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The very best whiskies (and whiskeys) for Christmas 2019

By LLM Reporters on 28th November 2019

The festive season is well and truly upon us, and with that in mind, our thoughts have naturally turned to listing our favourite whiskies (Scottish spelling), or whiskeys (Irish spelling), for Christmas.

Whether you’re looking to buy a gift for a loved one, or treat yourself with a dram of something special, the experts over at Spirit Smuggler (the leading website for spirit reviews) have rounded up the very best whiskies from around the world that are perfect for this time of year.

From experimental bourbons to extravagantly-priced Scotch, these really are the tastiest bottles you can drink, or gift, this Christmas.

Rebel Yell French Oak Barrel Special Finish 70cl (45%)

Rebel Yell - French Barrel Special Finish

The new Rebel Yell French Oak Barrel Special Finish is the first bourbon that Lux Row Distiller’s hasn’t released for sale in the US. Featuring more depth and complexity in terms of its layer of flavour, this small batch bourbon is finished in toasted French oak barrels for six months. Boasting a robust mouth feel with plenty of oak, spice and a hint of chocolate and ginger on the rear palate, this is a whiskey everyone will appreciate.

Price: £30

Available from: Master of Malt

Old Pulteney 12 Years Old 70cl (40%)

One to savour for whisky lovers and newbies alike, this sparkling gold malt hailing from the northerly Scottish coastal town of Wick is the perfect festive gift. This unashamedly excellent single malt marries together the briny notes from the sea with the influence of ex-bourbon American oak casks to create Old Pulteney’s classic expression. Firm bodied and smooth, Old Pulteney 12 Years Old offers up sweet notes of honey and cream which develop into ripe, fruity overtones and fresh spice. A distinctive sea salt top note – the result of a lifetime in partnership with the sea – meets with soft citrus, dark caramel sweetness and creamy vanilla undertones. Lively with a slight salt on the long-lasting finish, this 40% ABV, chill filtered whisky makes for the ideal festive gift.

Price: £32

Available from: Old Pulteney

Roe and Co Blended Irish Whiskey 70cl (45%)

Roe and Co is a premium blended Irish whiskey (Irish spelling), combining signature smoothness with remarkable depth of flavour. It’s made from the finest hand-selected stocks of Irish malt and grain whiskies, aged in 100% bourbon casks. It is creamy, sweet with notes of vanilla, spiced pears with a silky smooth texture.

Price: £33.15

Available from: Waitrose

Maker’s Mark in Christmas Jumper 70cl (45%)

In 1954, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels Sr fulfilled his dream of creating a handmade and delicious small batch bourbon. It’s made from red winter wheat, imparting a sweeter taste than most traditional bourbons and is matured for six years before being bottled and sealed, by hand, with the signature red wax to give it a distinctive look.

Price: £33.95

Available from: Amazon

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey 70cl (42%)

A lovely, light and drinkable whiskey, Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey is also complex with a depth of flavour beyond its years. American oak Bourbon barrels bring sweet honey and smooth vanilla notes, laying down the foundations of the flavours. Spanish oak Oloroso barrels layer on dried fruit, and nutty flavours. On the nose the whiskey is rich with dark fruit, cherry, raisin, fig and Christmas pudding.

Price: £33.95

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

anCnoc 12 Years Old 70cl (40%)

This is an award winning single malt with something for everyone. Crafted using traditional methods yet offering a distinctly modern style of whisky – soft and aromatic with hints of honey on the nose, sweet and light to taste with a long, smooth finish. A must have malt in any whisky drinker’s collection, it’s the perfect gift this Christmas.

Price: £34.50

Available from: Royal Mile Whiskies

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey 70cl (46%)

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey is a deliciously creamy, spicy and rich blended Irish whiskey. Each step of The Teeling Small Batch process, from hand selecting casks of grain and malt whiskey, blending each batch to taste, and finishing in only the highest quality rum casks, gives Teeling Small Batch Irish whiskey its distinct taste and extra spice. Encased in a sophisticated, premium gift box, it’s the perfect gift this Christmas season.

Price: £34.95

Available from: Master of Malt

Tomatin 12 Year Old 70cl (43%)

Tomatin’s 12 Year Old expression is smooth and silky, matured in a combination of traditional Scotch, Bourbon and Sherry casks providing a traditional yet distinctive whisky. The 12 Year Old’s rich fruity aroma is the prelude to sweet flavours of apples, pears and a subtle hint of nut before a long pleasantly oily finish.

