December is a boom month for booze buying, thanks to an endless parade of festive gatherings, feats, and gift-giving. While a bottle of whisky can be a great gift, unless you’re shopping for a whisky lover who isn’t shy about sharing their wish list, staring at the shelves can be a bit daunting.
Whiskies from around the globe each have their own characteristics, and certain varieties or blends are known for hallmark tasting notes, from sweet to smokey. And, of course, there’s the issue of price; you can’t cheap out, but you might be able to impress with a great value and not go broke.
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To help us figure out what to buy for any whisky drinker who might be on our gift list, we turned to Adele Shaw, Category Manager, Retail Services – Merchandising for the BCLDB. Shaw walked us through her picks for some standout values in the whisky section of BC Liquor Stores for holiday gifting, and who on your list to give each one to.
For the drinker who wants something “world famous”: Crown Royal – Northern Harvest Rye ($36.99 until December 31)
You’ve probably heard about the Crown Royal TK, because it’s won some high-profile acclaim in the last little while. Drinkers who are keen to get a taste of something that is making waves in the whisky world will appreciate this winning tipple named 2017 Canadian Whisky of the Year. As a great bonus, BC Liquor Stores have an exclusive on the mickey size (375 mL) at a wallet-friendly $19.99.
For a whisky loving lady: Makers Mark – Kentucky Bourbon ($45.99)
“Bourbon’s on fire,” says Shaw. If you want to give some holiday spirits and are shopping for a woman who loves whisky, or even for someone who is just getting into whisky, a smooth option like Makers Mark will fit the bill.
For a traditional, older scotch drinker: Chivas Regal 12-year-old ($48.99 until December 31)
When gifting a more traditional scotch drinker, a blend can be a safe bet. While blends aren’t necessarily trendy, seasoned drinkers will appreciate its refined taste and honey notes.
For the Jack Daniel’s lover: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select ($50.99)
“If you know someone who loves Jack, this is what you step up to,” says Shaw, noting that each batch will offer a unique flavour that’s comprised of the backbone taste of regular Jack Daniel’s, but nuances of the individual cask.
For anyone who doubts they can enjoy whisky: Glenmorangie 10-year-old The Original ($67.99)
If you’re taking a gamble, or attempting to lure someone over to the whisky side, the Glenmorangie is a great bet. It’s a great value for a single malt, and is “a versatile whisky that can be enjoyed on the rocks or straight,” notes Shaw. It’s a great intro bottle, and not at all peated, but rather boasts citrus and honey flavours.
For the Canadian whisky fan: J.P. Wiser’s Union 52 Canadian Whisky ($69.99)
A well-reviewed blend, Shaw calls the J.P. Wiser’s Union 52 “really fun and exciting,” thanks to its unique profile. Wiser created a blend of Canadian whisky and 52-year-old highland malt scotch to create this new product. BC Liquor Stores is the only place you’ll find this, and you’ll only find it in BC to boot.
For the whisky drinker who always wants something new: Suntory Whisky- Hibiki Japanese Harmony ($119.99)
Japanese whiskies represent a “hot category,” says Shaw. Complete with beautiful packaging, the Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a light delicate whisky that will please anyone who is looking for something a bit more delicate, or for a trend-seeking whisky drinker.
For the daring whisky drinker: Lagavulin – 16-Year-Old ($124.99)
If you’re buying for someone who really likes a powerful taste, the “smokey and peppery notes” of the peaty Lagavulin is a bold option, suggests Shaw.