Whisky Marketplace Blog India brings you news, reviews and tasting notes from the world of whisky.

Nov 22

Christmas Whisky Gifts: Buying Guide

Posted on 22nd November 2012 by Stuart

Ahh Christmas. The festive cheer, the holly, the children singing, the tree…..the nerve-inducing gift hunting! Not the least stressful of times perhaps and when a loved one’s desire happens to be a bottle of Scotland’s nectar or Kentucky’s finest, it can be understandably hard to know where to start. It’s true, whisky is a vast and multifaceted subject but selecting an ideal tipple for the Whisky lover in your life needn’t be as confusing as first it appears. Indeed, we at WhiskyMarketplace have the answer!

Christmas Whisky Gifts £25 – £40

Tweeddale Blend 12 year old

Tweeddale Blend 12 year old

A lovely, easy-going and accessible blend with an equally endearing story. This will please just about any whisky-lover and offers excellent value for money.

Whisky-geek rating: 1

Bruichladdich 10 year old

Bruichladdich 10 year old

A truly cracking from this old-school Islay distillery. Unlike much of the Islands output, this is minimally smoked. Instead we find a light, fragrant whisky but with considerable depth.

Whisky-geek rating: 2

Kilkerran Work in Progress 4

Kilkerran Work in Progress 4

A revive name from what was once the prime distilling region of Scotland. It’s still fairly young but shows wonderful promise, already offering a beautifully oily, complex spirit.

Whisky-geek rating: 3

Christmas Whisky Gifts £40 – £60

Glendronach 15 year old

Glendronach 15 year old

A firm favourite for many whisky-fanatics and with good reason. This is rich, old-fashioned sherry influenced scotch from a distillery that is instantly synonymous with the style.

Whisky-geek rating: 1

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel

Bourbon is sometimes overlooked, this single barrel example from the Four Roses Distillery shows why this is such a shame. This is excellent Whiskey; rounded, sweet and characterful.

Whisky-geek rating: 2

Longmorn 1997 Berry Bros and Rudd

Longmorn 1997 Berry Bros & Rudd

Longmorn is a classic distillery and this bottling from the good people at Berry Bros and Rudd is a lovely example. It’s buttery, zesty and just totally delicious.

Whisky-geek rating: 3

Christmas Whisky Gifts £60 – £80

Redbreast 15 year old

Redbreast 15 year old

This longstanding style of Irish Whiskey has been one of the great talking points this year. Redbreast has retained it’s already great reputation with this charming 15 year old a favourite for many.

Whisky-geek rating: 1

Lagavulin 12 year old Special Release 2012

Lagavulin 12 year old Special Release 2012

This years cask strength 12 year old from an true legend of Islay distilling. Big, bold and smoky of course but with balance provided by dry coastal notes and sharp citrus.

Whisky-geek rating: 2

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2012

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2012

Compass Box has built a well-deserved following as the premier “boutique blending” company. This yearly limited release brings together plumes if wood smoke, sweet fruit and mellow vanilla.

Whisky-geek rating: 3

Christmas Whisky Gifts £80+

Highland Park 21 year old

Highland Park 21 year old

Perhaps the standout value-for-money bottling in the Highland Park range. The distillery walks the line between a number of styles and this bottling finds that balanced brilliantly.>

Whisky-geek rating: 1

Clynelish 1989 The Perfect Dram

Clynelish 1989 The Perfect Dram

Clynelish has an enviable reputation; as result these independent bottlings rarely last for long. The distillery’s characteristically waxy, mineral style sits centre stage here and shows why Clynelish remains one of the finest distilleries in Scotland.

Whisky-geek rating: 2

Glenfarclas 105 20 year old

Glenfarclas 105 20 year old

As you may expect from Glenfarclas, this is one for the sherry lovers. It’s a bruiser at 60% of course but it takes water very well and offers the patient drinker a huge range of aromas and flavours.

Whisky-geek rating: 3

Identify their level of whisky geeky-ness!

Does your whisky lover’s cabinet contain five or less bottles, all of which you’ve spotted at your local supermarket or nearby bottle shop? Or does it conceal twenty plus bottles – some of them unopened and many with esoteric names & dates? If it’s the former, your whisky lover is probably someone who likes an occasional dram but has only reached geek level 1. If it’s the latter, they’re well on their way to full blown geek level 3!

Other clues to look out for…

Do they talk about whisky as often as they can? Do they ever attend tasting events or whisky festivals? Do they read books about whisky? A “yes” to any of these moves them up the geek scale.

Do they prefer a particular style of whisky?

Here are a few tips on how to identify their tastes. Look at the labels of their whisky collection, is it a broad mix of whiskies from different countries and regions? Does it contain a mixture of single malt whiskies and blended whiskies?

A whisky label can tell you much about the contents of the bottle. Country of origin – Scotch whisky, Irish, Japanese etc, and in the case of Scotch or American bottles it might also tell you the region; American Bourbon from Kentucky or Scotch single malt from Speyside or Islay perhaps. Clearly if you see a broad mix of countries you’re fairly safe to choose from a wide array of whiskies. However, if the collection is skewed in favour of a particular region that could help you to narrow your choices.

That being said, some people need to be nudged out of their comfort zone so maybe deliberately choosing something different might be a bold but rewarding move. If the collection is all single malts, how about a premium blended whisky, you might just open their eyes to a whole new sphere of whisky-appreciation.

You’ve done your research, what now?

We’ve chosen a variety of whiskies from different price bands and given them geek level ratings along with region and style information.

Match up a style your whisky fan seems to enjoy with your preferred price and their level of whisky experience and bingo! No more guess work, just a great gift and of course, being as we are the prime whisky price aggregator, you can be sure of getting the best prices from the U.Ks finest retailers.

Slainte! (that’s what the Scots say for cheers by the way)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Joshua Feldman

Very useful - particularly as an index for whisky geekiness.  The selections and attributions of geek factor are spot on.  Actually - all the selections recommended here would make a top notch shelf: one that would keep me happy for quite a while!