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If you’re having trouble thinking of gift ideas for your friends and loved ones, you are like most of us. There is, however, something that most people (above the age of 21) always enjoy—a good bottle of the best whiskey. Of course, there are also lots of whiskey-adjacent things to consider as well, like glasses, flasks and even a whiskey bottle-shaped bird feeder for your ornithologist aunt. Here are 21 whiskey gift ideas covering all styles and categories, along with a few items that will make anyone’s home bar stand out.
This Seattle distillery is making some of the best American single malt you can find, with a range of fantastic expressions. The sixth edition of Garryana, part of the Outpost Range, is named after the native Pacific Northwest oak that is used to make some of the barrels it’s aged in. But that’s not all, because brandy and sherry casks are also used as part of the maturation process for this 100 percent malted barley whiskey. Notes of dark fruit, chocolate and citrus combine, resulting in a bottle that you’ll want to come back to and try again.
Buy Now on Bounty Hunter Wine & Spirits: $180
Buffalo Trace’s WL Weller bourbon exploded in popularity a few years ago when people released that it was close enough to Pappy (this is also a wheated bourbon and the two share a mashbill), but unlike Pappy you can still find a bottle of Weller Special Reserve for less than $100 in most places and it’s one of the best bourbon bottles you can get for the price. “The Original Wheated Bourbon,” as it says on the label, is bottled at 90 proof and has a pleasant fruitiness on the palate, along with some vanilla cream and just a touch of spice even without the use of rye in the recipe.
Irish pot still whiskey brand Redbreast recently partnered with actor Chris O’Dowd, which is why you’re seeing him in the photo above. If you’re also curious about that red item hanging from a tree next to him, that’s the Redbreast Bird Feeder Bottle, a great gift for fans of the avian world. Best of all, it’s a casing that slides off an actual bottle of whiskey, so you can sip while watching the birds snack.
Buy Now on Whisky Exchange: $65
This is a new whiskey with a literary theme… sort of, in the sense that three whiskey experts and authors helped to put together this blend—Flaviar’s David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum who are co-authors of the Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, and Milam & Greene CEO and author Heather Greene. Even if there is no actual book involved, you can read as you sip this blend of bourbon from Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas aged from two to 14 years and bottled at a hefty 118 proof.
The right way to drink whisky is however you like it, but this “Perfect Serve” set offers a pretty good suggestion. This luxury gift comes with a bottle of The Macallan Double Cask 15 and a Macallan Ice Ball Maker, a beautiful device that uses gravity and warmth to turn an ice cube into a perfect sphere. Pour some whisky over this and it melts slowly, infusing the spirit with flavor without overly diluting it. This would make a great gift for someone who wants to spruce up their home bar.
Buy Now on Reserve Bar: $1,967
If your friends and relatives have all the whiskey they need, consider giving them some of the best cocktail books out there to figure out what to do with all those bottles. This bundle includes three books that any home bartender should have: Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, Cocktail Codex and Death & Co: Welcome Home. Each is signed by the authors and has hundreds of recipes of elevated and exciting drinks that are complex but still manageable enough to be made at home.
The ability to whip up cocktails on the go is a valuable one, and Jameson Irish Whiskey makes that a little easier with this holiday gift set. It comes with a cocktail kit that has everything you need (strainer, Boston shaker, bar spoon, etc.), two tall glasses, a hip flask and some festive whiskey bottle lights to string up wherever you are. The only thing it’s missing is a bottle of Jameson, but you shouldn’t have an issue procuring that if you want to add it to your gift.
Fans of sherry cask-matured single malt scotch whisky are surely familiar with The Macallan, but perhaps less so with the whisky from this storied Highland distillery. The GlenDronach matures its whisky in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, with a lineup of single malts that is quite exceptional. The older expressions are delightful, as are the limited-edition releases like the annual cask strength whisky. But Revival, the 15-year-old expression, is hard to beat, and makes a pretty mean Rob Roy cocktail if that’s your thing.
Buy Now on The Whisky Exchange: $68
This cocktail trunk from South African artist Johnathan Schultz and Pernod Ricard will cost you a cool $22,000, but there is only one in existence which makes this gift even more special. Schultz used 23k gold to coat the exterior, and the trunk contains some goodies inside in the form of hand-blown URI Neptune glassware and bottles of premium spirits like Avión Reserva 44 Añejo Tequila, Jameson Black Barrel, Aberlour 12 Year and The Glenlivet 14 Year.
Original Knob Creek, part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection, is a truly excellent nine-year-old bourbon. But the limited-edition 12-year-old, first released a few years ago, is even better. It’s made from the same mashbill, bottled at the same 100 proof and has the same complex flavor full of vanilla, caramel and spicy notes. But those extra three years in barrels have given it some more complexity. The 15 and the new 18-year-old Knob Creek bourbons are tasty as well, but the 12 occupies a middle zone that makes it one of the best out there.
