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9 of the Best Whiskey Gifts to Give This Year

When it comes to guys and gift-giving, sometimes we have a hard time coming up with the perfect present. That’s because when we think of what we would like to receive, a bottle of whiskey resides somewhere at the top of the list. So, naturally, that’s what we turn to when the holidays roll around. 

To some, booze might seem like a last-minute cop-out gift, and sometimes it is. However, if the receiver is a whiskey enthusiast,  it will never disappoint. Whiskey can also be an excellent gift for co-workers or those new to the spirit. Regardless of who the gift is for, fine whiskey in the form of a gift makes for a great ice breaker and conversation starter. That’s because every fine whiskey has a historical story behind it.

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So, if you have people on your holiday gift list that you’re having a hard time shopping for, consider one of these exquisite whiskies.

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Blanton’s Single Barrel

Blantons bourbon whiskey.

There’s a high demand for bourbon these days, so getting your hands on this coveted whiskey from Buffalo Trace Distillery (owned by the Sazerac corporation) might be tricky. However, if you can find a bottle, those who appreciate whiskey will jump for joy when they receive this acclaimed bourbon with a sweet, citrusy, oaky profile and backend notes of clove. Suppose the receiver is not familiar with the spirit. In that case, you can explain how Blanton’s is said to be the first single barrel bourbon, and eight different collectible racehorse stoppers spell out the name Blanton’s.

Macallan 15-Year Double Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky 

Macallan 15-year Scotch whisky.

Macallan Scotch is well known to even the most uneducated whisky drinker thanks to its world-renowned quality and premium price-point. Although the 15-year Double Oak Single Malt is not cheap (around $150), it’s more affordable than the 20-to-30-year varieties. Macallan Double Cask whiskies are aged in two types of hand-crafted oak casks seasoned with dry Oloroso sherry, providing notes of vanilla, butterscotch, citrus, and an unmistakable Macallan spice.

Yamazaki 12-Year Single Malt Whiskey

Yamazaki 12-year single malt whiskey.

You might be aware that the Japanese are huge whiskey enthusiasts, and for decades now, they’ve been perfecting their own brews. Yamazaki is a pioneer in Japanese-distilled whiskey and has grown to be a global beverage giant which now owns former American whiskey brands Jim Beam and Makers Mark. When it comes to quality Japanese whiskey, Yamazaki is at the top of the list—and the price isn’t the key indicator. This buttery yet bright and fruity whiskey has a unique flavor profile that anyone who appreciates whiskey will enjoy.  

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey

Glendalough double barrel irish whiskey.

Around 1,000 years ago, the Irish and the Scots were among the first to utilize barley and grain to create the whiskey we know today, instead of wine-based spirits like brandy which were enjoyed by European royalty. To differentiate Irish whiskey from Scotch, they added the “e” to whisky—in case you were wondering. Glendalough is an independent Irish distillery that received double-gold in the 2021 San Francisco spirits competition. The brand is named after the Monastic City established by St. Kevin (the mascot of the spirit) in the 6th century and is where monks distilled some of the first whiskey. All the exciting history aside, this is some excellent and unique whiskey that would make a great gift.

W.L. Weller Special Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

W.L. Weller Special Reserve bourbon.

W.L Weller Special Reserve (another Buffalo Trace brand) is a unique whiskey to gift because it is considered the first “wheated” bourbon. Typically, bourbon is at least 51% corn, and the remainder is barley and rye grains. W.L Weller was the first to substitute the rye grain for wheat grain, giving it a smooth, delicate finish. There are seven variations of W.L Weller, all of which are hard to get your hands on and very expensive. However, Special Reserve Weller is the most affordably priced, at around $90 a bottle.  

Sagamore Spirit Straight Rye Whiskey

Sagamore Spirit rye whiskey.

Conversely to bourbon, rye whiskey must be comprised of at least 51% rye grain, which typically gives rye a sharp, spicy, alcohol-forward flavor profile. Sagamore Spirit is a young distillery out of Baltimore that is doing some creative things in the world of rye whiskey. The signature rye whiskey is a blend of a high rye and low rye mash bill, each aged 4-6 years. The low and high rye blend delivers a complex flavor profile that contains notes of spicy cinnamon, sweet honey, and a nutty finish. This unique spirit is excellent for sipping neat or mixed into a Manhattan. 

Lagavulin 16 Year Scotch

Lagvvulin 16-year Scotch whisky.

Lagavulin is an excellent holiday gift if you know a mezcal lover that you’re trying to convert to whisky. This Scotch is one of the smokiest you’ll find with a wonderfully smooth finish. Though smoke dominates this whisky, there are also well-placed notes of tea and sweet tobacco. The distillation and maturation of Lagavulin are longer than any in the brand’s Classic Malts Collection.

Sazerac Rye Whiskey

A bottle of Sazerac Rye whiskey.

With over close to 20 different whiskey brands under its belt, it’s hard not to keep bringing up a Sazerac whiskey. If you know someone connected to New Orleans, Sazerac Rye has had deep roots in the city since the 1800s. Named after a popular pre-Civil War drink comprised of rye whiskey and Peychaud’s Bitters, it was the name the whiskey giant chose to take on. Aside from being a rye whiskey entrenched in tradition, this is a wonderfully affordable yet delicious gifting whiskey.

Wild Turkey Longbranch

Wild Turkey's Longbranch bourbon.

If you’re looking for another excellent whiskey in the mid-level price range, but want to avoid a played-out bottle of Jack, Wild Turkey Longbranch is perfect. This bourbon is exceptionally smooth and oaky, making it great for drinking on the rocks or neat. You can pick up a bottle for under $40, and it’s backed by one of the kings of laid-back partying—Matthew McConaughey. However, this whiskey is better than just “alright, alright, alright.”  

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