What’s The Perfect Father’s Day Gift? Japanese Whisky, Of Course!

It’s that time of year again — the time when sons, daughters and loved ones start to panic ever so slightly as they wonder what on earth to get the dads in their lives for Father’s Day. A tie? Cologne? A mug that says “#1 Dad”? A T-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad”?  The mug AND the t-shirt?

As a father in good standing, I can tell you the answer to all of the above is NO WAY. The best gift — well, apart from an adorable homemade card from my daughter, in my case — comes in a bottle filled with delicious amber liquid made in a certain Asian country. I’m talking, of course, about Japanese whisky. It’s a gift that not only says “You, dad, are a gentleman of exquisite taste and sophistication,” it also shows that he raised you right. After all, a gift says as much about the gifter as it does the giftee. Best of all, it’s a gift that can, and should, be shared. I mean, Dad surely wouldn’t hog the whole bottle… would he?

THE CLASSICS:

Whether the dad in your life is just getting into Japanese whisky or simply won’t settle for less than the best, going with a slam-dunk classic is a great move. Suntory’s Yamazaki 18 Year Old is widely considered the gold standard for the Japanese category — the whisky by which all others are judged. In the wake of the  Japanese whisky’s exploding popularity over the last few years, demand is overwhelming supply and the 18 is becoming increasingly hard to find.  Not to worry, however — we’ve got it!  For a more affordable and delicious alternative, the Yamazaki 12 Year Old is hard to beat.

Suntory’s other premier brands also make terrific Father’s Day gifts. The Hakushu 12 Year Old is a single malt with a lighter and fruitier flavor than the Yamazaki, without sacrificing depth and complexity. Hibiki is a blended whisky that can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with Suntory’s single malts, or anyone else’s for that matter — big and flavorful and impeccably smooth at the same time.  The seminal 17 Year Old bottling has been discontinued, but we still have it in stock… for now!  The no-age-statement that replaced it, Japanese Harmony Master’s Select, is brilliant in its own right, fruity and velvety soft on the palate.

DIVING DEEPER:

If Dad’s got the Japanese whisky basics covered, or if you bought him that bottle of Yamazaki last year and want to go off the beaten path a bit more, we’re here to help.  One of our most exciting new releases, the Trinitas Sanmi-Ittai Bottle Set, pays homage to the legendary, now-shuttered Hanyu distillery. But it’s more than just an homage — both the bottles in the set use actual Hanyu whisky straight from the cask as their base. Both the “Legendary Warrior” (matured in sherry casks) and the “Silent Geisha” blends are aged to perfection, and the art on the labels is as stunning as the liquid.

The Nikka brand is the second oldest in Japan, behind only Suntory. Founded in 1934, its Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries produce extraordinary whiskies. Nikka’s popularity has grown so much and so quickly that it’s been forced to temporarily discontinue a good chunk of its portfolio while it ramps up production and waits for its whisky to age. But you and Dad are in luck — we’ve got three of Nikka’s finest bottlings available in one affordable gift package, the Nikka Memories Collection!  My favorite bottle of the three is the Coffey Grain. The Coffey (column) stills at the Miyagikyo distillery, imported from Scotland in the 1960s, are renowned for producing some of the world’s finest single grain whisky. If Dad has never tried grain whisky, this is the place to start. The package also includes a stunning single malt whisky produced using the same stills (the aptly named Coffey Malt) as well as the sumptuous 12 Year Old blended expression. The trio make for a beautiful representation of the brand — and a great collectible as well, since none of them are currently being produced. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t open and enjoy them, however! (All three bottles are also available individually.)

The Chichibu distillery, owned by Ichiro Akuto, is one of the new kids on the block, having only been in operation since 2008, but its whiskies have quickly become some of Japan’s most desirable. A good place to start is Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries, a blend of malt whiskies from Chichibu and the Hanyu distillery, which Ichiro’s father owned until it ceased production. It’s a classic whisky that looks to both the future and the past — most appropriate for the generational celebration that is Father’s Day.

For a very special Father’s Day gift, how about a bottle that isn’t available outside Japan… except through us?  The Yamazakura 963, 21 Year Old comes from the Sasanokawa Shuzo, which has been around since 1946, making it one of the older whisky distilleries in Japan. The 963 is a blend of malt and grain whiskies aged at least 21 years — a real rarity nowadays — and bottled at a hefty 116 proof (58% alcohol by volume). But this high-octane blend is still smooth and mellow enough to sip neat, something any dad would be lucky to do this Father’s Day.

FOR THE INDECISIVE:

Can’t decide which bottle would suit Dad best?  Don’t want to settle for just one?  We’ve got you covered,  with dekanta’s own exclusive Whisky Legends Tasting Set and Whisky Explorer’s Tasting Set. Each set contains 3 cl samples — a healthy pour — of eight outstanding single malts and blends.  Both sets include the Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hibiki Japanese Harmony. The Legends set dives deep into some of the most renowned Japanese drams, including selections from Nikka, Taketsuru, Hakushu, and most thrillingly, the legendary Karuizawa. The Explorer’s set offers a selection of some lesser-known drams for adventurous fathers, with expressions from Akashi, Toguchi and Mars, among others.

Of course, this just scratches the surface of all the Japanese whiskies, wines, and other spirits we have available, so don’t hesitate to have a look around our website!  And remember, no Father’s Day gift is complete unless you also give the dad in your life the time to enjoy it. A bottle of whisky can’t be savored if you’re busy running around taking care of the kids or grandkids on your special day.  I speak from experience!