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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.
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When it comes to scotch whisky, you’ve got your sherry bombs, your smoky beasts, your lighter and fruitier styles, and your richer and fuller drams. The best thing about Highland Park is that it strikes a balance between all of these styles, with a strong but not overpowering sherry cask and peat influence on the palate. The 18-year-old expression, Viking Pride, is superb—not too old but far from young, with natural color that comes from maturation in first-fill sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks. There are notes of spice, dried fruit, blackberry, vanilla, and smoke on the palate, making this our pick for the best overall scotch whisky you can find.
A deep whiskey collection is an essential part of any home bar, but a beautiful decanter allows you to show off one particular expression without a label obscuring the liquid. This Tom Dixon decanter draws inspiration from scientific glassware, combining function with fashion in a fetching shape that looks amazing and pours easily. This is a decanter to keep on top of your home bar full of your favorite whiskey to share–which is what it’s all about, after all.
Angel’s Envy is one of the best known and widely available cask-finished American whiskey brands you can find. The core expression is a four to six-year-old bourbon finished in port wine barrels for up to half a year, giving the whiskey a dark color and syrupy notes of candied fruit. There’s an annual cask strength expression of this bourbon as well, which is released in limited numbers. The 2023 release marked 12 years of cask strength bourbon from Angel’s Envy, and continues to be an extremely popular bottle that usually sells out pretty quickly upon its release. You can still find some bottles online, but be prepared to pay a premium. This bourbon, finished for up to two years in port wine barrels, is worth it, and at 118.2 proof, it’s very drinkable for a barrel-proof whiskey.
Fortessa Cocktail Shaker Set
The key to making good cocktails at home is having the right high-quality equipment. That means a well-designed cocktail shaker, so why not splurge on one that looks great too while you’re at it. This cocktail set from Fortessa was created in collaboration with bartender Charles Joly, with a minimal and aesthetically pleasing design inspired by the world of classic cocktail barware. Each set comes with a Boston shaker, jigger, strainer, and walnut wood muddler, allowing you to mix up any cocktail you can think of from old-school classics to new-school creations.
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.
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These lead-free crystal tumblers are wonderful for enjoying whiskey neat, over some ice, or in a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned. The base is heavy enough that you won’t have to worry about spilling, and the top is slightly tapered to allow the aroma to work its way out of the glass. These handmade glasses would be a great addition to any home bar, and add a design flourish to your cocktail setup.
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.
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The most popular whiskey from Northern Ireland’s Bushmills distillery—the oldest licensed operation in the world—is an affordable workhorse blend. But the fact is that this distillery only produces single malt whiskey, and the core range of age statement expressions are fantastic. Scotch drinkers, take note—Irish single malt should not be ignored. The 21-year-old expression is aged in bourbon and sherry casks, and then blended and finished in Madeira barrels for an additional two years. This brings a deep richness to the palate with notes of fig, spiced apple, lemon and some buttery caramel.
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.
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The Glencairn glass is a tried and true whiskey vessel for good reason–the design allows for a superb nosing and tasting experience. But there are some other worthy options out there to consider, like this minimal and tastefully designed glass from Schott Zwiesel. The bulbous base narrows into a chimney at the top, allowing the perfume and flavor of any whiskey you are sipping to concentrate without overpowering your senses. Give this a try to unlock an elegant and effective whiskey nosing and sipping journey.
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.
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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.
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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.
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There are more barrel-proof bourbons to choose from these days than you can possibly try, but that wasn’t always the case. Booker’s is one of the OGs of this category, an uncut and unfiltered whiskey (except for barrel char) that is high in ABV and full of flavor. Booker’s is part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection, and is released in four batches per year with the whiskey usually somewhere around seven years old and about 125 proof. The latest release is called Mighty Fine Batch, named after the compliment the brand’s founder, Booker Noe, would give to a bourbon he approved of. This release clocks in at just over seven years old and 126.6 proof, a fantastic bourbon to sip neat or add a little water to if you want to bring the intensity down a bit.
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.
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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.
There are so many bottles of collectible whiskey out there, aspirational expressions of bourbon, scotch, rye, Irish, and other categories that you might never actually come across in real life. But this book has you covered, compiling 100 of the most sought after whiskeys into one beautifully designed tome, including expressions like Pappy Van Winkle and Midleton Very Rare 45 Year Old. Author Clay Risen has picked whiskeys from around the world, gathering them all into an “Impossible Collection” of bottles that comes housed in a wooden box, making this a fantastic gift for any whiskey lover.
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.
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As simple as it may seem, don’t take ice for granted–the quality and size of your cubes has a profound impact upon how whiskey tastes in your glass. The good news is that it’s possible to make some beautiful and perfectly sized cubes at home with this press from Cirrus, six-ounce balls of clear ice that melt slowly in your glass to allow controlled dilution and maximum enjoyment while sipping.
We’re big fans of Barrell Craft Spirits, a Louisville company that sources, finishes, and blends whiskeys into sums that are greater than the parts. Seagrass is a fantastic example of this, a cask-strength blend of rye from America and Canada that is finished separately in three different types of barrels—Martinique rhum, madeira wine, and apricot brandy. The resulting whiskey is fruity, spicy, and ripe with raisin and dried fruit notes.
Some people like to drink bourbon, others enjoy Irish whiskey—but have you ever tried a blend of the two styles? Wolf Spirits just released this new Puncher’s Chance whiskey called he Unified Belt, a marriage of three components–four-year-old high-rye Kentucky bourbon, four-year-old single malt Irish whiskey, and 14-year-old low-rye bourbon finished in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks for more than a year. That blend of young and old whiskey, the combination of corn and barley bases, and the sherry cask finish results in a spirit that truly stands out from the pack.
A special bottle of whiskey deserves a special place on your home bar, and a fantastic way to highlight your spirit of choice is by putting it into a beautiful decanter. This piece from Waterford holds 32 ounces of liquid, more than enough for any 750-ml bottle, and is made of gorgeous Waterford crystal from Ireland. Part of the Short Stories Collection by Waterford, the crystal was cut vertically to evoke the turrets found on many Irish castles, and has a stopper with a large round topper making it easy to open and close while still keeping a tight seal.
Glenglassaugh might not be as familiar a name to whisky drinkers as the Macallan or Bowmore, but the launch of the distillery’s new core lineup should change that. Brown-Forman, owner of Jack Daniel’s, acquired the coastal distillery in 2016 along with Benriach and the GlenDronach, and now master blender Rachel Barrie is helping to shine a light on these underrated single malts. There are three new triple-matured expressions–a 12-year-old matured in bourbon, sherry, and red wine casks; Sandend, aged in bourbon, sherry, and manzanilla barrels; and Portsoy, aged in bourbon, sherry, and port casks. Try all three side-by-side to see how they compare.
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