Archive for December, 2009


Lagavulin 16 (2009)

I think this is my first repeat review, but I’m going to change my rating on this one, so I wanted to write about it again. I’m talking about Lagavulin 16 (43% abv), this one bottled in 2009. This expression is surely matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks, but I can’t find any concrete description of their “recipe” like HP provides for their various expressions. My previous Laga 16 review was based on a 200ml bottle from 2006 that came with my Islay Collection pack. The price of this well known Islay single malt has dropped at the local big box liquor store (in AZ) from $80 to $70, more in line with California pricing. I hope it stays that way!

Tasting notes

Lagavulin 16 (OB); 43%; Bottled 2009

Nose: Great balance of peat smoke and sherry fruits/sweetness. The sherry isn’t strong, hinting at mixed cask maturation, but the overall effect is a rich one. It’s smoky, but not quite the camp fire you get with Ardbeg. There’s oak, but not in your face like Laphroaig QC. Definitely some iodine involved in the mix as well.
Palate: A rich, creamy mouth feel with a pleasant drying sensation and a bit of subtle spice. All parts of the tongue are involved in the experience. It could be stronger, though, with more spiciness. I think it would border on perfection if they could infuse a Talisker-like pepper and bottle it at 46-48%.
Finish: Very long, with continued drying on the tongue, along with some sweetness. Peat smoke and dried fruits linger perfectly in the back of the nostrils.

Comments: I’ve probably tried 50 additional whisky expressions since I first had Lagavulin 16. I still haven’t found a better “standard” expression, and only a couple of the premium bottlings I’ve had can equal or beat Lagavulin 16 (for my tastes). I know there are still a LOT of whiskies out there to try, but no matter what I discover in the future, this one will stand as an amazingly balanced and rewarding dram. Sure, I’d like to see it bottled at a little higher ABV, but I’m not sure they can afford to do this. It might be too good of a core expression! What would they do for an encore?

I put this right below Laphroaig 30 and HP 30, with this one being a much better value.


  • Score: 92/100 (A)
  • Bottom Line: Amazing balance and grace for a smoky, medicinal Islay malt. One of the very best.
  • Score higher if: Well, 92 points is pretty high. You’re just going to have to try it and see if it’s “special” to you.
  • Score lower if: 43% just doesn’t cut it for you anymore; you prefer a more ashy/tarry peat in your Islay malt.
  • Value: Not cheap at $65-$90, but I have no problem with the price, as I think this tops all of the 18 year malts I’ve tried in the same price range.


I compared this new 2009 bottle to the end of my 2006 Laga 16 bottle. They’re very similar, but I felt like there was a little bit of additional toffee sweetness in the 2006 version. Both on the nose and the finish. I think it was because of this that the smoke and dried fruits seemed a little more muted on the nose in the 2006 bottling. I also tried a little bit of Laphroaig Triple Wood next to the two Laga 16 drams. I really like the Laphroaig, but the sherry cask finishing just doesn’t provide quite the same level of integration and balance that the Lagavulin 16 offers.

I would compare the Laga 16 and 12 year old expressions, but they’re really completely different beasts. The 12 year (most likely matured only in bourbon casks) reminds me of a cask strength Caol Ila. Much more ashy and peppery than the 16 year. Plus, the 12 year is bottled at cask strength. The 12 year is also excellent, but you need to try both. It’s not an either-or proposition.

Other opinions

WHISKYFUN.COM by Serge has reviewed a 2009 bottle of Lagavulin 16 and gave it a very respectable 90 points. Check out Serge’s great review.

The always entertaining Ralfy recently did a video review of the Laga 16. He also gave it 90 points:

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Chivas Regal 18 (200ml)

I’m sitting at my laptop, trying not to allow my rose-colored glasses to impact the content of this post. You may have noticed the plethora of Chivas 18 blog posts hitting the net over the past couple of weeks. Well, now it’s my turn to pile on.

A PR firm working with Pernod Ricard has been sending out samples of Chivas Regal 18 and Johnnie Walker Blue to bloggers as part of a campaign to raise awareness for Chivas as a premium, gift-worthy blend. I don’t know how I got onto their radar, but don’t you dare clue them in that I’m a second-rate hack. Getting free samples is freaking awesome!

