Holiday Gift Buying Guide for Toronto Whisk(e)y Lovers

Got a whisky/whiskey lover on your holiday list? With the holidays fast approaching people have asked me for suggestions on what to get those who enjoy drinking whisky/whiskey this year.

General Gifts:

  1. Do not get them whisky stones.  Almost every whiskey drinker I know has a pile of whisky stones that were well intention gifts over the years. Most whiskey drinkers will rarely, if ever, use these.
  2. Glencairn Glasses/Canadian Whisky Glasses: Both these types of whisky glasses can make tasting whisky more enjoyable, and it never hurts to have extras to share with friends. You can find them at most kitchen or home stores, along with Amazon.
  3. Bitters: If they enjoy whiskey based cocktails, unique and interesting flavours of bitters can make a great gift. The LCBO sells Dillon’s Bitters in store, and specialty stores such as BYOB Cocktail Emporium and 1/2 oz. Cocktail Emporium in Toronto carry fantastic selections.
  4. Night out at The Feathers Pub/The Caledonian/The Emmet Ray. These are three of Toronto’s best bourbon and scotch bars, so if you wanted to share in your whisky lovers passion, treating them to a night out to any one of these pubs would make for an amazing gift.
  5. LCBO Gift Cards. A simple and easy pick that lets the whisky lover on your list pick the bottle which most interests them.

For Canadian Whisky Lovers:

  1. Lot No. 40: Great 100% Rye that is currently on sale for $35, hard to beat this deal at the LCBO.
  2. Albert Premium Dark Horse: This is a rather interesting Canadian whisky with heavy sherry influences, giving it fruity notes to compliment the rye spice. Not a bad deal at $32 at the LCBO.
  3. Buy Local: A number of local distilleries exist around Toronto. 66 Gilead, Dillon’s, Still Waters and Toronto Distillery Co. are all local to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and make some unique whisky right here at home. Look for the various releases on LCBO shelves, or you could visit the distillery to pick up a bottle from the source.

For Bourbon Lovers:

  1. Four Roses Single Barrel ($45). For some odd reason this bourbon does not show up in the LCBO online inventory, but it is still stocked at many of the flagship stores. Probably the best bourbon in terms of value at the LCBO.
  2. Knob Creek Single Barrel ($57). For under $60 this bourbon packs a ton of flavour and is widely available. At 60% ABV this bottle has some character to it.
  3. Stagg Jr. ($85) or Booker’s Straight Bourbon (also $85). Both of these bourbons  are barrel proof releases with a ton of character and flavour. Not recommended for those just getting into bourbon. Be aware that a substantial price increase is coming to Booker’s in the near future, so act now.

For Scotch Lovers (under $100):

Sadly there are very few options under $100 currently at the LCBO I would recommend for under $100. For more expensive gifts I highly recommend asking the recipient for recommendations or suggestions. Whisky varies by personal taste, and there is no one-size fits all bottle.

  1. Laphroaig 10 ($85). For those who like smoky Islay whiskies, this is one of the less expensive options that is widely available.
  2. Auchentoshan 18 Years ($94). It is always surprising to find an 18yr single malt scotch at the LCBO for under $100. This is a fruity, well balanced release that is great to enjoy.
  3. Aberlour A’Bunadh ($100). Powerful sherry bomb with some nice heat and character. On the youthful side depending on the batch, but great value by LCBO standards.
  4. Storas Rare Cask Reserve ($90). Currently on clearance at $90, this 21 year blend offers very good value while stock lasts. Light, fruity and enjoyable. Great for sharing with company.

Happy holidays and good luck finding gifts for everyone on your list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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