I was asked by a friend to recommend a whisky to buy for his father’s birthday. I came up with a few suggestions, and thought that actually, since I get asked this quite frequently, I might as well blog it as well, since we’re now on the lead-up to Christmas…
I thought I’d leave aside the regular favourites (Talisker 10, Laphroaig 10 and quarter cask, Bowmore Legend, Lagavulin 16…) and come up with a few specialties. But of course, it all depends on your budget and the recipient’s tastes. From about £35 up, you can get some really incredible special occasion whisky.
I’ve linked to Royal Mile Whiskies – a good place to buy online, but you can find all of this stuff elsewhere, and it may be cheaper if you hunt around.
If they’d like something really smoky and peaty, then you can’t beat an Ardbeg Uigeadail for about £50. An amazing whisky and definitely on my wishlist.
Mid-range, I’m a big fan of the Longrow 10 year-old 100 proof (£42). Put water in this one – it’s cask strength – 57%.
For about £37, you can’t go wrong with the Isle of Jura 16 year-old. It’s the islanders’ favourite for good reason – and definitely one to be shared with friends. Everyone likes this.
For something more fruity and cakey, I’d go with the Balblair 1989 (with a couple of freebie samples for yourself thrown in for good measure). An absolute bargain for a very good 21 year-old whisky at £44.
Somewhat more expensive (£60) and not quite as peaty as the Ardbeg (though up that same end of the taste spectrum) – my personal favourite, The Lagavulin 1994 Distillers Edition.
Getting up to £85 the Glenrothes 1985 is astonishingly good (fruit cake, marmalade & chocolate). Real artisan stuff.
And amazingly well-priced, but totally awesome – the Aberlour A’bunadh, which is cask strength (60%!) and you’d swear it was made out of raisins. Inexplicably £35 – should be much more.
Finally, while you’re there, do yourself a favour and grab a bottle of King’s Ginger liqueur. £20 a bottle and it is astonishingly great. The taste of Christmas. Good with a bit of whisky splashed into it as well.
There are, of course, lots of other Scotch whiskies that you may enjoy – and plenty of varieties that will make exceptional gifts. These are the ones that sprang to mind when asked. Enjoy.