Tasting Notes

Chivas Regal 18 “Gold Signature”; 40% ABV; $50 – $60

This is a Speyside-based blend, with the Strathisla distillery (bought by Chivas Bros. in 1950) reportedly playing a key role. According to World Whiskey (by Charles Maclean), Strathisla 18 is not available commercially, so Chivas 18 is the dram to have if you want some of this rarity.

Nose: Have you ever had Apple & Cinnamon Quaker Instant Oatmeal for breakfast? That’s the combination of scents that hits me with Chivas 18. There is also some honey, bordering on toffee, sweetness. Towards the end of a long whiff, I get additional fresh fruits like apricots and cherries.
Palate: The medium body is sweet and lightly fruity. The subtle spices are so light that you’ll likely miss them completely if comparing directly with other whiskies.
Finish: Subtle fruit and maltiness, along with a little vanilla. There is a delayed drying on the tongue, and no real alcohol burn to speak of.

Comments: Having previously referred to the Chivas 12 as “enjoyable but forgettable”, I was pleasantly surprised by the Chivas 18 year. The nose actually has quite a bit going on. The palate is a bit richer than the 12 year, and the finish lasts longer, but it’s still a blend that favors politeness over impact. I definitely enjoy this more than entry-level Speyside malts such as Glenfiddich 12 and Glenlivet 12, and feel it’s worth a jump in price based on taste alone. I’ll continue to evaluate this, but I’d give it a preliminary rating of B (83-87 points). Right in line with a single malt like Bunnahabhain 12. [Hmm…maybe a head-2-head between these two is in order]


Johnnie Walker Blue; 40% ABV;  $175 – $225

I would call JW Blue more of an “Island” blend vs. the Speyside focus of the Chivas 18. I’ve decided that there is little to gain by doing a full side-by-side analysis of tasting notes because of the different profiles. However, there are certain traits that are worth comparing. Both of these blends offer interesting noses, then yield to a more polite, accessible palate and finish. The JW Blue is especially impressive in its ability to melt away in the mouth and leave faint wisps of smoke in a way that won’t scare off the casual whisky drinker.

The Balvenie Founder’s Reserve 10 Year; 43% ABV;  $40 – $50

The Balvenie FR 10 is vatted from a mix of bourbon and sherry casks, and offers a profile that is VERY similar to the Chivas 18. The nose is very close to the Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal that I described above. I don’t get the additional cherries/apricots with the FR 10, though. Perhaps not quite as much sherry influence? On the palate and finish, I think there is a little more impact and last with the Balvenie, with more spices on the tongue. I was surprised at how close these are, though.

Longmorn 16 (2009); 48% ABV;  $80 – $100

Longmorn 16

Here’s a Chivas-owned single malt from Speyside that comes in very nice packaging and seems to disappear off of the shelves more quickly during the holiday season. It’s also a key component [the primary one?] in Chivas 18. Aged strictly in bourbon casks, the profile is different than the Chivas 18 and Balvenie FR 10. However, there are some common apple and cereal notes. What I wanted to draw out is the fact that there is much more impact on the palate, and a more aggressive drying on the finish, along with some bitter/sweet interplay. Having been focused primarily on single malts during the past year, I really appreciate these stronger traits in the mouth. However, I don’t think it’s quite as safe as Chivas 18 when it comes to gifting.


Q: Is Chivas Regal 18 worth $55, and would it make a good gift?

A: Yes. I think it fits nicely between some of the entry level Speyside single malts and something like the Longmorn 16. It offers an interesting nose while remaining very accessible to the occasional whisky drinker, and it comes in nice packaging (locally, anyway, it comes in a fancy gift box similar in quality to the Longmorn 16 box). I don’t think it provides much of an improvement over Balvenie 10 FR, which costs less. However, there’s often more to perceived whisky value than taste. You’re paying for the age statement, knowing that you can’t get 18 year Strathisla anyplace else, and 18 year Longmorn is also a treat.

Q: Is Chivas Regal 18 a valid gift substitute for Johnnie Walker Blue?

A: No. If you were planning to impress somebody with a generous gift of Johnnie Walker Blue, do NOT expect to substitute Chivas 18 and get the same results. I’m not saying this is right, or that there is a quantifiable difference in the whisky itself that makes JW Blue worth 3-4 times the price. However, there is a certain mystique associated with JW Blue that a $55 blend cannot match. I’ll touch on that in a separate post.

