Bourbon, Irish, Scotch And Other Whiskey Ideas For Putting Under The Christmas Tree
By Richard Thomas
With whiskeys from around the globe more popular than ever, more people are giving the gift of whisk(e)y. Those not well-versed in whiskey may need some shopping pointers, while others who already know a thing or two may want some inspiration to find something special.
This list, based on choices available and fitting all budgets, will help anyone wondering what to pick up on the stop at the liquor store. You may need to look around a bit for some of them, but none are genuine chimeras. All price categories are listed in dollars, euros and pounds, so the first category is €25, $25 and £25 and under, and so on. The currency for specific price points will vary.
Budget Shopping (25 or less)
- George Dickel No. 12 ($23): Plenty of whiskey fans are over-familiar with Jack Daniel’s, and consequently moved past Tennessee Whiskey altogether. Sleeper favorite George Dickel No. 12, the second step up in their line, is a good way to remind them there is more to Volunteer State whiskey than JD Black Label.
- Glen Moray Port Cask Finish Single Malt (€22): Looking for a budget single malt? This one combines good flavor, low price, the class of a single malt, and just maybe the advantage of novelty. After all, it’s Glen Moray and not one the usual budget single malts, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.
- Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye ($22): Jim Beam replaced its original, rather humdrum 80 proof rye with this stronger 90 proof version. Plenty of whiskey fans haven’t gotten around to trying it yet, making it a solid stocking stuffer.
- Old Granddad 114 ($21): A high octane bourbon made from Jim Beam’s high rye recipe. If you think someone would like their whiskey big and bold, this is the way to go.
Holiday Whiskey Bargains (26-50)
- Inchmurrin 12 Single Malt (£38): This is an easy sipping Scotch, and recently relaunched by makers Loch Lomond. It balances honey sweetness off of toasty cereals, with a grassy, herbal background.
- Jameson Caskmates (€35): This is the ultimate beer and a shot whiskey, finished in old whiskey casks that were, in their turn, used to age stout. So, if you’ve got someone on your shopping list who absolutely adores a good pint of stout, get them a bottle of this.
- Knob Creek Single Barrel ($50): Knob Creek made its bones as a bang for your buck, high proof, small batch whiskey. This one takes the concept up a notch, as a 120-proof single barrel. Moreover, while Knob Creek Small Batch has lost its age statement, Single Barrel is still a 9 year old.
Nice Gifts (51-90)
- Aberlour A’Bunadh (€55): At The Whiskey Reviewer, we have hyped this cask strength, sherry bomb of a single malt so much that, could we afford it, we would give a bottle to every member of the staff. That includes the ones who don’t like Scotch, because A’Bunadh isn’t a bad place to start.
- Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye ($75): This is a fan favorite among American whiskey fans, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s an annual limited edition, but usually not too difficult to find. The ABV is usually in the middle 50s, and that combined with Michter’s secretive filtration process has made this a very easy drinking, flavorful bottle of whiskey.
Redbreast Lustau (€65): Since it is a new expression, released only this past summer, it is a good bet that the recipient hasn’t tried it yet, let alone owns Lustau. Not unless they are a diehard single pot still whiskey fan, in which case it’s the perfect buy for them.
Splurge On A Special Someone (91 and up)
- Elijah Craig 18 Year Old ($120): This is one of those popular limited editions that comes out every autumn, but unlike most of the others, it’s almost December as I write this and I have seen it still occupying a few store cases. Mind you, you will be very lucky to pay the $120 list price for EC18, but this is the “splurge” category.
- Ghosted Reserve 26 year Old Blended Whisky (£375): This very aged Scotch blend is made from some of the rarest whiskies in the William Grant & Sons inventory, including stock from the defunct Inverleven and Ladyburn. Keeping that in mind, paying over $450 for a bottle isn’t actually that unfair a price.
- Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Tennessee Whiskey ($100): Thing you know JD? Guess again. To celebrate, Jack Daniel’s planned ahead and put a standard batch into specially made, slow-toasted barrels and racked them up in a prime spot in their oldest warehouse. The results were bottled at 100 proof, and the price is fairly reasonable for a one of a kind, limited edition release.