The Only Whisk(e)y Guide You’ll Need This Holiday Season


Let’s be real. It’s the holiday season and there’s no room for ties, or fruitcakes, or gift sets containing a cheap flask and a pithy phrase. It’s time for real gifts. Bourbon. Whiskey. Scotch. The kind of gifts that put hair on your chest. The kind of gifts that make you believe in Santa (or whomever) again.

This year, we’ve put together a list of whiskies of all sorts for everyone on your gift-giving list. Including yourself. You should buy each and every one of these for yourself.


Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea ($74.99)— Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea takes older bourbon barrels and brings the sweet liquor of life around the world: five different continents and four equator crossings. Ahoy, mateys.


Hudson Baby Bourbon ($53.99)—If you haven’t hard of Hudson yet, you’re missing out. It’s won multiple awards for a reason. It smells like buttered raisin toast, figs, roasted nuts, and dried flowers and tastes even better.

High West American Prairie Reserve ($42.99)—Sweet, creamy caramel aromas and flavors that change into cocoa and espresso on the finish. Not only is there a great flavor profile, but a portion of profits goes to benefit the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana.


Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon ($49.99)—Finished in a barrel made from toasted wood with no charring (and no age statement), which gives it a restrained nose–corn, vanilla, some nuts and light citrus.


Bib & Tucker 6yr Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey ($49.99)—Named for the finery one would wear for special occasions back in the day, the six-year-aged bourbon has a nose of antiques, new saddle leather, chamomile-soaked butterscotch drops and warm cinnamon-kissed cedar, with a flavor profile to match.

Related: The Manual’s Ultimate Holiday Spirit Guide 2015


anCnoc cutter ($85)— the third expression to the peaty collection, uses a hand tool, the cutter, to cut the peat from less wet, shallower bogs. On the nose its initially thick and oily smoke structure reveals a piercing burst of fruitiness.


Bablair 2003 ($70)—Balblair was established in 1790, making it one of the oldest distilleries Scotland and the oldest working distillery in the Highlands. Balblair 2003 is is full-bodied and has hints of orange, lemon, honey and spice.


Speyburn Arranta ($40)— Speyburn’s newest single malt release. Unique for its use of first-fill American Oak casks, the whisky draws its rich color and full-bodied flavor from the wood.

(The next Scotches are all part of the Single Malt Tome series available exclusively on ReserveBar, which not only provide high-quality Scotch, but some fun extras as well.)


Deveron ($500)— Known as the “calm from the storm” and hails from where the river Spey meets the ocean. Readers can open hidden compartments to discover a handsome timepiece and special glencairn glasses.


Aultmore ($650)— Legend has it imbibers could only order a dram of this gentle grassy malt using a special code name “a nip of the Buckie Road.” The book emanates the mysterious air and resembles a thick, gripping novel from an ancient library. Curious recipients will have to use the enclosed UV light and cryptex to reveal secrets hidden within.


Royal Brackla ($750)— “The Drink Divine” is bold, heavily sherried and the first whisky ever to receive a royal warrant. This volume opens to reveal a silver letter opener, crystal cut rocks glasses and a sensory kit to highlight the notes of a whisky fit for a king.