Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Father's Day Gifting - Our Top 5 Spirits

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post Uk on 7/6/17.

Father’s Day is fast approaching on June 18 and spirits are always a good present on the day. Here I pick five of my favourite spirits from around the world that offer something a little different for the special day and hope that it gives you a few ideas.


40% ABV, £35.
Belvedere is crafted in Poland and is regarded as the world’s first luxury vodka. It is also regarded as one of the purest and is made exclusively using Dankowskie rye. The bottle features the Belweder, the Polish presidential palace, after which the vodka is named.

This vodka has a lovely creamy softness with a hint of fresh citrus and bittersweet cereals. It is great when taken cold and straight from the fridge, but really comes to life when mixed. My choice is great for the Summer – the Belvedere Spritz – a refreshing mix of Belvedere, Lillet Blanc, tonic and soda water, plus a slice of pink grapefruit and sprig of rosemary for garnish.

Glenmorangie Original
40% ABV, £40.
Glenmorangie is one of the best known names in Scotch whisky and the north Highland single malt is great for a gift. Glenmorangie is a particularly good choice if your Dad is a golfer or golf fan, as the brand once again are sponsoring The Open championship at Royal Birkdale in July.

The Original is bottled at 10 years of age and is all matured in ex-bourbon casks that are only ever used twice. This gives wonderful aromas and flavours of vanilla and honey to Glenmorangie’s light and delicate spirit. Add to that some lovely notes of green fruit, lemon zest and a pinch of baking spice and cocoa. One of the world’s classic single malts.

Balcones Baby Blue 
46% ABV, £80.
Balcones, the whisky distiller at the forefront of the fledgling Texas craft spirits movement, have a number of innovative whiskies in their portfolio. Almost the most unique of these is the Baby Blue. It was the first expression ever released by Balcones and is made from roasted blue corn.

The corn used in production gives the whisky a soft and slightly oily feel. This is accompanied by delicious aromas and flavours of toffee, butterscotch and vanilla, along with hints of cinnamon, almond and wood spice. This is the true taste of Texas that uses a special local ingredient. It is also perfect for the Dad that likes American whisky but wants to explore something different.

Ardbeg Kelpie 
46% ABV, £98.
For those Fathers that enjoy a smoky single malt, this limited edition from the cult Islay distillery of Ardbeg could be the answer. Just a few thousand bottles of this exist and it is a ‘must try’ for peaty whisky fans. Ardbeg, which has just celebrated its 200th anniversary, has a cult following of fans around the world.

The Kelpie, named after a mythical Gaelic beast that rises from the Atlantic Ocean, has been part-matured in Black Sea oak sourced from the Adyghe Republic in Russia. It offers a powerful hit of peppery acrid smoke that combines beautifully with honey, vanilla and hints of savoury notes such as tobacco leaf and leather.

Hennessy XO 
40% ABV, £140.
The famous Cognac house of Hennessy was the first to ever bottle a special XO (or Extra Old) expression in 1880 and they led the way for the luxury category that we know today. Now the 8th generation of the Fillioux family has crafted this gem using over 100 eaux de vies, some aged up to 40 years.

This exquisite Cognac has multiple layers of aroma and flavour, and the combination is very classy – sweet caramel, milk chocolate, dark dried fruits, delicate wood spices and toffee, plus hints of nuts and white pepper. Why not get your father to try the suggested serve for Hennessy XO – pour over some ice and it brings everything to a new level.

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