Spirits & Whisky Holiday Gift Guide 2018

by W. Andrew Powell
The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask scotch

The holidays are one of the best times of the year for entertaining, and great entertaining means having the best treats, drinks, and beverages around. Whether you need a great gift for Christmas, or just want to have something tasty around for your guests, here are seven great ideas for the holidays.

Please drink responsibly, and enjoy the holidays!

The Macallan 12 Years Old Double Cask Whisky

The Macallan 12 Years Old Double Cask Whisky

Give a special gift this holiday season that will last right through winter, with the exceptional Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask whisky.

The Macallan has always been one of my favorite whisky makers, and the 12 Years Old Double Cask is one of their best at a very reasonable price. For friends, family, or co-workers, the whisky is a great gift because it stands out, thanks to the aging process in sherry-seasoned European and American Oak casks.

The result, after that aging process, is a single malt that’s rich, velvety, and nicely blends flavours of cinnamon, ginger, and dried fruit with a sweet finish. On the nose, there are hints of vanilla and little plum sweetness.

Served neat, the Macallan 12 Years Old Double Cask Whisky is perfect for a winter evening, and for a truly extra-special experience, try the whisky with dark chocolate.

Retails for $99.95

Empress 1908 Gin

Empress 1908 Gin

Try a gin this holiday season that’s steeped in rich Canadian history, and a seriously gorgeous aroma, flavour, and colour, with Empress 1908.

Named after the iconic Victoria, B.C. hotel, the gin is a mix of eight botanicals, all organic, and a non-GMO corn spirit. The colour was developed with butterfly pea blossoms, and when mixed with citrus or tonic, the indigo gin takes on stunning hues of pink.

For the holidays, it’s fantastic in a Negroni, or just a simple gin and tonic, but this is absolutely a gin made for stunning cocktails.

Retails for $49.95

Guinness Draught

Guinness Draught

There are a lot of options when it comes to beer at the holidays, but few beat the classics, and Guinness Draught is a classic in every sense.

Rich and creamy, and balancing the most delicious blend of sweet and bitter, Guinness Draught is a fantastic Irish Stout that is perfection in a can. For Christmas Eve, Christmas Dinner, or a toast on New Year’s Eve, the beer is tough to beat, and it’s also great for cooking.

Retails for $2.80 or $22.25 for 8 cans.

Glenfiddich Fire & Cane Scotch

Glenfiddich Fire & Cane Scotch

Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series is a real treat. The whole series offers a diverse range of Scotch whiskies, with Fire & Cane going for a peated, sweet flavour that’s striking and wonderful in cocktails or straight up.

The “Fire” side comes from the peat, while the “Cane” is a result of aging in rum casks, and the mix is just a little smoky, with hints of oak, toffee, and crisp green fruit.

The colour is bright and rich, the bottle is very alluring, and it’s a fantastic alternative for bourbon in a classic Old Fashioned or a Manhattan cocktail. Given the chance, I also really recommend Glenfiddich’s IPA Experiment, or Project XX, however XX is very hard to find.

Retails for $79.75.

Toki Whisky

Toki Whisky

One of the most balanced, sweet, and silky whiskies on my list this year, Toki is a pale spirit that’s very clean, and made to be served neat.

With an unassuming, citrus and vanilla aroma, and a slightly spicy, orange-peel palate, Toki finishes with a hint of ginger that is completely satisfying.

For anyone on your list who enjoys gentler whiskies, Toki is the perfect pick for a winters night.

Retails for $59.95.

Grey Goose Vodka

Grey Goose Vodka

Grey Goose is a classic that just works for cocktails. Incredibly versatile, and both sweet and smooth, the vodka is fantastic just over ice, or in simple cocktails that give the spirit room to shine.

For the holidays, Le Fizz is a perfect party cocktail, or try it in a classic Martini. However you mix it, Grey Goose is a must have for holiday drinks.

Retails for $49.95.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare

Last, and certainly not least, is Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label Ghost & Rare. Sampling the whisky, it is one of my all-time favorites that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting, and it’s a profoundly luxurious treat for any whisky lover.

Paying tribute to distilleries that closed, Ghost & Rare is a complex whisky with a lot of layers, but unlike some other high-end whiskies, Ghost & Rare maintains flavour profile that is profound without going over-the-top.

The whisky starts with a hint of sweetness, followed by notes of silky hazelnut, cocoa, and dried fruits. The finish is perfectly balanced, elegant, and drops a little honey on your tongue as it disappears.

Retails for $535.

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