Tuesday 22 December 2015

Time for Whisky's Last Minute Christmas Whisky Gift Guide 2015

There are a lot of good Christmas whisky guides out there this year - via blogs, news sites, and of course online stores - covering everything from high-end whiskies, to budget whiskies, to accessories and more.

So rather than just replicate them, we've decided to keep it simple - 5 whisky gifts to suit 5 specific scenarios. Left it to the last minute to get the whisky lover in your life a Christmas gift? Read on...

1) "The recipient is a whisky lover. I'm not, but I want to get them something that shows I did some research"

The whisky: GlenDronach 15 year old

Why: GlenDronach has a huge cult following amongst whisky lovers and it's not hard to see why. While other distilleries who have previously been known for their "sherry bombs" have branched out into other casks for aging their whisky (mostly Bourbon), GlenDronach have stayed true to their roots, producing brilliant, heavily-sherried Speyside whiskies (that's a good thing). The 15yo is the sweet spot - delicious, every bit a quintessential sherried whisky, and punching well above its price point.

Be quick though - the 15yo won't be around much longer, as it's about to be discontinued for while. It's also highly likely not 15 years old - when you look at the distillery's history, and its closure from 1996-2001, you start to realise that today's 15yo bottlings could be up to 19-20 years old. This chart gives a good run-down.

Where and how much? $103.50AUD from Oak Barrel, $920HKD from Lillion Wine or £45.83 from Master of Malt (sold out currently though)

Want to know more?: Read Hendy's review of the line-up here.

From instagram.com/timeforwhisky

2) "I have no idea what they like. I want something safe and reliable"

The whisky: Balvenie 12yo DoubleWood

Why: The Balvenie is a Speyside favourite from William Grant & Sons, producing elegant, handcrafted, enjoyable whiskies that at the same time are accessible and won't break the bank. I've never met a whisky drinker who doesn't enjoy The Balvenie, and the 12yo DoubleWood is always a good, safe option.

Where and how much? $89.99AUD from Dan Murphys$568HKD from Merci Winery or £34.19 from Master of Malt

Want to know more?: We've written a LOT about The Balvenie in the past. You can find our notes on the 12yo DoubleWood specifically here.

From instagram.com/timeforwhisky

3) "I want to buy a whisky that shows I'm ahead of the curve"

The whisky: Starward Single Malt Solera Whisky

Why: You've missed the Japanese whisky bandwagon, but you don't need to (entirely) miss the Australian one. Australian whisky is already hugely popular, but it's not quite at Japanese levels yet, and still has a long, successful (and delicious) life ahead. With new distilleries opening up (some even in cities which haven't produced whisky for 161 years, like Sydney's Archie Rose), and still-young distilleries like Starward receiving grants of $10m AUD from the likes of Diageo, you just know that this is the start of something big.

Where and how much? $82.99AUD from Dan Murphys, hopefully available soon in Hong Kong, £46 from Master of Malt (currently sold out)

Want to know more?: Read our articles on Starward here, including tasting notes and even a tour of the distillery.

Pictured: Starward Wine Cask Edition

4) "I want to get them something slightly left-field, but it still has to be a great whisky"

The whisky: Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel

Why: Why limit yourself to Scotch? Bourbon is having a moment right now and for good reason - there are some bloody good ones out there. Blantons from Kentucky (famous for the rounded bottles topped by racing horse figurines) make some excellent Bourbon, and their "Straight from the Barrel" is highly regarded amongst whisky enthusiasts. At 60%+ ABV (sometimes 65%+), it's a serious whisky...just how we like it.

Where and how much? $199.99AUD from Dan Murphys$1098HKD from HK Liquor Store or £80.14 from Master of Malt (sold out at the moment)

5) "Money is no object and I want to show the recipient I really like/love/appreciate them by spending a whole stack of money on them"

The whisky: The Last Drop 48 year old Blended Scotch Whisky

Why: A 48 year old blend is a rarity in itself, but this one also tastes fantastic and, if previous The Last Drop releases are anything to go by, should be a shrewd investment too.

Where and how much? $5,500AUD from Dan Murphys$33,888HKD from Crown Wine Cellars. £2,600 from Master of Malt

Want to know more?: We have our very own tasting notes here.

From instagram.com/timeforwhisky

Cheers and Merry Christmas,

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