In the shop we often get asked for advice on the perfect gift for a whisky drinker. That drinker can be any of a level of experience, from beginner to expert. We often have very limited information. Here we try and give some of that advice for you buying on our website. We have focused on standard bottlings that are in continuous supply.
As we always say, taste is subjective and unique to the individual so you may not agree (some people certainly will not) but it is our best advice.
The Safe Gift
Where we have very limited or no information to go on as to the tastes of the person the gift is for, we have some fall back whiskies that most whisky drinkers would appreciate or at least not turn their nose up at.
Tomintoul 16 Years Old (Speyside): This is a great all round whisky. The distillery describe this whisky as being the gentle dram and it certainly is. Quite sweet with fruit and a little nuttiness and some spice. Smooth and easy drinking. It is probably the safest bet purchase and a great price for its age.
Balvenie 12 Years Old Double Wood (Speyside): The double maturation gives some extra elements to the flavour profile. There are definite oloroso sherry notes and the classic honey Balvenie characteristics. This one is widely available but you would struggle to find whisky a drinker that will not take a dram of this.
Aberlour 12 Years Old (Speyside): A good all round whisky with a distinct sherry character with toffee, apples and ginger. A bit more robust but still a safe choice.
Knockando 12 Years Old (Speyside): Malty, sweet and very pleasant. It has an almost blackcurrant characteristic. This is an elegant dram and ideal for a beginner.
They Like a Big Sherry Cask Whisky
If the person you are buying for likes sherry cask whiskies, have a look at these options below
GlenAllachie 15 Years Old (Speyside):Matured in Pedro Ximinez and Sherry casks, this whisky is a fantastic gift for Sherry lovers. Sweet spices, raisins and butterscotch flavours develop to banana, orange peel and dark chocolate.
Tamdhu 12 Years Old (Speyside): Matured entirely in Sherry casks, this 12 year old has a silky texture that coats the mouth with banana, berry jam, malt biscuit and classic sherry oak depth - followed by a long & balanced finish with the tiniest hint of peat smoke so delicate you may miss it!
Aberlour A'Bunadh (Speyside): The Aberlour A'bunadh is matured in hand picked Spanish Oloroso sherry casks filling them with whisky for the first time. While the batches of A'Bunadh may change, the flavour profile stays much the same - The taste is full with black cherries, ginger and dark chocolate, with a long and balanced finish with a touch of oak
They Like a Bourbon Cask Whisky
Below are some whiskies matured in Bourbon casks
Arran Barrel Reserve American Oak (Island): Bottled at 43%, the Barrel Reserve emphasises the delicious, sweet fruit notes which are the hallmark of Arran distillery. The Barrel Reserve is a fresh, light and elegant no-age-statement single malt, 100% matured in Bourbon Barrels
Auchentoshan American Oak (Lowland): Triple distilled and matured in first and second fill North American bourbon oak casks, this Lowland malt is refreshingly smooth yet lively with vanilla cream, coconut and white peach flavours
Balblair 12 Years Old (Highland): Matured in Bourbon casks and double-fired American oak casks, this Highland malt is the defining expression of Balblair distillery. Ground spices and dried orange slices enveloped in intense set honey sweetness transform into a creamy and leathery finish with lashings of sweet vanilla notes
Glen Moray 18 Years Old (Speyside): Only the very best finest American oak barrels have been selected to emphasise the incredibly smooth character and taste of Glen Moray 18 Years Old. An intense whisky with a perfect structure, the soft flavours of sweet vanilla balanced with oak from the casks
They Like a Smoky Whisky
If you're looking for a smoky whisky, these may be the drams you are looking for
BenRiach The Smoky Twelve (Speyside): Crafted from a combination of unpeated and peated spirit, and matured in 3 casks, creating a smooth, creamy single malt, layered with flavours of ripened fruit, aromatic smoky sweetness and warming oak spice
Old Ballantruan (Speyside): Distilled using heavily peated malted barley to impart a distinctive and unique flavour - gentle peat-reek with hints of citrus and malty nuttiness
Glenfiddich Fire & Cane (Speyside): A peated Glenfiddich finished in rum casks, this Speyside single malt Scotch whisky is like a creamy, rich sticky toffee pudding doused in camp fire smoke - sweet and smoky heaven in a glass (according to Kat!)
Kilchoman Machir Bay (Islay): A great whisky gift for a heavy peat fan, this Islay whisky is made up of mostly ex-bourbon casks with some sherry casks added to the mix too. A lemon and citrus nose mixed with sweet smoke is followed by vanilla and butterscotch flavours with a sweet peaty aftertaste, finished off with the signature Kilchoman long lasting finish.
Gift Box Whiskies
Now we always say, "you don't drink the packaging" so don't judge a whisky by its cover. Sometimes though it's nice to have a malt that looks as good on the outside as it tastes on the inside! We're often asked for a whisky that comes in a nice box - so see below for some of those. Click here for a full list.