In an effort to make your holiday shopping a little bit easier this year, Drink Spirits has a series of gift guides to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list. The first installment in our gift guide series is Spirits That Look Expensive But Aren’t in which we focused on ways to help stretch your gift dollars as much as possible. Sometimes, though, it’s less about bargains and more about finding amazing and special gifts that really make an impact.
In this guide we’ve put together a group of spirits that we feel is something special. Each spirit is unique, world class, delicious, and would make a fantastic holiday gift.
Parker’s Golden Heritage Collection 27 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey ($199 – 96 proof) – Heaven Hill Distiller makes some exceptional spirits and Parker’s Golden Heritage Collection represents the finest they produce. The line is simply amazing and represents some of the best in American whiskey. Parker’s Golden Heritage Collection 27 Bourbon explores the outer reaches of aging bourbon. Most bourbon on the market is aged anywhere between four and six years -occasionally you’ll see a bourbon aged as much as ten to twelve years – but twenty-seven years is almost inconceivably mature for whiskey. Indescribable in its intensity, Parker’s Golden Heritage is a deep and complex experience that absolutely commands attention. While there’s monster barrel notes in this spirit, it manages to maintain a near mystical balance. Spirits like this are the stuff that legends are made of, whiskey that people recollect for decades and bottles where every drop is savored. The $200 price tag isn’t cheap but you get more than your money’s worth with our top pick for spirits to give this holiday season.
Giving a bottle of the Parker’s Golden Heritage Collection line to a bourbon lover is like giving a Corvette to a sports car lover – it’s nothing short of life changing.
Highland Park 15 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($60 – 86 proof) – It’s difficult to think of a more perfect scotch whisky than this one from Highland Park. Unimaginable balance with a depth and complexity that could be used to define why people love single malt scotch whisky, Highland Park 15 Year Single Malt Scotch is extraordinary. It doesn’t matter if you are a lover of Islay, Highlands or Speyside whisky (or if you’ve never even had Scotch Whisky), Highland Park’s beauty is universal. Made in Scotland’s most northern and inhospitable point, Kirwall, Highland Park 15 Year Single Malt Scotch captures the eternal essense of whisky and delivers it perfectly. For us, the 15 year far surpasses the 18 year in balance and complexity, showing yet again that you can’t judge a bottle by the age statement on the label. At $60 a bottle, this whisky surpasses most sold at twice its price, and it stands for us as the single best bottle of scotch you could give this holiday season.
Ardbeg Uigeadail Traditional Strength Islay Single Malt Whisky ($60 – 108.4 proof ) – When it comes to Scotch Whisky, we’re pretty crazy about Ardbeg‘s base 10 year Scotch Whisky. It’s one of the best primary releases in the whisky space and a spirit we’re constantly revisiting. But Ardbeg isn’t the kind of distillery that rests on their laurels. Every once in a while they put out a limited release that is truly special. Previously, these limited releases have included Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist Islay Single Malt Whisky, Ardbeg Rollercoaster and Ardbeg Supernova, all exceptional whiskys worthy of buying and collecting. The Ardbeg Uigeadail Traditional Strength Islay Single Malt Whisky is another in this line of exceptional Ardbeg whiskys. Bottled at a higher proof than the Ardbeg 10 and finished in Sherry casks, the Uigeadail is one of the strongest and best expressions of peat that we’ve seen. Deep, deep smokey notes are supported by the raisin and honey notes from the Sherry casks and it all comes together in a scotch whisky that will blow your tastebuds away.
Given the limited nature of Ardbeg’s releases, Ardbeg Uigeadail is the kind of gift that will be sipped and savored, and once it’s vanished from the market you’ll wish you had bought yourself a bottle, too.
Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Irish Malt Whiskey ($115 – 80 proof) – When it comes to Irish Whiskey, Bushmills doesn’t get showered with the kind of attention that Jameson gets, but we feel they are more than deserving of praise and adulation. The Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey is one of our absolute favorite Irish Whiskeys. Triple distilled and then aged for 21 years, Bushmills 21 is finished in Madeira casks before it’s bottled and laid to rest in a beautiful wooden locker. This whiskey has deep rich malty notes that border on chocolatety with a boldness and complexity of flavor you don’t typically see in Irish Whiskey. Even with a rich, bold and complex flavor, the Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Irish Malt Whiskey finishes cool and clean, leaving you eager to take the next sip.
Packaged elegantly in a satin-lined wooden locker, the Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey has the look commensurate with its $115 price tag, but it’s what’s inside the bottle that will really blow away whoever you chose to give this fantastic Irish Whiskey to as a gift.
Crystal Head Vodka ($50 – 80 proof ) – A vodka has to be pretty exceptional to make it to the table with some of the amazing spirits on this gift guide, and it’s hard to think of a vodka that has made more of an impression on us than Crystal Head Vodka. With one of the best packaging we’ve ever seen for a spirit, the crystal head bottle for Crystal Head Vodka is exceptional. This is the kind of spirit bottle that could be the centerpiece of a home bar and immediately gets attention. With a $50 price tag, a beautiful bottle isn’t quite enough reason for us to recommend this as a top holiday gift. Unlike many other spirits with flashy packaging pushing style over substance, the Crystal Head Vodka is actually a fantastic vodka. Smooth, clean and with beautiful floral high notes, Crystal Head Vodka in any package is worthy of a very strong recommendation. Add to all this the fact that Crystal Head Vodka is owned by Dan Aykroyd and you’ve got a perfect holiday gift with a fantastic story behind it.
We hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful. If you’ve got amazing spirits you think make great holiday gifts, be sure to share them in the comment section below.Holiday Gift Guide - Great Spirits to Give as Holiday Gifts by Geoff Kleinman