The winter chills are setting in much quicker than we expected. The difference this year is that the figurative warmth we usually gain from seeing friends is probably no longer on the cards. Don’t worry, though, with a little help from online conferencing tools, and the right bottle of drink to share with loved ones, albeit virtually, the prospect of winter at home doesn’t seem so cold anymore.
The world of whisk(e)y is a hard one to break into. With a full dictionary of terms to understand, from single-malt to the Angel’s Share, or even coming to terms with the fact that Scottish liquids are spelled whisky and Irish and American are whiskey, it can feel like you’re trying to join an exclusive club. It turns out that this exclusive club is actually easier to get into than you thought, and boy do they know how to do winter.
So, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year all on the horizon, we've teamed up with Bacardi to bring you the best whisk(e)y to make the most of the coming season with, whether you're looking for gifts for friends or celebrating yourself.
Scroll down to shop our guide to the best whisk(e)y gifts around.
Aberfeldy 12-Year-Old Gold Bar Gift Tin
If there was ever a season to treat yourself (or someone else), this is it. The Aberfeldy 12-Year-Old gift pack is a surefire win in the realm of Christmas gifts as well as the perfect accompaniment to a celebratory evening in, symbolizing the traces of gold found in the unique water source used by Aberfeldy. If you’re hoping to look beyond the usual high-street whisky offerings, and even the more classic malts, Aberfeldy 12 Gold Bar’s mellow smoothness is the one.
Aberfeldy 21-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky
Matured over 21 years using a combination ex-sherry and ex-bourbon oak casks give Aberfeldy’s Single-Malt a seriously profound flavor. While that depth is perfect for quiet personal appreciation, notes of honey, macadamia nuts, beeswax, and dried fruits give this single-malt a multi-dimensional palette with a brighter side which also makes it the ideal tipple to fuel a thanksgiving group call. Better still, with Aberfeldy's engraving service, this bottle can be a special personalized gift for Christmas.
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon
We were metaphorizing when we said that the world of whiskey could seem like an exclusive club. But, say it really was, the gatekeepers would probably be Whisky Advocate, The Bourbon Review, and a handful of other publications who, as it happens, all gave Angel’s Envy the highest commendations. Making bourbon is, by law, an extremely complicated process. Bourbons must originate in at least 51% corn; they must be distilled at 160 proof or less, barreled at 125 proof or less, and contain no additives. Even the cask matters: it must be distilled in a new charred oak barrel, and as it happens, this exceptional bourbon is aged for up to 6 years before being finished in ruby port wine casks for six months to give it smoothness, sweetness, and balance.
Angel’s Envy Rye
In the spirit of the same distiller’s port-finished bourbon, Angel’s Envy Rye spends its last year or more in the complex flavors of a Caribbean rum cask. A robust 95% rye whiskey was chosen as the starting point because of its spice which is then mellowed and sweetened in barrels that have previously seen cognac and rum. The end product is a truly unique mixture of citrus, sweet caramel, vanilla, and wood which is backed by the punchy spice of the original rye. While scotch is often reserved for neat drinking, rye and bourbon's flavor profiles suit them to cocktails. If you're not a straight rye drinker, opt for a Manhattan or a classic Old Fashioned. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, you'll only be able to enjoy Angel's Envy Rye if you're based in America.
Craigellachie 17-Year-Old Whisky
Marrying the sweet notes of a bourbon cask with the rich complexity of sherry casks, Craigellachie 17-Year-Old Whisky breaks the mold of a Speyside whisky. The self-confessed ‘bad boy of Speyside’, Craigellachie opts for an irreverent approach to the flavors of the highly respected whisky area and the 17 Year Old proves it with a punch. In contrast to the slight sweetness of bourbon, scotch whiskies are characterized by a much smokier nose, so you're best off taking your time over Craigellachie and enjoying it neat.
Craigellachie 23-Year-Old Whisky
Craigellachie’s 23 Year Old is an exciting prospect for whisky rookies and aficionados alike. In true Craigellachie form, this malty sweet whisky breaks enough of Speyside’s rules to be a unique flavor journey — notes of tropical fruit pave the way for citrus and toasted oak — but retains the depth of flavor that’s so well-loved about Speyside whiskies.
Dewar’s, founded in 1846, focuses on blended scotch and standing as the world’s most awarded blended-scotch maker, it’s doing something right. Dewar’s 12-Year-Old is a direct descendant of the distillery’s signature Blended Scotch, which means that it’s already destined for greatness. This one sits in casks for 12 years, maturing and taking on board the smooth, lingering finish afforded by vintage oak casks before you enjoy it, and as far as winter warmers go, Dewar’s 12-Year-Old is up there with the finest.
Created by master blender Stephanie Macleod, Dewar’s 15-Year-Old represents a carefully selected blend of single-malt and single-grain whiskies. The blend matures over 15 years in sherry and bourbon casks before finishing in oak casks. The complex flavors of this blend make for a full sensory experience so enjoy it neat.
Teeling’s award-winning Irish Single Malt Whiskey has been called a “symphony of flavor” and we couldn’t put it better. Teeling matures and finishes this single-malt in casks that impart the flavors of sherry, port, madeira, white burgundy, and cabernet sauvignon. That’s a lot to take in, but the final product’s top notes of melon, figs, toffee, and lemon that give way to vanilla, spice, and cloves marry seamlessly for a super full-bodied finish. Teeling is really flying the flag for Irish whiskey.
It’s the first whiskey to be distilled in Dublin for almost 50 years, so it’s only right that Teeling’s Single-Pot Whiskey pays homage to the famous, now-closed distilleries of the Republic of Ireland capital. 50% malted meets 50% unsalted barley before being triple distilled and matured in American Virgin oak, bourbon, and sherry casks for a unique spice, cream, and muscovado sweetness. Notes of hibiscus, honeycomb, grapefruit, and citrus are signs of the rebellious Irish spirit that fuels Teeling's distillation process.