The Angels’ Share: Holiday Gift Guide 2013.

It has been a long time since I’ve wrote about whisky but between the cold weather and the fast approaching holiday season it was about time that we discussed what kind of scotch should be on your shopping list this year. I have selected five whiskies that are easy on the wallet(relatively) but also fall off the well worn path of the major brands. Finding a whisky for a gift can be difficult if you don’t know the person you’re buying for’s tastes. I have also laid out which of these whiskies is best for the particular person you are buying for.

For The Uninitiated:

anCnoc 1994

This offering from the highland Knockdhu Distillery is a bit of a mind blower for it’s $75 price tag. anCnoc was one of my first introductions to single malt when I started with the Liquor Stores Group in Calgary. This vintage distillation bring back memories of getting into single malt. With its mellow grainy flavours which allow the beginner to really understand what single malt is all about and its bittersweet finish of toffee fudge and espresso this whisky is a great intro into single malt. The packaging is also fantastic and looks awesome behind the bar.

For The Sweet Tooth:

Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 46

Aberlour is a big distillery and the a’Bunadh is an old friend to many seasoned whisky drinkers. That familiarity is great but it’s also technically a deep cut. a’Bunadh is a cask strength, non-chill filtered single malt that is produced in limited quantities. This means the variance between batches can be pretty big. a’Bunadh is a great dram for those who like something sweet because of the aggressive sherry aging. This gives the whisky not only sweetness but a great heavy palate which makes it great for dilution, since this whisky clocks in around 55-60% alcohol. This means the bang for your buck is pretty fantastic, and you are able to dilute the whisky to your taste. This one comes in at around $100.

For The Smoke Eater:

Port Charlotte PC9

You don’t need to fight fires to eat a little bit of smoke. Bruichladdie’s other distillery at Port Charlotte has been creating a series of heavily peated single malt whiskies, bottled at cask strength. For the past ten years this special project has produced a series of super peated, cask strength whisky that is coveted by true whisky drinkers. With notes of peat smoke, sea air, creme brûlée, black pepper, citrus and molasses, this whisky runs the gamete of spice, smoke, bitterness, and sweetness. All of this comes in at around $150 dollars for a whisky that sits around 58% alcohol.

For The Collector:

Springbank Batch 2- That Boutique-y Whisky Company

That Boutique Whiksy Company is a independent bottler who does classic style single malt whisky with cool comic book style labels. But these whiskies aren’t just for show, the Springbank Batch 2 is a beautiful dram from one of my favourite distilleries. This Campbelltown whisky will blow your mind with it’s balance but also with big notes of honey, all spice, pepper, salted caramel and baked apples. Buy it for it’s cool label but love it for the sweet sweet nectar inside.

For The Scotch Seasoned Hound:

The Arran Malt, Amerone Cask Finish Whisky

The Arran Malt is an island whisky from the isle of Arran and they are not wildly known in Canada but their contribution to the landscape of wine cask finished whimsy cannot be denied. This particular whisky is finished in Italian Amarone casks. The influence of the powerfully extracted Italian wine made from dried grapes from Venato, is a pink hued whisky with layers of chocolate, cherry, spice and sea salt. This isn’t the first amazon aged single malt I’ve come up against but it is surely the best. What is even more impressive is the price point of around $85.