12 Christmas presents for whisky geeks

The 1st of December usually means I need to start compiling a list of Christmas gifts. Mrs. C and the in-laws start poking around for hints. Three years ago I found this a daunting task. But then I fell in love with whisky… Things got a lot easier. Now I’m keeping a Pinterest list with interesting bottles, books and movies and by the end of the year I’m capable of compiling a shortlist that fits into the budget.

I understand that finding a bottle or any other whisky gift can be pretty daunting given the massive choice specialist stores are offering. Keep in mind this is my personal list. I’m sharing it with you to inspire you. (If you have a suggestion, feel free to post it in the comments.).

If you are looking to buy a bottle for a significant other as a Christmas present, make note of the brands in his or her cabinet. A knowledgeable shopkeeper should be able to help you pick the perfect bottle with that list.


1. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2017

Ingvar Ronde’s Yearbook is essential reading. You get 5 to 6 in-depth articles by renown authors, tons of whisky trivia by distillery and interesting numbers on sales and exports. An essential reference guide as well as a pleasure to read.

2. Aenas Macdonald’s Whisky

Aenas Macdonald’s little book on whisky is almost 100 years old yet still relevant. John Glaser would probably be a close friend of him since they share the same love for transparency. One of the first books that puts an emphasis on single malts and as it turns out a very prophetic book.

3. A Table

Martine Nouet’s new book combines her love for whisky and food. She was a chef by trade and a professional whisky writer by heart. A table is your guide to pair whisky with food and gives insights into the magic (and science) of food pairing.

4. Maclean’s Miscellany of Whisky 3d edition

Charles Maclean is a living legend as a whisky author. His Miscellany of Whisky is a collection of little tidbits of trivia and information on whisky. A light and amusing read for cold winter nights. With a dram as company.

Whisky boeken

Blended whiskies

5. Compass Box The Spice Tree

Spice Tree lies at the very basis of Compass Box’ reputation. The use of inner staves was only their first quarrel with the SWA. This spicy whisky uses French oak for the cask ends and American oak for the casks itself.

6. Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker has to be one of the most recognised brands in the world. The Double Black is a smokier version of the classic Black label. The whisky containis a higher percentage of Islay malts from Lagavulin and Caol Ila.

7. Wemyss Malts Spice King Batch Strength

The limited edition of Spice King is a seriously beefed up edition of their classic spicy blend with signature malts from Scotland’s West Coast.

8. Douglas Laing’s Big Peat Christmas 2016 edition

Douglas Laing has a tradition of releasing a Christmas edition of their well-known blended malt Big Peat. Big bold Islay flavours to battle the cold. This year they also released a 12yo Scallywag dressed up as a reindeer. A Speyside blend with classic Christmas pudding flavours. The Scallywag sold out already. So there's only Big Peat to choose. Easy...

Whisky blends - Christmas gits from The Whisky Exchange

Single malt whiskies

9. Kilkerran 12

The first whisky with an age statement from Kilkerran and already challenging Springbank 10 as the must-taste whisky from Campbeltown.

10. The Laddie Ten 2nd edition

Bruichladdich is probably my favourite whisky brand. They bind you as a customer by giving extra bits of information of their whiskies and how they manage things on an island. Lots of Laddie fans have been awaiting the new ten year old trilogy (Laddie, Port Charlotte and Octomore). So have I.

11. Tomatin 14yo 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine casks always seem to attract my attention. It’s often a hit or miss but given my experience with the 12yo Manzanilla finish and 14yo Port matured Tomatin I’m eager to try this one too. I have a feeling the delicate fruity spirit of Tomatin could work like a charm with Cabernet Sauvignon casks.

12. Glenfarclas 15

Glenfarclas is the Springbank equivalent in Speyside. Doing most of the production in-house and (mostly) sticking to age statements and having a nose for good sherry casks. The 15yo is an instant classic and deserves a place in every cabinet.

single malt whiskies - Christmas gits from The Whisky Exchange

And one last idea…

Le Nez du whisky

This is the ultimate gift for every whisky geek. Le nez du whisky is a set of 54 common flavours to be found in whisky. It is used by professionals in the industry to train their nose. At €330 it’s a bit expensive though…

[caption id="attachment_1695" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Le nez du whisky Picture: The Whisky Exchange[/caption]

That's it. These are my 12 gifts for Christmas. I hope it inspires you to compile your own list. But I have a feeling it shouldn't be too hard... Most of them can be bought from The Whisky Exchange. Happy hunting!