Along with socks or a good book, a bottle of single malt is a Christmas cliché. Don’t get us wrong, a fine whisky is never to be sniffed at, but we’ve got a drinks cabinet overflowing with Scotch — and could do with something a little more special. We’d wager you could, too.
As such, we’ve got into the Christmas spirits, and uncorked some of the best bottles to gift this Christmas. There’s everything from rum to mezcal to gin to sake on here (of course, Scotch also makes an appearance…). So whip out your Christmas list and get ticking off — because there’s a bottle on here for everyone.
If you’re going to go for whisky, go for something special
As we said, you don’t want just another bottle of whisky. But there are some offerings out there that will raise your bar — literally. Chief among them is Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label Ghost and Rare, and its latest iteration; The Glenlury Royal. Focusing on the spirit and character of closed distillery Glenlury Royal, it combines grain whisky from Cameronbridge distillery with rare single malts from Glen Elgin in a fruity, sweet bottling.
Alternatively, if your price point is a little lower, why not plump for The Macallan’s Gold Single Malt? The brand’s use of 100% sherry oak casks delivers a rich, golden colour, with plenty of lemon citrus and orange peel softened with vanilla, toasted apple sweetness and hints of ginger and cinnamon. Or you could always go bourbon; the Double Oaked whiskey from Woodford Reserve is finished in slightly toasted barrels for a fun spin on a classic.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
The Macallan Gold Single Malt Whisky
There are some very handsome bottles of gin out there
With whisky, we told you not to go too boring — and the same can be said for gin. And it’s not hard. There are some cracking bottles out there, in terms of both looks and taste. One of our particular favourites this year is Edinburgh’s Navy Strength Cannonball Gin, intensely flavoured with Szechuan peppercorns, oriental spices and a tang of lemon zest. It’s got twice the juniper content of a normal gin, and packs a punch for your Boxing Day G&T.
Alternatively, go for showy with Hendricks. The eccentric British brand has dreamt up a special edition penguin pourer for its Christmas gift set — through which you can serve the smooth, balanced spirit. Or, if you want to gift a bottle that will turn heads, pick up Zealot’s Heart Handmade Gin, a proprietary gin, made from scratch by BrewDog in unique triple-bubble stills.
Edinburgh Navy Strength Cannonball Gin
Hendricks Gin with Penguin Pourer
Zealots Heart London Dry Gin
You can never go too tropical when gifting a rum
We like our rums unapologetically flavourful. From the big established names to some boutiquey special editions, we want them soaked in Caribbean sun, packed with fruity flavours and tasty enough to be sipped neat. Thankfully, these three options tick all the tropical boxes, starting with Bacardi’s Gran Reserva Diez; the best of the best characterised by a balance of caramelised vanilla and oak with banana, pear and melon.
The Duppy Share Rum, also, is a tasty shot of tropical fun. A blend of three-year-old Jamaican rum and five-year-old Barbadian rum, it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels for a hit of subtle oak. Or, if you’re looking for a serious XO rum, wrap up a bottle of Plantation’s XO Barbados 20th Anniversary — aged in bourbon barrels before being shipped to France for a secondary maturation in Cognac casks from the Ferrand house. The ideal Christmas indulgence.
Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez
The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum
Plantation XO Barbados 20th Anniversary
Broaden their horizons with an alternative spirit
Here at Gentleman’s Journal, we’re proud proponents of little known spirits and bottlings. In fact, we make it our mission to turn our spotlight on some of these lesser sipped tipples. This year, we’ve explored many — and these are some of the best. Bozal’s Ruiza Mezcal is an ideal alternative for any tequila lovers in your life, with distinctive flavours of rich tropical fruit and sweet potato, followed by a smoky finish.
If you know someone who’s a fan of far eastern flavours, why not pop a bottle of sake in their stocking? This Soto bottling of the rice wine is created with the highest quality rice and clear mountain water for a delicate, smooth sake with elegant floral aromas and an earthy palate with plenty of umami. Or head back to South America for a taste of citrusy cachaça in a distinctive bottle from CapuCana.
Keep them in good spirits all year with a subscription
Of course, if one bottle just isn’t enough, why not gift a subscription this Christmas? They’re the gifts that keep on giving, and every time a dram or shot drops through their door throughout the year, they’ll raise a glass to you. There are some corking options out there, starting with a strait-laced membership to the world’s leading whisky club; The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
If they’re a little more experimental, why not sign them up for Flaviar? The whiskey club for explorers, this offering will deliver drams from across the world, including wild flavours and boutique bottlings. Or, if they’re more of a gin lover, it has to be the Sipsmith Sipping Society; a marvellous year of experimental gin sipping from Britain’s most eccentric spiritmaker.
Looking for some food to go with those bottles? Here are the best Christmas hampers…