Price: £35.90

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

Kinahan’s Blended Irish Whiskey 70cl (46%)

Matured for at least six years, Kinahan’s Blended Irish Whiskey is a full-flavoured blend with notes of green apple, dark chocolate and mint.

Price: £36.45

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl (45.8%)

Talisker 10 Year Old is the ideal gift for the adventurer in your life. Smooth and smoky with a comforting afterglow, the classic stalwart of the Talisker family is the perfect companion after a day experiencing the elements. This drink is best served neat to toast Christmas Day, or in a warming festive cocktail such as the Talisker Toddy or Campfire Chocolate, to be enjoyed with friends and family. Talisker 10 Year Old is much-loved around the world for its maritime sea-salt flavour. Double distilled to create a rich, deep character embodying characteristics of a coastal whisky, it is one of the most awarded single malt Scotch whiskies in the world. With a famously rich and powerful peat-smoke flavour, this spirit leaves a warm peppery taste at the back of the mouth.

Price: £39.45

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

Fettercairn 12 Year Old 70cl (40%)

An enviable addition to any whisky connoisseurs collection this Christmas, Fettercairn 12 Year Old tastes as good as it looks. Amber honey in colour, our Fettercairn 12 Year Old is aged in American Oak ex-bourbon barrels providing a taste profile that is similar to the tropical notes of beer. With hints of vanilla, pear and soft spices on the nose; nectarine, tropical fruit and and roasted coffee on the palate; this exceptional single malt finishes with hints of bold black toffee and sultanas. Perfect for sophisticated sipping or sharing socially with fellow whisky lovers, Fettercairn 12 Year Old is a gift they won’t forget this festive season.

Price: £41.95

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Organic 70cl (43%)

Benromach Whisky

The world’s first organic single malt Scotch whiskey. Sumptuous, sweet and malty aroma with notes of vanilla, toffee and hints of banana. Creamy pepper and sweet fruit flavours await the palate, with a lingering finish. Aged for at least seven years in virgin oak casks for a glowing golden-brown hue.

Price: £50

Available from: Abel & Cole

The English Whisky Company Smokey Single Malt Whisky 70cl (46%)

With wonderful aromas of wood fires and hints of date and caramel, this indulgent small batch whisky is beautifully-balanced and delicious. Rich and moreish, the delicious fruitiness given by the virgin cask along with the wafts of wood fire combine to give Smokey Virgin a memorable taste that you’ll want to savour. With just 2652 bottles produced, Smokey Virgin whisky also makes the ideal festive gift for ardent whisky fans looking for something new and special.

Price: £51.99

Available from: English Whisky

Loch Lomond 18 Year Old 70cl (46%)

SML Loch Lomond 18 year old

Full-bodied and elegant, the Loch Lomond 18 Year Old is a single malt to savour. Matured in the finest oak casks hand-selected by the distillery’s then master cooper, it delivers aromas of green apple and grapefruit punctuated by a soft sweetness derived over time from the character of the wood. A subtle hint of peat and smoke ensures it remains wonderfully rounded. Non-chill filtered so it is enjoyed as natured intended the Loch Lomond 18 Year Old will be welcomed warmly by any lucky whisky drinkers who receive it as a gift.

Price: £69.95

Available from: Loch Lomond Whiskies

Tamdhu 15 Year Old 70cl (46%)

Tamdhu is well-known and much-adored for its excellent use of sherry casks, and those of you with a penchant for single malt with heavy sherry influence will be delighted to know that the distillery’s 15 Year Old expression continues that theme. This one has spent is maturation in oloroso sherry casks, resulting in generous helpings of dark fruit and Christmas spice.

Price: £79.80

Available from: Master of Malt

Gordon and MacPhail 1999 from Old Pulteney Distillery 70cl (56.5%)

G&M_Connoisseurs Choice_Pulteney 1999_CS_56

Located in the far north of the Scottish Highlands, Old Pulteney Distillery was established in 1826 in the historic Caithness fishing port of Wick. Known as a ‘maritime malt’, the liquid, distilled in close proximity to the coast, has an edge of salt to its otherwise sweet and malty style. The Gordon and MacPhail 1999 from Old Pulteney Distillery is a warm and rich 19-year-old whisky laid down on 26 October 1999 in cask no.1457, a refill Sherry butt. Spending its whole life in the hand-selected cask, the liquid has taken on the spiced fruit aromas reminiscent of the festive season. Just 554 bottles are available for purchase from selected specialist whisky retailers internationally.

