Your dad loves bourbon. You have seemingly countless choices for a Father’s Day gift for dear ol’ dad, but not every choice is a good one. Handing dad something with “Bourbon” printed on it can be pretty lame. Is it a plaque? Is it a license plate? Is it worth anything in a yard sale?
Novelty bourbon clothing may seem clever, but it usually isn’t. Nobody wants bourbon-themed boxer shorts with a joke about the “size of your stave” stitched on them. (OK…maybe that’s brilliant. I claim it. Nobody steal it!).
You could always just ask dad what he wants for his special day, but most dads aren’t going to give you much help as they tend to down play Father’s Day for themselves. This is where I can help.
I’ve put together a few ideas to help you find a gift that most any bourbon pappy would love. And, no, Pappy Van Winkle isn’t on the list. These are all things you can easily find.
Every Bourbon lover loves Bourbon. That’s what makes them a Bourbon lover. However, there are a lot of choices and some liquor stores don’t have employees that are that knowledgeable or that helpful. My first Bourbon suggestion is Booker’s. Each year there are four different releases of Booker’s batches. They are all numbered (2018-01 is the first batch released in 2018, for example) and named (The 2018-01 was called “Kathleen’s Batch”). It’s a unique gift without going too far out on a limb and can be found for $60-$75.
If you know where your father shops, you can visit there and see if they have any store picks. Those are barrels specifically selected by that store’s management to be bottled and sold only in their store. There are a limited number of these bottles available and once they are gone, they are gone. Again, this is a unique and thoughtful gift that is also a safe one.
This may be a little more risky, but if you are looking for the bourbon dad who seems to have everything then consider something new and crafty. Craft distilleries (small, privately-owned, up-and-coming distilleries) are doing some very good things in Bourbon these days. A bottle from Wilderness Trail, Neeley Family or Jeptha Creed would be an intriguing addition to any Bourbon collection. If you can’t find these brands in your town, then you may need to do an internet search for craft Bourbons in your area or rely on that liquor store employee for help after all.
You have to be careful here as a book can mean different things to different people. To some, a book is a joyful way to learn. To others, a book is a chore. There are many books about Bourbon on the market today and I’ll narrow it down to two for you. One is “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey” by Michael Veach. Veach is the daddy to Bourbon history and a must read for any father serious about his Bourbon.
A second book is “Bourbon Justice” by Brian Haara. Brian is an attorney…stop booing, that’s rude. Brian is a nice attorney (yes, those exist). His book tells many stories about legal cases in the whiskey world and how that shaped law in America. Think “Law & Order with a hangover”. It is a very interesting read.
Bourbon Tourism is a big thing these days and not just in Kentucky. Distilleries around the country offer tours for the Bourbon enthusiast everywhere. As competition has increased for the Bourbon tourist dollars, distilleries have gotten creative. They now offer special events such as behind the scenes experiences or tastings with master distillers or tasters. Buy yourself and your dad a ticket to one of these tours or events and it will be a fun memory to make together.
I wanted to suggest a ticket to a Kentucky Bourbon Festival event, but there isn’t anything available on their website yet. Not even a schedule of events is posted. It’s only about three months away, so if somebody wants to nudge the folks at the KBF to see if they are awake that might be helpful.
The final Bourbon experience I would suggest is the easiest and easily the most meaningful. Sometime next Sunday, go see your dad. Bring in a bottle of Bourbon you enjoy and, assuming you are of legal drinking age in your state, share a pour with him and tell him you love him. And when you go home…leave the bottle.
Feel free to share this on Facebook or Twitter so that your children or wife might see it. Or print it out and leave it casually lying around the house where someone might happen upon it. Whatever the case…Happy Father’s Day to all the Bourbon-loving dads out there. Cheers!Kevin Rose