From fine wines and spirits, to beer and gift sets, Sam Wylie-Harris rounds up the best bottles to snap up this Father’s Day.
Dads aren’t always the easiest to please. But if you tailor a tipple to suit his taste, add just the right measure of thoughtfulness and stir in some love, chances are you’ll be off to a flying start.
Whether you go for the vintage of a decade – after all, a fine wine is the badge of a fine man – some frothy bubbles or bloomin’ good beer, there’s plenty to choose from in the elbow-bending gifts department.
Take your pick from one of these 10 top drops…
1. Salcombe Brewery Presentation Gift Set, 4 x mixed 50cl bottles, £9, Salcombe Brewery
When it’s time to charge your glasses and cheer for a beer, this four-bottle presentation pack offers the best this seaside brewery has to offer, with Salcombe’s Devon Amber, a classic best bitter; Seahorse, a smooth ale with a spicy hoppy profile; their fruity and refreshing Shingle Bay and Lifesaver, a malty flavoured bronze ale with a citrusy finish.
2. Beer Hawk Cheers Dad Beer Box, £20, Beer Hawk
Brew Hawk have his taste in craft beer covered with this brilliant box of tricks, featuring leading lights from the UK’s beer scene. There’s Thornbridge Brewery’s Lukas – a crisp Bavarian-style Helles lager, Magic Rock Brewing’s Saucery – an IPA packed full of tropical fruits, Camden Town Brewery’s Hells – cited as one the best craft lagers in the world, Tiny Rebel Brewing’s Clwb Tropica IPA (a big hit with the guys at Beer Hawk) and Wild Beer Co’s Pogo to leave him jumping for joy. They’ve also thrown in a beer snack and branded craft beer glass.
3. Taittinger Brut NV Champagne & Glasses Gift Set, £50, John Lewis
If a glass of bubbly brings a sparkle to his eye, Taittinger’s signature style will delight the most discerning dads. Made with 40 per cent chardonnay, their Brut Reserve reflects the house’s chardonnay dominant style and its bottle age (more than twice the minimum) gives depth, complexity and seduces with those beguiling, biscuity florals, creamy palate of fresh citrus fruits and delicate, clean finish.
4. Chateau La Clariere and Accessories Gift Set, £35, Laithwaite’s
A claret fit for a king, this precious cargo contains an award-winning Bordeaux from a blockbuster vintage – 2016 is on a par with 2005, 2009 and 2010 – and while it’s ready to drink now, this age-worthy vintage will reward with cellaring. But if he can’t wait, expect gloriously ripe blackberry and vanilla spiced fruits, laced with cassis, silky tannins, power and – tellingly – concentration.
5. Domaine des Tourelles Carignan 2018, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, £17.99, Flagship Wines
Adventurous dads will be blown away by this Lebanese jewel, setting the taste-buds alight through a 50-year-old block of gnarled carignan vines to yield a rich, exotic wine with ripe fig, cranberry and raspberry enhanced by hints of warm spice, liquorice and dates, rounded by smooth tannins, a cherry stone acidity and Mediterranean freshness on the finish. A first-rate red from one of the country’s most celebrated wineries.
6. Rock Rose Gin Gift Set, £50, Dunnet Bay Distillers
If gin is his thing, check out this award-winning Scottish brand. Made with crystal clear Highland water, the majority of the botanicals are from the rocky cliffs along the Caithness coastline with special shrub star sea buckthorn – for its juicy orange berries rich in vitamin C – and juniper berries sourced from Bulgaria and Italy. The result? A full bodied, rounded gin with a crisp, bright, citrus finish and versatile enough to mix in a martini.
7. Monkey 47 Shwarzwald Dry Gin, 50cl, £35.89, Amazon
A German gin to make him giddy with excitement, Monkey 47 is a riot of 47 botanicals (hence the name) and the result is a very complex grown-up gin from the Black Forest, that also happens to be bottled at 47 per cent abv. Bartenders love it for its bold flavour, and its extensive range of aromas and fascinating palate makes it the ideal cocktail candidate for exotic concoctions, yet it works just as well in a classic G&T.
8. Spirited Union Spice & Sea Salt Rum, 70cl, £37.95, Master of Malt
Rum is enjoying a revival and to channel the warmth of the Caribbean sun, not to mention a taste of the region’s sweet-spicy cuisine, he’ll love putting his feet up and settling into this cask-aged Barbados rum. Here, Anana salt (prized by gourmands) plays a pivotal role and complements the sweet, spicy notes of this deliciously decadent dark rum.
9. Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 70cl, £24.99, Amazon
King of the cocktails, the Old Fashioned is arguably the world’s most popular classic – and Bourbon the quintessentially American spirit. By definition, it needs to be made from at least 51 per cent corn, so the more corn the sweeter – Rebel Yell contains a bumper crop from the Bluegrass State. With 68 per cent corn and 20 per cent wheat topped with malted barley, the result is a superbly smooth whiskey finished in French oak with dark fruits, spice, ginger, chocolate and perfectly judged sweetness.
10. The Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood, 70cl, £39.95, The Whisky Exchange
Why not double dad’s pleasure with a ‘doublewood’ whisky matured in two distinct casks? A Speyside single malt, if he has a nose for the finer things in life, as soon as he pulls the stopper he’ll appreciate the warm, woody, spicy notes that draw you in. Matured in American oak ex bourbon barrels and finished in sherry casks, it’s rich and complex with warming layers of vanilla spice, honeyed fruits, a nutty sweetness and long, spicy, spellbinding finish.