Booze for every budget
There’s no doubt that by now you’ve bought your dad at least a couple of ties and countless dress shirts over the years. He probably has all he needs, and let’s face it: They make for pretty boring gifts. But one gift that never goes out of style and is always welcome is booze. Store shelves are brimming with spirits in a multitude of categories and the selection has never been more diverse, with everything from low-end, mass-produced products to high-end craft offerings and nearly everything in between.
We tasted a number of bottles looking for some gift ideas for a wide array of budgets and tastes and distilled it down to eight choices ranging from $30 to $125. Some are well known and highly regarded names, while others are less known producers. The common denominator is that all eight are highly recommended, quality products that your dad will be glad to have as part of his bar.
The Street Pumas’ Rum ($30)
This white rum was distilled in Panama from molasses. This impressive spirit is suitable for sipping, and that’s saying a lot — most white rums don’t have the depth to be interesting enough to sip neat. The nose is incredibly expressive with white flowers, burnt brown sugar, and hints of spice. The palate shows off dark chocolate, mission fig, and continued spice notes. The finish is above average and layered. This will certainly elevate any rum-based cocktail, but try it neat or on ice too.
Paul Beau VS Cognac ($59)
This cognac is made entirely from ugni blanc grapes, and the fruit is fermented using indigenous yeasts. After pot still distillation, aging takes place over six years in barrels; the minimum required for the VS grade is two years. Taking the extra time allows Paul Beau to release each barrel when it’s genuinely ready, which makes an impressive VS Cognac. The quality and deliciousness greatly outweighs the price. Dried stone fruit aromas and a gentle hint of leather emerge from the nose. White pepper and cinnamon are evident on the palate as they underpin white peach, papaya, and apricot flavors. Mesquite honey, wisps of chocolate, and toasted pecan are evident on the long finish.
Domaine D’Esperance XO Bas-Armagnac ($94)
This small family-owned brand only distills for about a week each year. Four vintages are blended into this bottle, and the youngest is 10 years old. Orange rind aromas are present on the nose along with baked apple and baker’s spices. A cornucopia of spices dominates the palate alongside orchard fruit flavors and bits of black walnut. Molasses, nutmeg, and bits of date are evident on the impressively long and persistent finish.
Navazos Palazzi Overseas Malt Whiskey ($100)
This whiskey is produced from all-barley blended malt from Scotland with three years of age at purchase. It is then aged for an additional four years in casks formerly used for oloroso sherry. This offering comes from a single cask and is limited to 900 bottles. Toasted nut and bits of toasty oak emerge from the nose. Hints of chocolate and dried fruits dominate the palate alongside tons of spice. Brown sugar, cocoa, and bits of mesquite honey are all present on the lengthy finish. This is an exceptional whiskey that you’ll want to keep on sipping.