We've got a handful of fun new whiskies in the store to make your Dad happy. Some are new and rare while others are everyday sippers. Take a look!
Whistle Pig Whiskey
Whistle Pig is a farm based, family owned distillery in Vermont. They started in 2007 by purchasing an old dairy farm and hiring Dave Pickerell as Master Distiller, a 14 year Makers Mark veteran. They recently opened a distillery in 2015 but none of the whiskey is ready yet. Initially they purchased stocks of whiskey, aged in new oak, then blended and bottled, following standard procedure for non-distilling producers (NDP). Where they differ from other NDPs is their dedication to quality over profits, and the truth is in the bottle. Whistle Pig is brand new to Minnesota and come in very limited quantities.
The Whistle Pig 10 year rye is a blend of Canadian stock whiskey, aged in New American oak, and finished in used bourbon barrels. It has all the classic elements of rye whiskey, with tons of allspice, medium body, and a creamy mouthfeel, with unique notes of anise, orange peel, butterscotch, and caramel. $79.99
The 12 year rye is a marraige of whiskies aged in new American oak then finished in used Port (7%), Sauternes (30%), and Madeira (63%) barrels. The whiskey builds on the character of the 10 year, with added delicate elements of dried apricots, dates, honey, dark chocolate, and vanilla. $119.99
Gordon MacPhail is a family owned, independent bottler from Scotland, started in 1895. An independent bottler differs from a non-distilling producer in their transparency and connection to the original producer. They're philosophy is to match a particular spirit from a particular distiller with a particular barrel to make a unique, limited product. Zipps recently acquired a handful of unique bottlings from Gordon MacPhail, check them out.
Starting with a light, balanced Scotch is the Glen Grant 10 year. This Speyside distillery was founded in 1840, and the distillery's 10 year bottling was single malt of the year in 2013 in Jim Murrays Whisky Bible, for malts 10 years and younger. As stated before, its a lighter style Scotch with hints of fruits and subtle spice. A drop or two of water greatly opens the aroma and flavor with more fruit notes of banana, apples, and a touch of honey. An excellent warm weather sipper. $42.99
Next is the Scapa 10 year, located on the Orkney Islands in the North. Its the second most northern distillery, a half-mile south of Highland Park. Scapa was founded in 1885 and is known for their honey flavor and low peat. The whiskey itself has a huge nose of tropical fruit such cantaloupe and guava with a hint of sea breeze. It has a very subtle note of smokiness and spice on the palate to balance the peach and apricot. Overall, its very soft and very well balanced. $64.99
Going back to Speyside is the 2007 Speymalt from Macallan Distillery. Gordon MacPhail bottles a whole line up of single malts from Macallan, this being their entry level. Macallan was licensed in 1824, but distilling could have started in the late 1700's. The whiskey is aged in first fill and refilled Sherry casks, typical of Macallan flavors, but the influence is much more delicate in the MacPhail bottling. Raisin, banana, and fudge on the nose with black pepper, apple and orange zest on the palate. Adding water creates a whole new experience! Hay, toasted malts, a creamier texture. Amazingly balanced despite all the elements. $64.99
Mortlach 15 might be the ultimate Speyside malt. Mortlach was one of the first 7 distilleries to be built around Dufftown, the main city in Speyside. They uniquely distill 2.5 times to give the spirit a complexity for which it is renowned. Also, Mortlach was one of few whiskies given permission to produce during WWII, and some rare war year whisky still exists! The 15 year Scotch is initially sweet and fruity with toffee and prune elements, pointing towards its aging in refilled Sherry casks. Then the finish comes as a huge bite of spice and warmth, entirely changing direction. Like other Scotch, it is helped by a drop or two of water. Its very complex, very balanced, and very fun. A must have for Scotch Dads. $71.99
The final entry with Gordon MacPhail is the Caol Ila 2003 aged in Sassicaia casks. Coal Ila, pronouced 'culleela' is on the famous Islay island, known for their peaty, smoky style whisky. Its other bottlings are more balanced and subdued in their peatiness than compared to Laphroaig or Lagavulin. Sassicaia is a famous winery on the West coast of Italy, close to Chianti, known for making Cabernet Sauvignon blends, called Super Tuscans, despite the grape's French origin. The whisky has it all. Its a big, warming dram with meaty, smoky edge. Elements of the wine barrel come through as berries and hints of chocolate to accompany the distillery notes of apricots and orange. Its very robust and greatly benefits with a touch of water. Very excellent whisky. $99.99
Moving on from single malts are three blended malts. Blended malt has gotten a bad reputation in recent years due to the single malt boom, however; blends are not given the credit they deserved for their approachability and versatility. Here we have two from Scotland and one from Japan.
First is the Suntory Toki. Its the newest offering from Suntory, the Japanese company known for their Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki whisky, as well as their ownership of Jim Beam brands in 2014. The Toki, meaning "time," is a blend of the three Japanese distillery malts with no official age statement. It primarily shows fruity elements of green apple and honey with a light saltiness. Its remarkably clean and elegant and very well executed. It was said to be created for a highball cocktail, but its an excellent sipper and its complexity only increases with time. It is a white wine drinkers blended malt in that it takes a keen palate to recognize all its components. $39.99
Going back to Scotland is the Monkey Shoulder. Its a blend of 3 Speyside malts: Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kininvie. Compared to the Toki, it has a considerable spice and floral elements with a creamier texture and slightly heavier overall. It makes for an excellent mixer as well as a delicious sipper. $31.99
Finally, the Gordon Graham's Black Bottle Scotch. Graham was a tea blender before he got into the Scotch business, just like the Chivas brothers and Johnnie Walker. The brand was first introduced in 1879 but made a switch to green bottles in around WWI since the black glass was imported from Germany. Black bottle was in a green bottle until 2013 when it was reissued. The blend itself has changed over the years, recently taking in less Islay malts, and more mostly Speyside and Highland. Regardless, the whiskey is just amazing. It has a creamy, almost oily texture reminiscent of Bunnahabbain malts, the owner of Black Bottle. The nose is slighty smoky, more of a mezcal cooked smoke than a medicinal, rubber smoke typical of Islay. And the palate has light spice, with more floral aspects, honey, and nutmeg. An overall great experience. $31.99