limited independent bottling of the 1996 cask, aged for 12 years and finished in Chateau Margaux casks. Being one of a run of 1,500 bottles it is pleasure to have been able to find this through extensive sleuthing at the LCBO.

Nose: The bright colour foreshadows the apricot and dark caramel which prevail. With a hint of citrus, rich floral red wine notes and a hint of cognac, the well rounded nose closes with whisp of mint.

Palate: A pleasant smooth, viscous mouthfeel is present both when consumed neat or with a splash of water, but I would recommend that splash to tone down the ample heat provided by this 46% abv dram. Flavours abound with marmalade, allspice, full bodied ripe fruit, and raisins taking centre stage. The roast of the malt arrives early with a nice mustiness of oak, while the wine notes appear late.

Finish: Delightfully dry, with fruit notes lingering on the sides of the tongue, apricot, cognac and wine elements stay around long into the finish.

Overall: A solid value at $84, this single malt is likely best suited as an aperatif where its long, lazy finish and rich fruit notes will be allowed to play out to full effect. This is not a whisky to rush through and I would advise that it be consumed over a slow conversation on the back deck during a warm summer's eve. All in all, very much worth seeking out!

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Recent Comments

  • Ryan commented on Old Pulteney 12 Year Old:

    One of our favourites for sure!
    Personally, I'm always a little sad when I finish a bottle of Old Pulteney.
    I've got a Gordon & MacPhail bottling of 21 year old OP that is simply magical. The standard OP 21 was named Whisky of the Year in 2012 but this one is less sweet and more refined IMO. Matured in a re-fill bourbon barrel, it's loaded with peach, tropical fruits, beeswax and honey, ending with milk chocolate tones and a hint of brine...and now I'm salivating.

  • Blair Conrad commented on Old Pulteney 12 Year Old:

    I buy this whisky over and over again. Best value out there.

  • Gerald Eddy commented on McClelland's Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Islay:

    I've read many reviews if this whiskey that condemn it as an unfavorable dram. I agree that as a peated Islay it can't compare to a Laphroig or an Ardbeg. However, despite the lack of complexities of those great single malts, at a third if the cost it will do nicely if your a Scotch whiskey drinker. It is a bit sweet, but it has peaty overtone to their other malts and has a nice vanilla and banana flavor as well. No...it's not a great whiskey, but it is palatable on a budget and is better then a lot if blends at a lower price. I would rather spend my money on this the a Johnny Walker Red which lacks any complexity and is far overrated.

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