Mystique aside, I’ll probably be scoring JW Blue a few points higher than Chivas 18 when I cover it in a separate review. There are also plenty of reasonably priced single malts that I have scored higher than either of these very pleasant blends. That doesn’t really have anything to do with the perceived value of the Chivas, though. If somebody gave me a bottle of Chivas Regal 18 for Christmas, I’d be very appreciative, and it would likely be a part of some good times with good friends in the coming months.

Other Opinions

Here are a bunch of links to other blog posts resulting from this Chivas vs. Johnnie Walker campaign. Happy reading!

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I got an email from Tom in Toronto, asking if I have a Windows version of the Easy ABVs Calculator that I wrote for the iPhone. He wants to compare varying strength whiskies at the same ABV. I don’t have a Windows version of the program, but it sounded like a good idea. Instead of writing an actual stand-alone Windows program, I decided to create a quickie Excel spreadsheet.

With this spreadsheet, you can enter up to 10 whisky expressions with their out-of-the-bottle ABV and have the spreadsheet calculate how much water to add in order to reach a desired final ABV. You can also use it to just manually enter the whisky and water volumes and have it tell you what the final ABV will be. Finally, the spreadsheet will keep track of drink units so you know your total alcohol intake for the tasting session.

Preview and download

I’ve uploaded the Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs.  Click this link to view it.

You’ll see that I’ve entered a number of Laphroaig expressions and requested that they all be converted to 40%, using 25ml of whisky as the starting point. For Batch 001 I entered an exeption, starting with 20ml of whisky. The spreadsheet is telling me to add 9 ml of water to the Batch 001, 5ml to the QC and 18, and no water needed for the Laph 10, which is already at 40%.

Downloading: From the Google Docs preview above, you should be able to click “File | Download as…” in the menu and save the spreadsheet in Excel or a number of other formats. If you don’t have Excel, you can save it as an OpenOffice spreadsheet and use something like NeoOffice (free) to use it.

Spreadsheet instructions

  1. Fill in the “Desired final ABV” that you would like all entered drinks to end up at.
  2. If you’d like to have the same total volume in each glass, then enter the “Desired total volume”. The spreadsheet will then tell you how much whisky and how much water to use for each expression.
  3. If you’d like to pour the same amount of spirit into each glass, then add water to reach the desired ABV, then enter “Desired spirit volume”, but make sure you clear out “Desired total volume” first.
  4. The Drink Unit size is used to determine how many drink units are in each pour. The standard UK and US drink sizes, as well as recommended maximum intake, are listed at the bottom of the spreadsheet. The default drink unit size is based on the U.S. recommendations.
  5. Now enter each whisky expression in the Drink Details area. The description is optional, but you need to at least enter the ABV as indicated on the bottle. If the alcohol content is listed in Proof, divide by 2.
  6. You can ignore/override the “desired” ABV and volume values by entering the Spirit and Water Volume in the Manual Calculation section. If you enter Spirit Volume here, this will override the “Desired total volume” or “Desired spirit volume” at the top of the spreadsheet.
  7. Read the Spirit and Water volume (in ml) in the Calculated Values area, as well as the number of drink units per expression. Total pure alcohol and drink units, as well as overall average ABV are in the “Totals” at the bottom.


So…what do you think? Is this something you can use? Any suggestions for modifications? You can use the links in the Scribd previews above to download the spreadsheets and use/modify them as you see fit. Like I said above, I personally prefer the second one. I just created the taller/narrower one so that it would divide things up more logically in the Scribd preview.

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Caol Ila "Unpeated Style" 2009

As with the two elder Taliskers and the Mannochmore 18 that I reviewed recently, I bought a 30ml sample of Caol Ila Unpeated 10 year from whiskysamples.eu as part of a set of 2009 Diageo Special Release samples. However, after taking a tiny sip of this CI, I proceeded to purchase a full bottle the day it became available at Loch Fyne Whiskies. I suppose I’m probably giving away the direction I’m headed with this review. 🙂

Caol Ila has historically produced their whisky primarily for blends, with the regular CS, 12 and 18 year single malts having just been introduced in 2002 [according to the Malt Whisky Yearbook]. Caol Ila is a key component of the Johnnie Walker blended whiskies. While their bread and butter is a peated malt (I love the 12 year), I guess Caol Ila has been experimenting with low/no peating for quite some time. Perhaps some of that was put into blends in the past, but their first unpeated single malt offering just hit the shelves as a special release in 2006. For the past three years, this unpeated special release was aged for 8 years, as opposed to the 10 years of the 2009 release.

