whiskey perfect for celebratory gifts photo courtesy w. grant

Whiskey gifting made easy

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Winter is coming, and knowing we have the perfect gifts to make our friends and family happy all through the New Year helps keep us warm and cozy. What can keep the people we love warm and cozy, though? Scotch whiskey, of course. The long history of distilling and perfect barrel aging makes for a toasty, fuzzy feeling from the first sip to the last drop. Here are some gift ideas at every price point.

Celebrating special anniversaries or retirements this year? These call for a whiskey that creates lasting memories.

The Balvenie 17-year Double Wood commemorates David Stewart’s 50th anniversary working for Balvenie Distillery as the longest serving malt master in Scottish whiskey history. One of the world’s most decorated malt masters, this whiskey represents Stewart’s lifelong achievements. With dark fruits and silky texture, this is a great bottle to toast to achievement. While the cost averages $130, it is worth the special moment in time it provides with your mentor, relative or close friend.

If you’re truly looking for that “wow” factor in gifting whiskey, try Glenfiddich’s 21-year Reserva. This American oak-aged Scotch is finished in Demerara Rum Casks, and the result is astounding. Light orange zest, creme brule and marzipan make it an excellent candidate for a high-end celebratory daiquiri. With two parts Glenfiddich 21-year, one part fresh lime juice and one part simple syrup, this drink will change the way you think about cocktailing. It pairs phenomenally with fresh stone fruit desserts and is a testament to what time and direction can do for a whiskey. At about $215, this is a true showstopper.

Try: Live! By Loews

Buy: The Wine and Cheese Place

photo courtesy w. grant

Friends and spouses keep us going day after day, but we don’t want to break the bank when we know we’re going to end up drinking it together. Here are a couple ways to show you care while not making it all about how often you can pop the cork.

If you are seeking great value for easy drinking, the single-malt, 10-year-old Aerstone Land Cask and Sea Cask were both recently released and are just shy of $30 per bottle. The Land calls on smoke and structure while the Sea exudes sweet caramel and oak.

Another option is to grab a bottle of fastest growing blended malt: Monkey Shoulder, which is more of an “everyday whiskey” that has plenty of flavor while still mixing well in a classic Sazerac and is only around $35. The barley brings balanced sweetness and spice ready to be a playful workhorse in your classic cocktails.

Have a friend who loves bourbon, but wants to venture into the land of Scotland? Gift them a bottle of the Glenfiddich 14-year Bourbon Barrel Reserve at less than $50. Aged in reused bourbon barrels and finished in new charred American oak, its fruit nature and signature tannins call out to bourbon drinkers while keeping true to its Scottish heritage.

Try: Quintessential Dining & Nightlife
Buy: Dogwood Spirits

photo courtesy w. grant

Buying for the boss this year? Balvenie 14-year Caribbean Cask and Glenfiddich 18-year Reserve might be your ticket. Although you want to show sophistication, you don’t want to make them feel you may be overpaid. These next two whiskeys will show off a sense of style and grace without saying, “I have more money than I need.”

A whiskey to show off your knowledge while not alienating the group should be balanced yet tantalizing. The $70 Balvenie 14-year Caribbean Cask checks all the right boxes. Its spice and wood heat the front of your palate, then fall into a wonderful finish of caramel and baked fruit. Glenfiddich 18-year Reserve is the most awarded whiskey in its class and still comes in at less than $100. The front-forward spice flavors are met with buttery toffee notes that will make you miss grandma’s Christmas cookies. This easy drinker with a silky-smooth body will keep you guessing on each sip.

Try: Stone Turtle Restaurant and Bar
Buy: Randall’s Wine & Spirits