The holidays are right around the corner, and if you still have gifts to buy, here’s a handy little guide. I’ve listed some of my favorite bourbons of the past year. I’ve posted about some of these here on AdventuresInWhiskey.com. What you won’t find on this list are super-rare, ultra-premium releases. The bourbons listed here are widely available, for the most part, in most higher-end liquor stores. Each entry in the list contains two bourbons of different price points from the same family. Want to buy something other than whiskey? I’ve got some non-whiskey holiday items that I’ve enjoyed throughout the year.
Whiskies, in no particular order:
1. Bulleit 10 year old bourbon ($45) is a slightly more mature version of Bulleit. The extra time in the barrel helps bring out more of the vanilla and oak notes. If you’re looking for something cheaper along those lines, you can’t go wrong with Bulleit bourbon ($30). It’s great neat and makes for a old fashioned.
2. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof ($50) is a monster of a bourbon. Not for the faint at heart. It’s barrel proof, so that means no added water. In this case, that equates to a delicious full flavored bourbon. Elijah Craig 12 ($27) is a nice substitute for the budget-minded. Its the one I generally refer people to when asked which bourbon to buy.
3. George Dickel 9 year old ($40) is a single barrel offering of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. You’ll have to check with your local store to see if they carry it. Full of caramel, vanilla and oak. My bottle has become one of my favorites. George Dickel No. 12 ($25) is one of the better whisky values on the shelf.
4. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked ($50) offers more of that great oak flavor in your bourbon while still staying young and vibrant. Woodford Reserve ($32) is no slouch and comes recommended as a nice everyday whiskey. This is the first premium bourbon I fell in love with.
5. Four Roses Single Barrel ($35/$50) comes in two slightly different versions. There’s the standard single barrel bottled at 100 proof, and the more expensive private selection bottled at barrel strength. Really, you can’t go wrong with either one. Four Roses Yellow Label ($20) is a budget-priced, lighter style bourbon that’s great as a daily sipper.
1. Noble jeans from Noble Denim. Everything from these guys is handmade. I can attest to the quality and fit of their raw denim jeans (I received a pair of their small batch barrel-aged jeans. While not completely broken in, they fit like a glove).
2. Books. Nothing like reading a whiskey book while drinking a little whiskey. “American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit” by Clay Risen profiles more than 200 American whiskies. Another one aimed at the whiskey novice is “Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life” by Heather Greene. This one is full of stories and is a nice guide through the world of whiskey.
3. Ice Spheres mold. The larger surface area on these ice spheres melt slower, diluting your whiskey less. Plus they look great in your glass.