Vermont’s WhistlePig Rye Whiskey stays true to its name with this special piggybank decanter, a replica of a Berkshire Bitter Pig filled with 110-proof, 10-year-old rye whiskey that pours directly from the porcine rear. This would make a great gift for fans of rye whiskey with a sense of humor. Also, in conjunction with this release, WhistlePig auctioned off a 20-year-old rye last June in an antique decanter, raising $125,000 for a nonprofit charity.
Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door whiskey brand has been a huge success since it launched in 2018, and has released some highly collectible limited-edition expressions in the intervening years. But the core range remains a reliable source of tasty whiskey, and you can gift all three expressions with this gift set of small bottles—Straight Bourbon, Double Barrel and Straight Rye. Throw on Nashville Skyline and compare how these different styles of whiskey taste.
If you’re taking some high-end whiskey with you on the go, why not use a flask that matches the quality of the liquid? This luxury Weekender flask from Jacob Bromwell holds seven ounces in its signature wedge design, just enough to enjoy on an outing. It’s made of 22 gauge copper, has a reflective finish and the screw top is guaranteed to be leak free. This fetching flask would please any whiskey drinker with a sense of style.
Buy Now on High Camp Flasks: $125
True, this is not actually whiskey, but this bottle is something that lovers of brown spirits will enjoy all the same. Empirical Spirits’ founders used to work for Noma’s René Redzepi, and now this Danish company makes experimental booze like this koji-based spirit. It’s aged in ex-bourbon casks for three years, bringing the vanilla and tannic elements that any whiskey drinker will appreciate. Sip on its own or try making some cocktails with this bottle.
This luxury RTD is well worth the price, beating out most of the competition in this crowded playing field. It’s made from 15 and nine-year-old bourbon, six-year-old rye whiskey and saffron bitters. The high-quality ingredients ensure high-quality flavors, and this is as good as any handmade cocktail you’ve had before. Before drinking, spritz with the orange zest atomizer for a burst of citrus. This is a great gift for people who love cocktails but don’t always have the time to prepare them.
The experience of drinking whiskey can be greatly heightened by the vessel which you are using. The design of these fetching crystal tumblers from Baccarat allow you to fully enjoy the flavors and aromas of any whiskey, and they look beautiful while you are sipping. If you know someone looking to up their home bar presentation game, this would be an ideal gift.
Fans of peated whisky are often really enthusiastic about their love of smoky scotch, so this bundle of bottles is a great gift for anyone who enjoys a dram with campfire levels of smoke. Ardbeg is an Islay distillery known for its extremely peated whisky, and you’ll find its three core expressions here (some harder to pronounce than others)—the 10 Year Old, Corryvreckan and Uigeadail. These will be excellent sipping whiskies to last all winter long.
What do you get for the whiskey drinker who thinks they’ve tried it all? How about a bottle of Australian single malt matured in red wine casks, still a relatively new category here in the US. This brand-new whisky from Starward is the first truly luxury expression from the distillery, a limited-edition bottle to celebrate 15 years of making whisky. This gift will impress as something from beyond the usual whisky world suspects, and will appeal to single malt and wine lovers.
This new book from whiskey expert and author Clay Risen explores the world of American rye whiskey, a category that exploded in popularity after years of being relegated to bourbon’s lesser known sibling. Risen takes a deep dive into the category, exploring more than 200 whiskeys with tasting notes, ratings and background info. This is a great gift for anyone who wants to broaden their whiskey knowledge overall.
BenRiach is another lesser known distillery—at least among the general whisky-drinking public—that deserves a little more attention. Both peated and unpeated whiskies are produced there, and for the second year in a row the distillery has released its Smoke Season expression. The whisky is made from the peated malt that runs through the stills seasonally, and the mashbill is 100 percent peated malt as opposed to the mixture of peated and unpeated that goes into other expressions. After aging in bourbon barrels and virgin oak, Smoke Season lives up to its name and is quite smoky, but not overpoweringly so.
Buy Now on Bounty Hunter Wine & Spirits: $75
Coalition Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Coalition Whiskey’s lineup of cask-finished rye whiskeys are intensely flavored, which seems to be the point here. There are three expressions to try, each with a different wine barrel finish: Pauillac, Sauternes and Margaux. Each is a 100 percent rye whiskey (10 percent malted rye) made at Kentucky Artisan Distillers and aged for at least five years before being finished in a Bordeaux wine barrel for up to nine months. The brand has also released a barrel-proof version of the whiskey that isn’t cask finished, so you can try it to see how it stands up against the others. There are really prominent tannin, fruit and spice flavors present in these whiskeys, tasting notes that will surely appeal to some more than others. But the intentions are loud and clear here, so anyone interested in exploring the world of powerful cask finishes should give these a try.