Tasting Notes

Caol Ila 10 “Unpeated Style” 2009, OB, 65.8% abv

Disclaimer: I’ve been reviewing all of the cask strength special releases at full strength. In this case, the CI 10 smells great at full strength, but pretty much burns the taste buds right off my tongue. I’m going to provide my notes based on adding 1 part water to 4 parts whisky. According to my handy dandy Easy ABVs iPhone calculator, that brings it down to about 53% ABV. The great thing about CI Unpeated is that it holds up very well when adding water.

Nose: Lemon drops as the primary component, followed by rich vanilla cream and some fresh oak. With a little more time, the oak seems to turn into spices (nutmeg and ginger?).
Palate: Thoroughly entertaining. Fizzy lemon sherbet turns to ginger powder (and possibly white pepper). My tongue is all kinds of tingly.
Finish: Lemon and vanilla, with a return of the oak for a medium duration, while the spice continues to linger for a while.


My top two goto whisky experts for notes and opinions, Ruben at WhiskyNotes.be and Serge at WhiskyFun.com, both gave the CI 10 Unpeated a good score, but not a great one. This certainly isn’t the most complex whisky out there, and I can understand the desire to mark it down a little because of that.

Fortunately, I’m not a whisky expert, so I’m going to unapologetically state that I love this CI Unpeated. Sure, that wonderful Caol Ila coal smoke is gone, but the citrus is there, and it’s balanced with just the right amount of sugar and spice to make everything nice [that’s right…I just said that]. The fizzy lemon and spices make for a party in the mouth, and I can’t find anything “off” in the entire experience. This instantly became one of my favorite whiskies, and the bottle is disappearing fast.


  • Score: I’m going to say 89 points for now (same as Port Askaig 17). It could go higher.
  • Rate it higher if you’ve tried and loved some 15-20 year Rosebanks but wanted more excitement on the palate and finish (and fewer floral notes).
  • Rate it lower if you need high complexity to get close to 90 points, or if you require peat.
  • Value: The lowest price of the 2009 special releases, I think it’s a must buy if you can find it. [$60 – $70]

Other Opinions

In addition to the reviews mentioned above by WhiskyNotes and WhiskyFun, here are some other notes on this release from the whisky web:

Several bloggers attended a Diageo tasting of the whole Special Release lineup. Notes for CI Unpeated included:

I also sent a sample of the CI Unpeated over to Jason at WHISKYhost, and his notes have a lot of similarities to mine. I don’t think he likes quite as much as I do, though, based on his reference to Cragganmore.

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Have you ever seen these nosing/tasting kits? I think it looks like a great idea, but they’re a little more expensive than I would like.

Nosing and tasting kit

Now The Balvenie is offering up a chance to get one for free. I got an email from them today with the following info:

Just in time for the holidays, The Balvenie is offering the chance to win a one-of-a-kind prize: An exclusive Scotch Whisky nosing and tasting kit. This unique kit contains 24 separate aromas and a dedicated nosing guide, as well as other essential whisky tasting tools. The lucky winner will also receive an exquisite Balvenie hipflask.

Visit this link to enter:

It’s really easy to enter. Just provide your name and email address. No long surveys to fill out or anything.

Good luck!

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I’ve had a number of people ask me about good gifts for the whisky enthusiast in their lives. I’m no expert, but I AM enthusiastic about whisky, so I can certainly share some ideas that appeal to me. A bunch of these whiskies and whisky accessories are ones I already own or have experience with, but I’ll also include some things that I’m interested but don’t have yet. I’ll mark those with an * so that my wife can use this as my wish list as well. 🙂

Before I get into recommending full bottles of whisky, I’m going to touch on a number of accessories such as books, glassware, and whisky samples. It’s much more difficult to recommend a bottle of whisky with confidence without knowing the recipient’s preferences and boundaries. I’ll take a shot at that as well, though.

Update: Check out the comments for some additional gift ideas. I also posted a 2010 Gift Guide here.


