No one apart from Hallmark actually cares about Father’s Day. It’s on the calendar as a toothless Title IX quid pro quo so that dads don’t whine about Mother’s Day.
But that’s okay, according to the way the patriarchy has it set up, we men have it easier than our female counterparts. So we expect less money and time to be spent on us. So give us a bottle of whisky and let’s move on.
Hang on one tiny second, though. As you hand us the strong brown stuff we use to impress our friends over summer evening cookouts, just be aware that whisky has meaning. Here are five bottles you might hand over, and what you’d be saying if you did.
‘Dad, please be a little hipper, and a little more sober.’
Virginia Black, American Whiskey, about $40
Drake released a sipping bourbon on June 1. Keep up, grandpa, he’s a rapper! The whiskey is called Virginia Black, though it’s brown and from Indiana. It has a slightly lower alcohol content than most similar whiskies, is quite mellow and is good for mixing. So if you are sipping on a nice VB Whisky Smash you are likely to be able to hold forth on the current state of smooth rap without even slurring your words.
‘Dad, please could you earn more so we can all appreciate the good things in life?’
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Single Malt Scotch, about $90
On first sip this has a pungent sharp caramel twist. Then, as it lingers on the palate, a buzz of smoke drifts across a savory toffee texture with a suggestion that someone is barbecuing kosher steaks in the background. Which is to say that this single malt from Islay is less peaty than some of its brethren, deeply delicious, and ideal for developing a dad’s palate. But, if you like it, you’ll need plenty of Franklins around, since it’s a Benjy a bottle.
‘Dad, we know you love to argue about Israel, we understand that this may be fuel to the fire, but maybe it’ll make you drink more, argue less.’
Golan Heights, Two Grain Blend, Aged up to 12 months, on pre-order
Golan Heights distillery beat Milk and Honey to market by making spirits that require less aging. I’m going to be talking to both distilleries in the next few weeks, but there’s plenty of politics to argue about even before we get to taste the whisky.
‘Dad, put down your general tso’s chicken and try this.’
Glendronach Revival, Aged 15 years, about $100
Aged in sherry casks this single malt has a tangy sweetness that starts off as a sort of dried apricot-like tagine and then splits into a fruity (craisin-y) top palate and a most excellent debauched-evening ashtray of a lower palate. In tasting this with the production team we agreed that the sweet, sourness of it was reminiscent of A1 sauce or perhaps a far more complex, yummy General Tso. This is both aspirational (better a beautiful bottle than a take-out container on the table) and also healthy — say goodbye to that paunch, there are no carbs in Scotch.
‘Dad, you are pretty superficial.’
Bowmore Single Malt Scotch, small batch, about $40
You want to have a single malt on the shelf. This is from a good distiller and aged in bourbon casks. Should be pretty kosher, right? Wrong, it’s the equivalent of those leather bound books placed for decor on the shelf at restaurants. It’s a young single malt that just doesn’t get it right. It’s brackish with notes of turpentine. One review said that it has a flavor of iodine. Sounds possible. With a gorgeous golden color and clean bottle design, this is perfect if you want to leave it on the shelf, not so good to drink.
Dan Friedman is the Forward’s whisky correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @danfriedmanme
Catch his report later this week from Wednesday’s 5th annual Whisky Jewbilee. The event is sold out, but he promises to try to capture the spirit (as it were) so you don’t miss out.
And he’ll be talking about Jews and Whisky at the JCC in Manhattan, for Shabbat Shabbang on Friday June 17. Food, whisky and fine conversation (at least after the whisky!) for $18.