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The holiday season is the perfect time of year to crack open a special bottle to share with loved ones.
By Alex Martin | November 10 2020
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to crack open that special bottle to share with friends and loved ones. In this gift guide, we offer a list of luxury alcohol gifts from the wine and spirits sector ranging from charming stocking stuffers to highly sought-after collectibles. No matter who you are buying for, you will find the perfect gift for them here.
The WhistlePig Boss Hog series has proved popular due to its unusual experimentation and it continues to break new ground in its seventh edition (pictured above). This is the first and only whiskey finished in rare Spanish and South American casks. The liquid was first aged for 17 years in American oak before the finish in Spanish oak and finally South Ameican teakwood. The unique finish was inspired by the first recorded circumnavigation of the earth in 1519. Although the narrative may have shaped the liquid’s journey, the double-cask finish has unlocked new dimensions of flavor. The Spanish oak adds tannins and intense spiciness and the teakwood a more sweet and toasted character. An exceptional liquid that needs to be tasted to be believed.
The Macallan Fine & Rare collection is inarguably the most collectible whisky out there. Only ever available in limited quantities, these single malt whiskies usually appear in auctions selling for many times their original price. For the serious collector, the newest Fine & Rare 1993 release, which is limited to just 256 bottles, would be a new jewel in their crown. This release celebrates The Macallan’s constant connection with nature. For over 200 years, the distillery has worked with its natural environment to produce some of the finest whisky on the planet.
For true admirers of this fabled single malt, the ultimate gift is surely a trip to the place where it is produced. The Macallan Distillery is opening its doors to VIPs in 2021 with one of the most exclusive whisky tours available. Up to six guests will be welcomed with a dram of one of The Macallan’s fine single malt whiskies before beginning an exclusive, private tour of the distillery. They will also be invited to explore the beautiful surroundings on its doorstep including a journey down the banks of the legendary River Spey, learning about the native wildlife and forests before stopping at The Macallan Fishing Lodge where they will enjoy a dram with The Ghillie. After a delectable four-course meal in Elchies Brasserie, the experience will conclude with a fully guided nosing and tasting held in the extraordinary Cave Privée. As part of the exclusive experience, they will be able to sample some of The Macallan’s most iconic single malt whiskies including The Macallan 40 Year Old Sherry Oak.
£6,000 ($8,010) for six guests, themacallan.com
While The Macallan would make a fine gift for any discerning collector, the reality is that anyone receiving it probably won’t drink it. Instead, they’ll store and collect it. Here, however, we have a liquid that is to be enjoyed. The Singleton 38 Year Old is an indulgent cask strength whisky that has undergone a 26-year secondary maturation, the longest in the distillery’s history. This whisky was identified as having great potential at just 12 years old. It was then rehoused into a number of experimental casks of ex-Bourbon, Pedro Ximenez Oloroso Seasoned casks and brand new American Oak casks. The final liquid is a blend of these eight casks, and the result is something that is perfect for this time of year: Baked apples, cinnamon and warm autumnal spices. A perfect whisky to enjoy on Christmas Day in front of the fire.
Irish whiskey regularly plays second-fiddle to its Scottish neighbor, but Midleton Very Rare has proved a match for it many times. Its Special Releases are highly sought-after and the 2020 edition is particularly special as it marks the end of master distiller Brian Nation’s era. Nation has been with the distillery since 1997 and master distiller since 2013. This final release is a love letter from the outgoing Nation to the distillery and contains hand-selected whiskeys aged from 13 years to 35 years. The charred oak brings a spiciness to the palate that builds over time for a satisfyingly long finish.
The Paradis Imperial cognac is the pinnacle of the Hennessy collection. Just one in every 1,000 eau-di-vie casks will be selected to join this coveted blend. The master blender’s task is to take everything learned from eight generations of cognac making and put it in one beautiful crystal decanter. It takes the palate decades to reach the required levels of sophistication to identify an eau-di-vie at the height of its elegance. The liquid is aged in mature oak casks which gives it a lighter hue than most aged cognacs.