Here are some books I own that are current, and would make excellent gifts:

World Whisky

  • World Whiskey – Edited by Charles Maclean, with contributions by well known experts/authors such as Dave Broom, Hans Offringa, Ian Buxton and Charles himself. At first, this hardback book looks like potentially a “fluff” coffee table book (albeit one with great, current pictures of over 700 whisky bottles). However, dig in and there are tasting notes for all of those whiskies, plus behind-the-scenes secrets of a bunch of the distilleries. They also offer “whisky tours”, with recommended itineraries for visiting the different whisky-producing regions, including the Scottish regions and world whiskies from Ireland, Japan and the United States. Only $16.50 from Amazon right now, this one is a no-brainer.
  • Whisky & Jazz by Hans Offringa – Something a little different, for the whisky and jazz lover in your life. I’ve REALLY enjoyed this book. You can see my full review here. $40.
  • Malt Whisky Yearbook 2010 – Another book with contributions by multiple, well respected whisky authors, this one is updated yearly. The primary focus is on distilleries from all over the world, providing history, profiles, interesting facts and tasting notes. There’s also a section at the end on the year in whisky, with all of the latest interesting news from the whisky world, and lists of whisky-related resources. This is a very well respected publication with something for all levels of whisky enthusiast. Approximately $20.
  • Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2010 – Jim Murray is probably the most recognized whisky ambassador in the world since the passing of Michael Jackson in 2007. In his bible, he provides notes and ratings on nearly 4,000 whiskies! The book is printed on very fine paper with tiny print, though, so it’s small enough to easily carry around (almost pocketable). There seems to be some minor controversy around some of his ratings, as he has a hand in a number of whisky expressions as a consultant, but overall, he seems to offer unbiased opinions, and provides concise, entertaining notes. Highly recommended as an additional opinion source to go along with the myriad of whisky web sites. $20.
    • Update: Penderyn Whisky is offering 25% off of a SIGNED copy of the Whisky Bible. Details on Facebook.
  • Malt Advocate (magazine subscription) – I got my money’s worth out of this subscription just with the one article on sherry and oak interaction in whisky barrels in the Winter 2009 issue. The link I provided is to a blog post on the current offer to get 2 years for the price of 1 for new subscribers (good through December). $18.


Whisky Glass

  • The Glencairn Whisky Glass – Specially designed for nosing and tasting whisky, this glass has become quite popular, and is fairly readily available (at least online). This is a great all-around whisk(e)y glass. It’s my favorite in terms of hand feel and drinking. It does a good job of forcing the aromas up to the top of the glass for nosing, although I have another glass that I think is slightly better in this department. $8 to $14 per glass depending on source. Macy’s currently has a 6-pack for under $50. I’ve had good luck ordering from bkblankenshipon eBay.
    • Along with the Glencairn glasses, you can also order watchglass covers to keep the flavors in if the glass is going to be sitting out for a while (like during a multi-whisky tasting session). If you look at the bkblankenship auctions in my link above, you’ll see that some of the glasses come with the covers, and you can also order the covers individually for $2.
  • Nosing Copita

    Nosing copita – This seems to be a very common whisky glass style, specially designed for nosing the whisky. I do find it slightly better than the whisky glass for nosing, but not as good for drinking. Still, it’s kind of a fun little glass, and looks great. Note that it has a smaller opening than the whisky glass, so the watchglass cover that comes with this glass is smaller as well. Similar price to the whisky glass, and also available from bkblankenship on eBay.

  • Water Jug – I don’t put water in my whisky all that much, and when I do, it’s usually a few drops using a straw. However, I do like to put water out with the whisky when I have people over, and this is certainly an elegant way to do that. $35, or $60 as a gift pack with two whisky glasses. Once again, you can get this on eBay from bkblankenship.

Water Jug

Whisky Gift Packs

The Glenmorangie Collection

  • The Glenmorangie Collection – Pictured above. This range of Glenmorangie expressions is sweet and smooth. See my full review here. $30-$50.
  • Glenmorangie Original Gift Pack – This one is a full-size bottle of Glenmo 10, along with two tumblers. I usually go with whisky glasses, but as tumblers go, these are really nice. Heavy bases and a tapered opening to capture some of the aroma. $35-$50.

Glenmo Original Gift Pack

  • The Islay Collection – An amazing Diageo gift pack, containing 5 200ml bottles, including Port Ellen, which would cost $400 as a full bottle. Note that these are all big, smoky, peaty whiskies, so make sure the person you’re buying this for likes this style. See my full review here. $125.

