It may not be fair, but Father’s Day just doesn’t wield the same moral imperative as Mother’s Day. Which explains how you got here: 48-hours out, and no gift for dad. But still, not a crisis, as long as you know about—and can get to—a clutch bottle of whiskey. Something trusty, unashamedly masculine, that demonstrates both taste and frugality. Something you can grab, if you must, on the trip out to see dad. Here’s our clutch list: three widely available bottles we’d be proud to give, and happy to receive.
Elijah Craig 18-Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon
For the man who appreciates bold, rich, and full-flavored whiskey, the oldest single barrel bourbon on the market can’t miss. Named for the 18th century Baptist preacher often credited with inventing bourbon, Elijah Craig is a flagship brand from the historic Heaven Hill distillery. Doesn’t hurt that the 18-year expression is bottled from barrels personally selected by father and son distilling team Parker and Craig Beam (if you’re looking for a cool Father’s Day tie-in). Neither does that $40 price tag.
Oban 14-Year Old Single Malt Scotch
If dad is a Scotch drinker, he’s no doubt familiar with Oban (the smooth, classic tipple from the western highlands, where maritime air and highland peat season the sweet with subtle, drying smoke). He may also know that a bottle of it is sort of like Abbey Road-era Beatles: easy to like, rewards critical examination, and never out of style. Neither too sweet nor too smoky, Oban is a true all-occasion malt; you don’t need to know dad’s palate to gift with confidence. Versatility and price ($65) make it a true clutch whiskey.
Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye, 19th Century Style
San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Co. produces a range of historic whiskies, including this malted rye, an attempt to recreate what they call “the original whiskey of America.” Rye was the preferred grain for our first distillers—and malting it was a necessity before the advent of artificially produced enzymes. The use of 100% rye malt gives Old Potrero a distinctive and powerful character. So does aging it in toasted barrels (charred barrels were a later accident/innovation), which leaves the spirit full of fight, highlighting rye’s muscularity. For about $60, you’ll have a gift that’s distinctive, and unforgettable. Like a few dads we know.