The Manual’s 2016 Holiday Whisk(e)y Guide
Whisk(e)y is one of the best gifts you can give friends, family, or yourself. For this holiday season, we’ve put together a selection of whiskies from across the world and across price ranges so that you can find something for anyone. No matter what kind of brown liquor you or the person you’re buying for likes, we’ve got a whisk(e)y for you.
Tin Cup Whiskey ($29)
For the mountain man. A blend of two American whiskies, Tin Cup is made from a high rye bourbon mash bill aged in #3 charred oak barrels. After the distillation and aging of one whiskey in Indiana, a second whiskey from Colorado is added. Finally, the whiskey is cut with Rocky Mountain water to give it the flavor of the west.
Redemption High Rye Bourbon ($29.99)
For the man who loves his bourbon like he loves his women: spicy yet sweet. In a recently re-designed, bartender-friendly bottle, Redemption’s High Rye Bourbon is made from a 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% barley mash bill that gives off just enough caramel, vanilla, and spice that makes it the perfect addition to winter cocktails like hot cider or egg nog.
The Hilhaven Lodge ($50)
For the flashy, Hollywood man that you know. The Hilhaven Lodge, named after director Brett Ratner’s Bevery Hills estate, is a blend of rye whiskey, bourbon, and Tennessee whisky. A light-bodied whiskey with caramel and vanilla notes, the recipient of this will be talking about his next three picture deal in no time.
For the experienced Scotch guy. Having described themselves as “old-fashioned” since their creation in 1891, Craigellachie creates Scotch whisky in the heart of Speyside that is known for being challenging. There’s a sulphury character to the whisky that make it not for the faint of heart or for those that haven’t had much Scotch in their life.
Yoichi Single Malt ($74.99)
For the guy who knew about Japanese whiskies before it was cool to do so. Made at Nikka’s first distillery and made from whiskies matured in a variety of casks, Yoichi Single Malt is a Japanese whiskey that incorporates the terroir of the island of Hokkaido nicely—the whiskey has a briny character reminiscent of many fine Scotch whiskies.
Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix ($75)
For the man on the move. Phoenix is a special release from Tullamore D.E.W. that commemorates a 1785 air balloon accident in the town of Tullamore that wreaked havoc on the town itself. This whiskey is spicier and stronger than other Tullamore D.E.W. expressions, and can only be found in airport stores, making it the perfect complement to someone who constantly gets upgraded to first class.
For the man who can recite Shakespeare. In an accent. While drunk. A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a blend of 6-year-old straight rye whiskey and 16-year-old straight rye whiskey finished in Port wine and French Oak barrels. The flavor is meant to invoke Christmas, vanilla, mulling spices, plums all playing a strong role. The finish is long enough to get you through even the coldest winter night.
The Macallan Edition No. 2 ($100)
For the man who can control a room with just his voice. The second Macallan Special Edition (No. 1 is also available), No. 2 is collaboration between Bob Dalgarno, master whisky maker and the three Roca brothers, co-founders of El Celler de Can Roca, twice named best restaurant in the world. This whisky utilizes seven exceptional oak cask types from four different bodegas in addition to the creative input from the four behind the expression.
For the man who loves his Kentucky bourbon as much as he loves his Kentucky bluegrass. The first limited edition release by Brent Elliott, master distiller of Four Roses since September 2015, Elliott Select is a barrel-strength bourbon that showcases OESK, one of the distillery’s ten unique bourbon recipes. Mellow despite its proof, the bourbon is arguably one of the best Four Roses has put out.
For the guy whose library is not composed of books, but whiskies. Templeton Ten Year is special release of only 6,080 bottles made from 34 barrels that celebrates a decade of legal production for this Iowa-based distillery and each bottles is hand-numbered and packaged in a commemorative box. This rye whiskey has a finish as long as the trains that it used to be smuggled on during Prohibition and a flavor to match.
Highland Park FIRE ($300)
For the man who always wanted to climb the Agro Crag, but never got the chance. FIRE is matured in 100% refill Port wine casks and aged fifteen years. The Scotch itself has a reddish hue, and the palate brings out ruby red fruits that lead into a long, lingering finish. The distinctive, bespoke bottle represents the molten world of the Fire Giants from Viking mythology.
For the man that thinks doing things the hard way is the only way to do things. For Tun 1509 Batch 3, Malt Master David Stewart used 12 sherry butts distilled between 1989 and 1992, 11 American oak hogsheads distilled in 1989 and eight refill American Oak butts distilled in 1992 and 1993. The whisky is rich and complex, with dried fruit and cinnamon characteristics that play nicely off the vanilla and sherry notes.