The Islay Collection

  • Other Diageo gift packs – Diageo sells a bunch of other gift packs with 200ml bottles, typically with three bottles per box. If you can find these locally, they’re usually well worth buying. You can also find them online at The Whisky Exchange and Loch Fyne Whiskies. $40 – $70.


I’ll go ahead and throw out a few whisk(e)y ideas, including some that are on my wish list (for my wife to check out). It’s definitely easier to buy for somebody if you already have an idea what their preferences are, and if there are certain expressions/styles that they flat-out don’t like, or that they love.

  • The Macallan 18 – If you’re looking to spend a good chunk of change on somebody, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. It’s a very safe purchase. I think the worst I’ve seen written about it is that it’s too expensive for an 18 year old. I suppose a few negative Nancies will call it overrated, but they’re probably just upset about the price, too. However, any whisky lover is going to appreciate the effort to acquire a bottle of Mac 18 for them. Even if it’s not their favorite, it’s a very nice bottle to bring out for company. $100 – $140.
  • Lagavulin 16 – This is a little more risky, as it’s a strong, peaty Islay whisky. However, Lagavulin has a fantastic reputation, and deservedly so. If the backing of a pop culture icon would help, do a page search for Lagavulin in this interview with Johnny Depp. 🙂 Laga 16 is one of my favorite whiskies, and for the quality, it’s reasonably priced at $60 – $80.
  • Highland Park 18 – Voted “best spirit in the world” by Paul Pacult. This is one of the most balanced whiskies you’ll find. Like the Mac 18 and Laga 16, HP 18 is very widely acclaimed, and will be very appreciated as a gift by any whisky connoisseur. $85 – $100.
  • The Glenlivet Nadurra Triumph 1991 * – I’m specifically recommending the “Triumph” version of the Nadurra for my fellow Americans. It’s a limited bottling exclusive to the United States. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. Plus, it got a great review by John Hansell (link). $85.
  • Diageo Special Releases – Each year, Diageo puts out a highly anticipated set of special release single malt whiskies. ANY of these would make fantastic gifts. At $60, I highly recommend Caol Ila Unpeated 10 year for something different. With a little water, this is like drinking lemon cream pie.
  • A few less expensive, easy drinking single-malt scotch whiskies to consider: Highland Park 12 ($40); The Balvenie 15 year single barrel ($55); Glendronach 12 year ($40); The Macallan 12 ($40); The Glenlivet 18 * ($50-$60)
  • Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey * – This one is on my wish list. It’s from a micro-distillery in Colorado, which is cool. Plus, I’ve heard it tastes pretty good, and the shot glass cap is interesting. $50 – $60.
  • Wild Turkey Rare Breed * – Jim Murray went crazy over this inexpensive bourbon, calling it “one of the wonders of the whisky and whiskey world.” At $36 for a bottle, consider my curiosity piqued. I’ve also seen this in a wood box gift pack with two tumblers for the same price as the stand-alone bottle.
  • Evan Williams Single Barrel (2000 vintage) * – John Hansell gave the 2000 vintage a great review, and it’s quite inexpensive, so I want to try it. $26.
  • Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) – For the bourbon and rye whiskey lover in your life, any of the five BTAC releases will be a slam dunk. These are limited bottlings released each Fall, and usually sold out by Spring. William Larue Weller is one of the top two bourbons I’ve tried. $65 – $85.
  • Johnnie Walker Blue (200ml) * – Now THIS is one that whisky connoisseurs often call overrated. On the other hand, to the uninitiated, JW Blue seems to often be considered the pinnacle of whisky excellence. While I’m sure there are plenty of single-malts that can best JW Blue for the price, I need to try it for myself and see what the fuss is about. I’ve seen 200 ml bottles in my local Total Wine & More for $60. That’s still pretty expensive per oz, but not an outrageous sum of money relative to the $180 – $220 full bottle price.
  • Johnnie Walker Gold – If the person you’re buying for is a blend drinker, and you know they drink a lot of Johnnie Walker Black, they’ll most likely consider a bottle of JW Gold a special treat. I’ve tried it and thought it was very nice. $60-$80.

For a more in-depth look at whisky gifts by flavor profile, check out this blog post over at Whisky for Everyone: Which whisky should I buy for Christmas?

Other ideas?

Any other whisky gift ideas out there? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Obviously, there are tons of great whiskies to choose from. Are there unique ones that make especially good gifts – maybe because of special packaging or a good story? What about other accessories?


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