Although significantly cheaper than the Hennessy Paradis Imperial, no less time or effort has gone into producing this 100-year-old cognac blend. This limited edition cognac is blended from an eau-di-vie that was delicately preserved in glass demi-johns a century ago. With just 270 released for sale in the US, this is a rare opportunity for cognac enthusiasts to taste the fruits of Cognac’s Premier Cru soils harvested 100 years ago.
Carolus Nolet, Sr. is the tenth generation owner of the Nolet Distillery and has dedicated four decades of his life to creating the perfect gin. The Reserve Dry Gin is his masterpiece. The liquid successfully captures the essence of a variety of botanicals, including the world’s most expensive spice, saffron. The blend also includes little-known herbs such as verbena, known for its citrus flavor. As this is his brainchild, Carolus Sr. personally tastes and approves every batch of the gin before it is placed into individually-numbered bottles.
The clue is in the name. This tequila is an ultra-premium extra anejo and the jewel in the Clase Azul crown. The liquid is aged for five years in used sherry wood casks from Spain to give it a unique and refined character. The sipping tequila offers the kind of depth expected of an aged whisky, including hints of caramel and vanilla. An ultra-premium tequila required an ultra-premium decanter and as usual Clase Azul has delivered in that respect. Each one takes master craftsman two weeks to make and features a 24k gold label. The decanter is hand painted with liquid platinum and finished with a signature Clase Azul agave medallion in sterling silver.
Since launching over a decade ago, just 18 different spirits have been chosen by the discerning spirits hunters at Last Drop Distillers. The new Autumn Collection expands the portfolio to 21 and includes its first rum. The spirit hunters had long searched for a rum that met their standards and finally found one in the form of a 1976 “Overproof” Very Old Jamaica Rum. This rum started its aging process in Jamaica before journeying across the Atlantic to Liverpool, UK. The move from a tropical climate to a cold one allowed this rum to be aged for over four decades. The cool climate and the westerly sea breeze has given this rum a distinct flavor.
You won’t see many champagne houses release a 2010 vintage, and there is a very good reason why. Growers were plagued by extreme weather conditions throughout 2010 starting with a very cold winter, a delayed and dry spring, and a varied but dry summer. Then, in August, the heavens opened. Two months of rain fell in the space of 48 hours, supercharging the maturation of the grapes and botrytis mold started to develop rapidly. Only the houses with the manpower and expertise could harvest in time, including Dom Perignon. The team was far more selective than they would have otherwise been, and by the end of harvest had some of the best chardonnay grapes for 30 years. Blended with a careful selection of pinot noir grapes, the house was able to declare a vintage.
The esteemed Bordeaux winery celebrated 20 years under the ownership of Michel Reybier in 2020, a tenure that has seen it become one of the world’s most renowned producers. This 12-bottle case has been released to celebrate the anniversary and includes two bottles of the six best vintages released under his direction. All of the vintages received scores of 98-100 points, making this a rare chance to significantly boost an avid collector’s cellar. Best of all, the case also comes with an invitation for four guests to enjoy an extravagant lunch at the winery.
As California’s longest continuously operating winery, Beringer has naturally celebrated a number of firsts since its first harvest in 1876. This year, it celebrated one more; the first vintage under its new winemaker Mark Beringer. As the name suggests, Mark is the eighth winemaker at the Beringer estate. Mark took on the role 139 years after his great-great-grandfather Jacob and brother Frederick founded the winery. This full bodied cabernet has been produced from the estate’s most prestigious vineyards. It offers flavors of black cherries and blueberries with fine grained tannins.
This stunning liquid brings the very best of France and Kentucky together in more ways than one. The 90.4 proof bourbon, renowned for being one of the best in the world, was finished in XO cognac casks for three years. The result is a crisp balance of American and French oak and intense fruity character. The Baccarat decanter acts as a symbol of this beautiful marriage of bourbon and cognac. Each crystal decanter takes five days to create in the Baccarat workshop in France. The world’s best bourbon housed in the world’s finest crystal. The perfect match.
The world’s most celebrated cognac is available in a beautiful miniature form and is one of the most luxurious stocking stuffers of the year. The beautiful 50ml decanter is an exact replica of the bigger version and is crafted from the same crystal by the same master artisans. The miniature is presented in a delighted box like a fine piece of jewelry. Once the cognac has been enjoyed, the decanter can be used as a hip flask or become a fine addition to any crystal collection.