Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Whiskey (and Spirits) Gifts

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).

Happy holidays!


sam k said...

Great list, sku. I'm in total agreement on the 36th Vote. it was a pleasant surprise, and another in a lengthening line of innovative products from High West.

I'd also add Bulleit rye ($25) to your short list of budget favorites. It has sparked positive conversation anywhere I've taken it, and I'm looking forward to making a batch of Rock & Rye from it soon!

sku said...

Thanks Sam. Great addition on Bulleit Rye. I haven't formally reviewed it yet, but I've had it on a few occasions and it seems like a good spicy rye which would be especially good for cocktails, and the price is right.

Ryan Murphy said...

The Abraham Bowman Rye is my favorite whiskey of all time. It's such amazing stuff I am still constantly surprised at how good it is every time I pour it.

fan said...

hi sku, great list. thanks for sharing your recs!

also, had a question: out of curiosity, have you seen the Glenfarclas 12 anywhere locally? Is it scarce? And what about the Glenmorangie Astar? Haven't been able to find either in the usual places where I go, and I was wondering... and it's not possible to email John Hansell to ask :p

sku said...

fan, I don't know of any shortage. Looking on-line, both K&L and Hi-Time list the Glenfarclas 12. Hi-Time also has the Astar.

fan said...

Thanks! Yeah, it seems like the LA stores have them in stock -- should have taken advantage of it while I was there. They're tough to find in NY, except at Park Avenue Liquors, where the prices are high enough that stuff will stick around... I think I'm going to splurge today on the Glenfarclas 17. Anyways, keep up the posting!