Last year one of us got socks. They were novelty socks, so most would assume a great gift, but there are only so many occasions for which a man can wear bright orange socks with hula girls on them. The year before one of us got a t-shirt with “Best Dad Ever” scrawled on it with fabric markers by the kids, who, to be honest, really didn’t have the best handwriting at the time. Over the years we’ve also received a voltmeter (my kids wanted to get me a “tool” and thought it looked neat, but an electrician I’m not), and a small bag of golf tees that were exhausted mid-way through a game of 18. And, so it goes.

This year we’re taking matters into our own hands with a list of gifts that we really want. And coincidentally, all of them are the kind of gift to be enjoyed on cool summer night on the back porch. This year we want whiskey (or even whisky), and we’re pretty sure a lot of other dads out there do too. So to make the selection easier we’ve narrowed our list down to only nine choices: three each from bourbon, rye and Scotch. Sure, we’ll admit, this is a very self-serving list (because, after all, WE want them), but we’re confident this list might be helpful for you as well. We promise YOU’LL be happy with these gifts too, so definitely share with your own spouse (or adult children), and let’s hope you don’t get anymore socks! Happy Father’s Day!


Watershed Distillery Bourbon


This unique bourbon is made with the heritage grain, spelt. Spelt is some of the oldest “wheat” in the world, dating all the way back to biblical times. It’s usually ground for specialty stores and artisanal bakeries, but Watershed decided to add it to their small batch bourbon’s grain bill, and it gives it a unique taste unlike any other small batch (or large batch) bourbon on the market. They age their bourbon in small barrels (10 and 30 gallons each) for less than two years, but this doesn’t mean the taste isn’t complex. The whiskey coats your mouth with rich flavors of vanilla, a little brown sugar and a bit of spice. According to Time out New York this is “One of the top bottles of All- American Whiskey.” SRP $49.99.

Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Bourbon


Treaty Oak was established in Austin, Texas in 2006, and then moved to the nearby Ghost Ranch in Dripping Springs in 2016 to provide more room for their production. They pride themselves on using locally sourced, heritage grains and make their bourbon completely on site (which includes aging). The grains – the corn, wheat and barley – are all grown in Texas and milled at nearby Barton Springs Mill by owner and retired conductor James Brown. The result of all this hard work and premium ingredients? A rich, full-bodied bourbon with notes of brown sugar and cinnamon. SRP $43.99

Booker’s Bourbon Shiny Barrel Batch


In 1987, Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s grandson, began doing small batch, straight from the barrel bottlings of particularly good whiskies. These he usually gave to close friends and family, or drank himself on fishing trips, but then in 1992 he finally introduced them to the market as Booker’s Bourbon. Each batch of Booker’s comes from particularly good barrels, is uncut and unfiltered, and has a barrel-strength proof (124 ABV in this batch), but the flavor is unlike any bourbon you’ve ever had. Each bottle also tells a story. This batch, the “Shiny Barrel Batch” is named after an old distilling tradition of distillery workers sneaking a drink from the really good barrels, which they’d clean up until they shine so they knew which one it was. The nose on this bourbon is sweet with rich vanilla notes. SRP $79.99.


Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve RyeBasil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye


While most rye whiskeys are spicy, with organic, grassy flavors, Basil Hayden’s newest offering breaks these conventions to deliver a rye whiskey unlike any other. Not afraid to collaborate and find unique combinations of its spirits, Basil Hayden has blended an 8-year old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey with a 4-year old Canadian Rye Whisky, and then finished it with Black Strap Rum. The combination of the peppery Kentucky Straight Rye with the sweeter Canadian already adds layers of complexity to this whiskey, but then when it’s blended with the sweet, dark rum, it enters a class all to its own. The result is a delicious blend of sweet and spicy, balanced so magnificently with earthy flavors, anise, caramel and vanilla. SRP $44.99.

Traverse City Whiskey North Coast Rye


Michigan isn’t the first place you think of when you think of a good rye whiskey, but despite the cold winters, Traverse City Michigan is turning out some pretty amazing products at Traverse City Whiskey Company. Though only producing since 2015, they’ve been around since about 2012 (they were finishing products from other distillers), but in their short time they’ve proven they can make a pretty amazing spirit. And that goes double for their rye whiskey. Their North Coast Rye has a buttery nose with a bit of molasses and a medium-bodied finish. This is a great rye whiskey that’s perfect for blending or straight on a hot day. SRP $39.99.

Heaven’s Door Straight Rye Whiskey


Marc Bushala, co-founder of Angel’s Envy, the whiskey-industry disrupting distillery that helped usher in the bourbon renaissance, teamed up with Rock Legend Bob Dylan to found Heaven’s Door. While they’re making some great bourbons already, they’re also making an amazing rye whiskey that lovers of this spicy drink will love. This blend of three ryes is aged in toasted oak “cigar” barrels from France. Cigar barrels are shaped more like a cigar than typical whiskey barrels, giving the whiskey more surface in which to age. The result is a light, grassy rye with a soft finish. This rye won a gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition – so I’m sure you’ll love it! SRP $80.00.


Craigellachie 13 Year Old


In the Scotch category our first choice is an offering form Craigellachie, a distillery with a history that stretches back to 1891. They typically only release a few, very select bottlings, so you can bet they’re good when they are offered. This 13-year old is no different. It’s a very smooth, very mellow, very drinkable Speyside single malt. Typically, Speyside’s are on the lighter side of whisky, but the Craigellachie (which is as much fun to say as it looks), is spicier, smokier and slightly sweeter than most other Speysides you’ll find. This is a great Scotch for an evening around the grill! SRP $60.99.

BenRiach 25 Year Old


Originally opened in 1898, the BenRiach distillery has been making award-winning Scotch for decades. Aged in three different oak types, oloroso (sherry), bourbon, and virgin, this particular single malt Scotch (also a Speyside) was awarded the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The blend of some of their finest whiskies gives this Scotch a complex combination of fruit, coffee, malt and just a hint of spice. The finish is long and lingering, coating your mouth with a smooth combination of toffee and slight citrus. SRP $169.99

Laphroaig 28 Year Old


We saved the best for last: Laphroaig’s 28-year old single malt Scotch! This is an Islay Scotch, meaning it is distinctly peaty and salty. Blended from a combination of their finest whiskies, Laphroaig ages this limited edition offering in barrels of different sizes to give it a complexity that others simply don’t have. Then to top it off, they finish it for 12 months in sherry casks. The result is a HUGE tasting, full-bodied spirit with the typical Laphroaig smokiness combined with spices (like rosemary and thyme) and a slight fruitiness. There are also hints of vanilla and toffee. If you can find this whisky it is so worth the price you’ll have to pay for it. SRP $799.