Whisk(e)y is one of the best gifts you can give friends, family, or yourself (or all three — it’s important to spread the love). For this holiday season, we’ve pulled together a selection of some of our favorites whiskies from around the world and across price ranges so that you can find something for anyone. No matter what kind of the water of life you or the person you’re buying for likes, we’ve got a whisk(e)y for you in our 2017 Whiskey Gift Guide.
When it comes to purchasing whisk(e)y, there are a couple things to remember. First, price. The prices you’ll see below are the suggested retail price. Depending on where you are in the world, the price may differ. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your hometown liquor store, you might also want to try looking online. Stores like Caskers and Master of Malt are both great online options for whisk(e)y-buying. It’s important to remember, though, that websites are only able to ship to certain states, so be sure to check to see if you’re eligible before going to town and filling your shopping cart.
Clyde May’s Cask Strength 9 Year Whiskey – $100
The second limited-edition cask strength release from Clyde May’s (the first, an eight-year expression, sold out in weeks upon release), this whiskey is finished in the “Alabama style,” which means that oven-dried apples are added to each barrel to infuse those flavors into every drop of the brown stuff.
Jefferson’s Very Small Batch – $25
The name is no joke—Jefferson’s Very Small Batch is made from just that. This bourbon uses up to four different straight bourbon whiskeys and blends them together, creating a great beginner bourbon for the family member or friend looking to get into the spirit. Honey, caramel, vanilla spice, and oak are all present on the nose, bolstering the dark fruit and baking spice palate. (Want a higher-end expression from them? They also make a whiskey that’s aged at sea.)
Misunderstood Ginger Whiskey – $30
While some may scoff at the thought of a flavored whiskey, this ginger-flavored whiskey is one to try to convince you that not all flavored whiskies are equal. Using a blend of types of ginger, Misunderstood is perfect for the Kentucky Mule-loving whiskey drinker in your life. In addition, it makes a killer hot toddy.
Old Forester Statesman – $60
Inspired by the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Statesman is a bold bourbon that features whiskeys pulled from the warmest parts of the warehouse. Flavors of leather, cinnamon, and spice all come out before a citrus-filled, eucalyptus-tinted finish.
George T. Stagg 2017 Antique Collection – $90
A perennial favorite from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, this uncut and unfiltered bourbon features espresso, mocha, and tobacco notes. The barreling for this release occurred in 2002 and the barrels were pulled from four different warehouses (C, K, M, and Q, for the curious out there.)
Lock Stock & Barrel 18-Year Straight Rye Whiskey – $230
The third release in the Lock Stock & Barrel series from The Cooper Spirits Company, this 18-year rye whiskey is produced from one hundred percent rye grain and is left unfiltered in American oak barrels for at least eighteen years. The flavor profile features hot, buttered gingerbread, dried peach, toasted pecan, honeydew, and tobacco.
High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act – $100
This special release from High West Distillery is a blend of straight rye whiskeys that are then finished in port and French Oak barrels. A very rich whiskey, with black currant, sugar plums, and toasted oak on the nose while on the palate dried fruits, candied figs, and candied ginger all present themselves, leading into a lingering spicy finish.
Virginia Distillery Company Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky – $55
A blend of Old World and New World whisk(e)y-making, VDC’s Virginia-Highland whisky blends spirits made on-site in Lovingston, Virginia and whisky produced in Scotland. The whisky is then finished in port-style casks that are sourced primarily from Virginia to create a spirit with dried fruit, vanilla, oak, spice, and more all present during a tasting.
Tin Cup 10 – $50
A high-rye bourbon profile whiskey aged for ten years in American white oak barrels, Tin Cup 10 is cut—as the original Tin Cup is—with Rocky Mountain Water. The unique shape of the bottle makes it great for those who love to experience the outdoors or for those that are looking to make their back bar a little more interesting with a cool bottle.
Compass Box Phenomenology – $180
If you’re looking for a challenge (or just something different), Phenomenology is for you. The whisky (of which there are only 7,908 bottles worldwide) does not come with tasting notes, as drinkers are encouraged to make their own. If you want to, you could request them from the company, but what is the fun in that?
BenRiach 10 Year Old Curiositas – $67
A peated Speyside single malt distilled from heavily peated malt barley, this whisky is smoky-sweet with hints of honey, fruit, and oak. A multi-award winner, Curiositas was intended to show what 19th Century Speyside malts would’ve been like.
The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years – $100
A heavily peated malt that is produced only once per year, Peat Week is the first whisky in the history of The Balvenie to use 100% peated barley. Sweet smoke mingles with honey and light floral notes on the nose while on the palate you’ll find a smooth whisky with honey, oak, vanilla, and citrus flavors.
Glen Elgin 18 Year Old – $340
Part of the 2017 Special Releases Collection from Diageo, this cask-strength whisky was distilled in 1998 in the Speyside region, then aged in ex-Bodega European oak butts. What makes Glen Elgin 18 stand out is the fact that two different yeasts (Pombe and Cerevisiae) were used to produce the final product, of which only 5,352 bottles were produced.
Prizefight Irish Whiskey – $45
A collaboration between Irishman Flor Pendergrast and American Stephen Grasse, Prizefight Irish Whiskey is distilled and aged in Ireland, and then finished in American rye casks. This produces a fresh and clean whiskey that feature fruit, floral, and spice notes. A slight bitterness on the palate transitions into a nice, spicy finish.
Tullamore D.E.W. Cider Cask – $32
Created once per year, Tullamore D.E.W. produces their cider cask-finished whiskey. Crisp green apple on the nose brings you into a whiskey with a creamy body and fresh apple notes on the palate before finishing with a lingering fruitiness. Only available seasonally, you’ll need to get this one soon if you want it at all, otherwise it’ll be gone before you know it.
Kilbeggan Single Grain – $30
Made using 94% corn and 6% malted barley, this Irish whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in ex-bourbon barrels and fortified wine casks, presenting coconut cream and vanilla on the nose, malty sweetness on the tongue, and a crisp and fruity finish.
Teeling Small Batch – $37
The flagship whiskey from Teeling, this blended Irish whiskey is matured for a time in ex-rum barrels (after initial maturing), giving the spirit a unique flavor when compared to other whiskeys in the category. It has vanilla and spice on the nose, oak and sweet rum notes on the palate, and sweet and spicy finish.
Paul John Bold – $75
Made in Goa, this single malt whisky uses six-row barley grown in India, producing a chewy whisky. Aged in American white oak barrels and the recipient of an accelerated aging and maturing, thanks to the climate, Paul John Bold is a little smoky, with hints of honey, spice, and red licorice. Despite the name, the finish is surprisingly light with more spice and mocha on the end.