Unless you live under a rock, you realize Christmas is next Monday and with it comes twinkling lights, the possibility of an ugly sweater or two, and of course, time with family. And what better way to bring in all of that holiday cheer than with some good old fashioned whiskey? So whether it’ll be a gift to yourself to make it through day, to a ‘worldly’ boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe a whiskey-loving dad, or that soon to be mother and father-in-law you’re trying to impress, here’s a quick list of some of the best on the market today.
Nose: Hints of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, sugary porridge, creamy vanilla, papaya and citrus.
Palate: Spicy and soft, gentle bourbon oak, green woods, menthol, potpourri.
Finish: Creamy, long finish, vanilla.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – This stuff is uncut, straight from the barrel without chill filtering and just won Whiskey Advocates Spirit of the Year award.
Nose: Fiery cinnamon and clove, joined by red apples covered in a thick layer of caramel.
Palate: Nutty at first, though soon enough you’ll find oodles of toasted sugar and vanilla bean notes.
Finish: Lasting orange oil and poached pear. Hot spices stick around minutes afterwards.
E.H. Taylor – This is a true sipping bourbon that is made by hand, aged inside century old warehouses, evaluated and selected to create the perfect blend of its distinct characteristics. If you’re wondering which option to choose from, honestly, just take your pick. They’re all exceptional tasting with unique layers of flavor.
GlenDronach 18 Year Old Allardice – This is a non chilled filtered, sherried single malt, matured in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, bottled at 46% and rated with a near perfect score from the Whiskey Bible.
Nose: Sherry notes so thick you need a knife to cut them! There’s a hint of old rum in there too, with pineapple and brown sugar in tow.
Palate: Christmas cake, rum again, chocolate-coated hazelnut, runny honey and a hint of Sauternes.
Finish: Fresh blackcurrant, blueberry pancakes with a generous helping of maple syrup.
Glenfiddich Project XX – This is the second release in the Experimental Series and made not by one Malt Master but 20 of them. Each was invited to pick any expression from the thousands of casks maturing in the warehouse. The 20 chosen whiskies were then married by Malt Master Brian Kinsman to create this single malt.
Nose: Classic fruitiness with hints of apple blossom and plump pear. A perfect balance of rich vanilla oak with golden sugar and a touch of liquorice.
Palate: Deep and mellow, the candyfloss sweetness is complemented by unusual notes of toasted almonds and cinnamon and a hint of crisp tannin.
Finish: Long lasting with a savoured sweet oakiness.
Looking for more cost effective options? Try these.
Larceny – This smooth, small batch, sipping bourbon uses wheat as the secondary grain rather than the more conventional choice of rye and just won Top 20 Spirit in the World.
Elijah Craig Small Batch – Producers discontinued the 12 year old expression and created this to take its place. But if you’re a fan of Elijah Craig, this one definitely maintains their standard for high quality and its delicious backed apple and honey flavor.