If this is December, it must be time for holiday booze giving. Here are my recommendations for some fabulous holiday gifts for your whiskey loving friends and loved ones.
Scotch: There were lots of new Scotch releases this year, but some of the most interesting were from K&L's exclusive casks. I have only made it through a hand full of these so far, but they have all been very good to great. I recently reviewed the Bladnoch ($90) and the GlenDronach ($116) which are both fabulous. While I haven't formally reviewed it yet, my other favorite so far is the 1975 Banff, though it's a higher end gift ($225). You can find them all on the right hand column of the K&L Spirits Blog.
Bourbon & Rye: Another retailer wins the day here. If K&L is the go to place for private barrel Scotch, then The Party Source, in Kentucky, plays that role for American Whiskey. The Party Source's private barrel cask strength Abraham Bowman Rye ($73) was, in my opinion, the best new American whiskey of the year. They also released a couple of Bowman bourbons, all of this from the newly revitalized, Buffalo Trace owned A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Virginia. Check it out at The Party Source.
Budget Bourbon & Rye: For more budget conscious gifts, I'd suggest two new whiskeys made by LDI (Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana). Willett 3 year old Rye ($36) is a solid, spicy number that will be fun for any rye fan. Redemption High Rye Bourbon ($25) has elements of sweet and spicy and, while the sweet is a bit more dominant, it is an easy drinker and good for the price.
Cognac: At the risk of looking like a K&L shill, my favorite Cognac of the year, by far, was the single barrel, uncut, unfiltered Paul Marie & Fils from Cognac bottler Nicolas Palazzi, sold through K&L's Faultline Spirits label. This is one of the few unfiltered, cask strength Cognacs available, and it is just brimming with flavor. ($130 only at K&L).
Cocktails: If you know a cocktail lover who goes for the classics, you owe them a bottle of the High West Distillery's 36th Vote Barrelled Manhattan. Using their rye, High West makes a Manhattan and then barrel ages it. The ageing takes off some of the sweet edge and gives it a subtle, smooth disposition. Great stuff! ($45).