The GreatDrams Christmas Whisky Gift Guide 2019

Oh ho ho, bloody ho its gone mid-November so it must be time for the GreatDrams Christmas Whisky Gift Guide 2019. I know, I know. I say the same thing every year (literally – I copy and paste the template for the intro to this one), but man it has been a good year with some remarkable releases from all corners of the earth and below is only a snapshot of the brilliance released. 

There is no bias here, I am only listing whiskies I have personally had ‘wow’ moments with, whether you agree or not is personal opinion, but please do comment below if you have others you’d recommend… you never know, it might just help someone get the gift they really want. 

Buying a bottle for anyone at any time is hard; you need to know what flavours they like, need to set a budget that not only does not break the bank, but shows the person you’re giving the bottle to how much they mean to you. Yes, these are all factors. Here are the top ten bottles I’m recommending in the GreatDrams Christmas Whisky Gift Guide 2019:

First up, a couple of releases from GreatDrams

Glentauchers 10 Year Old Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky

£65

This Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky was distilled at the Glentauchers Distillery in Speyside. We loved the vanilla oakiness on the nose, and the sweetness that gives off memories of penny sweets come through too with a juicy green apple note and a smooth, fruity and creamy palate with a slightly spicy finish.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Glentauchers
Speyside
10 Years Old
1st Oct 2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Second fill Sherry cask
48.2% ABV
203

GREATDRAMS EXCLUSIVE BOTTLING FROM THE LONDON DISTILLERY COMPANY CASK 109

£84.99

The London Distillery Company Cask 109 exclusively bottled for GreatDrams from our own 20 litre cask we had maturing there for 3 years

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
London
London
3 Years Old
Dec 2018
Cask type
ABV
Limited
First fill 20 litre bourbon cask
63.3% ABV
28 Bottles

Bottles costing £30 - £75

 KVSG002: KININVIE SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY

£35.00

Keeping traditional Scotch whisky processes the same and see how the addition of Malted Rye into the mash alters – or enhances – our whisky and how.

The whisky being released has been aged in Virgin American oak casks, non-chill filtered 47.8%.  3 yrs old.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Kininvie
Speyside
3 Years Old
2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Virgin American oak cask
47.8% ABV
Undisclosed

JAMESON TRIPLE TRIPLE 

£30

Matured in BourbonSherry and Málaga casks, this malt has been distilled three times for smoothness and matured three times for flavour.It opens with fresh orchard notes of pears, dew covered grass and oak wood. This develops into a spicy and slightly sweet flavour, with lots of warmth fro the Málaga wine. Citrus fruits really come through and add a lovely zesty bite to the overall aroma. Oak wood comes through quite strongly as well, with a sweet vanilla and caramel note. It is super smooth and flavoursome. In the background there is a delicate hint of mahogany wood and dark, bitter chocolate, adding a little bit of depth. The finish is strong and spicy, with hints of oak

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Jameson
Undisclosed
2019
No
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Bourbon, Sherry and Málaga casks
40% ABV
Undisclosed

LAGAVULIN 10 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY

£50

The single malt has been matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon, refill and newly-charred rejuvenated casks before being botted at 43% abv. The whisky is said to be initially ‘sweet and salty’ on the palate with an ‘intense spicy and smoky finish. Dr Craig Wilson, master of malts at Lagavulin owner Diageo, said: ‘The different wood types used have helped create a whisky with a fiery yet light, and smoky yet smooth character – one that is filled with surprising contrasts. To many people, Lagavulin is the definitive Islay malt and, like other members of the family, this new expression has a charming exuberance.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Lagavulin
Islay
10 Year Old
2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
ex-Bourbon, refill and newly-charred rejuvenated casks
43% ABV
Ongoing

Bottles costing £100 - £200

CHIVAS ULTIS BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY

£168

Made from malts sourced from Chivas’s distilleries, including Strathisla, Allt-á-Bhainne, Longmorn, Braeval and Tormore, this is a wonderful edition to the Chivas family. It’s fulsome flavour showcases the diversity of flavour profiles that the brand owns and their ability to create harmony from them. Ultis is an exploration through the Chivas brand and each of the distilleries that represent them.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Chivas
Speyside
Undisclosed
Ongoing
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Multiple
40% ABV
Ongoing

GLENMORANGIE SIGNET

£168

The Signet was created using Glenmorangie’s most exclusive and oldest malts. This is top of the line premium scotch. It won Whisky of the year in 2016 and lives up to the title. The flavour is incredible and signifies a lot of effort from Bill Lumsden, the distillery’s Master Distiller. It opens with citrus fruit and burnt caramel sweetness. This leads into cinnamon spice, sweet nuts and bitter coffee. The malt is wonderfully complex and brimming over with flavour.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Glenmorangie
Speyside
Undisclosed
Ongoing
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Undisclosed
46% ABV
No

ROYAL SALUTE 21 YEAR OLD THE LOST BLEND

£130

A really interesting blend, it opens with exotic fruits and a hearty whiff of peat. The peat is earthy and thick with lovely herbal notes appear. Thyme and a slight nod towards mint make for intriguing flavours. Citrus fruits rule on the nose. Oranges abound and add a lovely lightness to the overall taste. They mix well with the rest of the earthy flavours. The palate brings in softer notes of sweet nuts, vanilla and oak wood. Peat is here as well, but it is easy going and delicate. It works perfectly with hazelnuts, pecans and peanuts that add a lovely depth. Oak wood with hints of malted grains, cinnamon and vanilla appears and wraps everything up very well. The peat softens towards the end but brings in a lovely warmth. The finish is bold and lingering, packed with fruit and oak wood. The Lost Blend is truly a brilliant celebration of lost distilleries, and will make you sad at the thought that the malts that created it are no longer in production.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Royal Salute
Multiple
21 Year Old
2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Multiple
40% ABV
Undisclosed

For those looking for something EXTRA special

GLENDIFIDDICH RARE COLLECTION CASK NO. 20050 30 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY

£1,600

This 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch has been released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Glenfiddich visitor centre. The distillery was one of the first to have a visitor centre, which opened in 1969. Now, 50 years later, they are celebrating that with the release of a 30 year old single malt. It was first distilled in 1987 and has been matured exclusively in American oak hogsheads. Only 200 bottles have been produced, which are available online and from the visitor centre itself.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Glenfiddich
Speyside
30 years old
2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
Bourbon
56.7% ABV
200

ABERFELDY 20 YEAR OLD DISTILLERY EXCLUSIVE

£250

This malt was first distilled in 1998 and has been matured in Bourbon casks for 16 years, before being transferred to Sherry casks to finish for four years. The nose begins with notes of honey, caramel and oak wood. Sherry spices appear, with dried fruits and a lovely moist Christmas cake note.It is rich and warming. Citrus fruits give it a nice liveliness and crystalized orange peels add a wonderful sweetness. The palate is full of caramel and honey, with a hint of vanilla oak. Coffee and dark chocolate give it a nice edge. The bitterness is excellent against the sweetness. The mouth feel is smooth and brings out a lot of chewy dried fruit notes. Marzipan and Christmas cake continue. The finish is bold, with cinnamon and vanilla taking over.

Non-chill filtered
Natural colour

Distillery
Region
Age
Bottled
Aberfeldy
Highlands
20 years old
2019
Cask type
ABV
Limited
4 year finish in a Sherry cask
54.1% ABV
618 bottles
Greg

Greg

My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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