Price: £141

Available from: Gordon and MacPhail

Royal Salute 21 Year Old Blended Malt 70cl (40%)

The Malts Blend is one of two new additions to Royal Salute’s 21 Year Old range, the first since the brand’s inception. Crafted with over 21 precious single malts, this new blend is an indulgent and profound Scotch with notes of orchard fruits and subtle spices housed in a beautifully crafted porcelain flagon.

Price: £150

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

WhistlePig 12 Year Old World 75cl (43%)

Mince pie in one hand, WhistlePig 12 Year in the other – it is Christmas epitomised. A marriage of whiskeys that have been aged in New American Oak and finished in Madeira (63%), French Sauternes (30%) and Port (7%) casks; the Old World 12 year rye is a result of a 4 year long experiment. The final blend features a nose of winter fruit and caramel, followed by a palate of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Price: £175

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

The Octave Premium Strathclyde 1990 28 Year Old from Duncan Taylor 70cl (50.4%)

Innovators of maturation in Octave casks, Huntly-based Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has significantly extended their range, with the launch of eight new premium Octave whiskies to the market. These premium Octave™ whiskies have been held in sherry casks to intensify the flavour and add a dimension to their flavour profiles, bringing out the best in each rare dram. Presented in beautiful packaging befitting of their provenance, these whiskies are limited in their numbers. This is their Strathclyde 1990, 28 year old.

Price: £190

Available from: The Spirits Embassy

Macallan Edition 5 Whisky, 70cl (48.5%)

Luxury whisky brand The Macallan has collaborated with Pantone Color Institute for its new, colour-focused The Macallan Edition No.5. And the whisky inside is every bit as unique; The Macallan Edition No.5, is matured in 100% American oak casks, which have been handpicked for their colour to deliver a Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky with an intriguingly intense flavour and beautifully pale amber hue. It has a delicious aroma of vanilla and toffee with notes of oak, nutmeg, ginger, lemon basil and pear. On the palate, it is fresh and sweet, with caramel moving into poached peaches and ripe pear, quickly followed by a toffee sweetness with light oak spices in the form of nutmeg and hints of ginger in the background.

Price: £199.99

Available from: The Bottle Club

Glenfiddich Grand Cru 70cl (40%)

Glenfiddich reimagines moments of celebration with the exciting launch of Glenfiddich Grand Cru. An exclusive and innovative expression matured for 23 years and finished in rare French cuvée oak casks, Grand Cru blends together the finest flavours from Scotland and France to create a true taste of luxury.

Price: £220

Available from: Glenfiddich

WhistlePig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve 75cl (57.9%)

A quality gift for a whiskey connoisseur, the fifth edition in the Boss Hog series, The Spirit of Mauve is the most profound and exclusive of the WhistlePig portfolio. The 13 Year Straight Rye is finished in Calvados Casks; featuring a nose of tobacco, vanilla and mulled cider, lending to a palate of maple syrup and warming French oak spice.

Price: £650

Available from: Master of Malt

Glen Scotia 45 Year Old 70cl (43.8%)

The oldest and rarest expression ever to be released by the Campbeltown distillery, Glen Scotia 45 Year Old is an exclusive single malt Scotch whisky limited to 150 bottles worldwide. Each bottle is encased in a striking handcrafted walnut case featuring a delicate tile engraved with the individual bottle number and tasting notes, making it a truly unique gift this Christmas. Dominated by maritime influences and embodying all the unique facets of a Campbeltown single malt, on the nose, Glen Scotia 45 Year Old presents bold coastal elements, as well as sweet notes of ripe pineapple, crisp green apple, rose and vanilla. The palate is caramel sweetness, juicy fruit with pineapple, mango and watermelon rounded by vanilla and honey. Distilled in 1973, the whisky matured in refill bourbon casks for over three decades before being finished in first fill bourbon under the watchful eye of master distiller, Michael Henry until bottling in 2019.

Price: £3,800

Available from: The Whisky Shop