Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whiskey Wednesday: 'Tis the Season for Whiskey Gifts

Looking through the last year of Whiskey Wednesdays, I tried to come up with some whiskey oriented gift suggestions.

People often ask me what to get for their Whiskey Loving Loved Ones (WLLOs), and it's probably the hardest question around. There are so many variables that I hate to recommend something as a gift without knowing someone's particular taste, but with that caveat, here are a few whiskies and whiskey related items that would make great gifts for any whiskey lover.

1. Gifts for the Whiskey Novice

Two excellent introductory books for the beginning whiskey lover in your life.

For the beginning Scotch lover: The Instant Expert's Guide to Single Malt Scotch by Kevin Erskine is a must-have for anyone just getting into the wonders of Scotch. As I noted earlier this year, even a more experienced Scotch drinker can learn something from this slim but valuable volume.

For the beginning Bourbon lover: Bourbon, Straight by Charles Cowdery is an introduction to American whiskey (Bourbon, Tennessee and Rye) which includes general information, trivia and history. As with the Instant Expert's Guide, this is a must have for the enthusiast.

2. Bourbon

Buffalo Trace, the spicy standard bottling by the greatest Bourbon distiller in the country is now available in California for around $25.00. It's a great Bourbon with a nice rye kick.

Elijah Craig 18 year old single barrel Bourbon. As I noted last week, this is a fabulous Bourbon at a great price -- about $35 at most premium liquor stores. It really does not get much better in the world of Bourbon.

3. Rye

Sazerac Rye - both the standard bottling and the 18 year old are wonderful ryes with a subtle spice. Available at K&L Wine Merchants for $24 and $55, respectively.

4. Scotch

Want to surprise your Scotch loving friend? Do it with a bottle of Suntory Yamazaki Japanese Whisky. The Japanese whiskey industry is in full swing and both the 12 and 18 year olds are great whiskies. They won't believe it's not Scotch.

For an extravagant gift for your truly advanced Scotch lover, try a bottle of the ulta-hyped, ultra-collectible Bruichladdich PC5. I haven't yet reviewed this smoky 5 year old Islay malt (that review will be coming in January), but it is all the rage, and priced as such. Last time I was at Wine & Liquor Depot in Van Nuys, they still had a shelf full of bottles going for $120 a piece, and there were four left on the shelf at The Wine House in West LA as late as yesterday. Is it worth that much? Who knows, but it is definitely the flavor of the month in the Scotch world.

Happy Holidays

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