2018 Toronto Whisky Society Holiday Gift Guide

It is that time of year again (you know, that Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus time of year), and whatever you celebrate, you’re probably buying gifts for the important people in your life. Got a whisky/whiskey lover on your list? Here are some helpful suggestions of what to get for them!

General Gifts for the whisky fan:

  1. Do not get them whisky stones. Almost every whisky drinker we know has a pile of whisky stones that were well-intentioned gifts over the years. Most whisky 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/Via Allegro/Char No. 5.These are some of Toronto’s best bourbon, Canadian whisky 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. Whisky Books. Especially good for those on your list who are just getting into whisky, books can be a nice gift to accompany a bottle. The Whisky Cabinet and Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert are two written by respected Canadian whisky experts. Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland is a wonderful book for people interested in the history of many distilleries in Scotland.
  6. LCBO Gift Cards.A simple and easy pick that lets the whisk(e)y lover on your list pick the bottle which interests them the most.

For Canadian Whisky Lovers:

  1. Lot No. 40Great 100% Rye that is currently on sale for $35, hard to beat this deal at the LCBO.
  2. Alberta 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. Lohin Mckinnon Black Sage VQA Collaboration:This is a rather interesting Canadian whisky, a single malt made in BC with wine influences, giving it fruity notes to compliment the underlying spice profile.
  4. J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year:If you are looking for a more expensive and high end option in the Canadian whisky category, Wiser’s 35 year old whisky is still available at a number of LCBO locations. It is the least expensive 35 year old whisky available at the LCBO and is disappearing fast!
  5. J.P. Wiser’s DissertationA one-time, exclusive release to Ontario, this $65 whisky packs a lot of flavour, with a significant rye influence. Great for a Canadian whisky lover who enjoys a bold profile. There are very few bottles left, so grab it now!
  6. Gooderham & Worts 11 SoulsA limited release which highlights what can be accomplished with the blending of different grains in Canadian whisky.
  7. Buy Local:A number of local distilleries exist, including KinsipDillon’s and Still Waters to name a few. They 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/American Whiskey Lovers:

  1. Four Roses Single Barrel($55). Probably the best bourbon in terms of value at the LCBO.
  2. Knob Creek Single Barrel($59). 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 ($100). Both of these bourbons are barrel proof releases with a ton of character and flavour. Not recommended for those just getting into bourbon.
  4. Wild Turkey Rare Breed($61): A great value at the LCBO for a barrel proof bourbon. Lots of spice in this bourbon, great for cold winter days.
  5. Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Bond($47): A great value higher proof rye that’s good for both sipping and cocktails.
  6. Wild Turkey 101 Straight Bourbon ($43): A great value at the LCBO for a higher bourbon. Great bottle to get someone who is starting their journey into the bourbon world.

For Scotch Lovers (under $150):

Sadly there are few options under $150 currently at the LCBO we would recommend. For more expensive gifts we 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 ($80) or Quarter Cask ($90): For those who like smoky Islay whiskies, these are some of the less expensive options that are widely available.
  2. 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.
  3. Deanston 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask($99): A newer release on LCBO shelves, this whisky has a nice red wine influence and is bottled at cask strength, combined that with an age statement results in a good value and something worth picking up.
  4. Glenfiddich Project XX($100): Not many bottles left of this special release. It is a unique whisky made of 20 different single casks selected by Glenfiddich ambassadors, a wonderful mix of bourbon, sherry and port casks.
  5. Glenfiddich Fire & Cane ($75): The newest of the experimental series from Glenfiddich, this release combines peated whisky with rum barrel maturation. A wonderful blend of smoke and sweetness.
  6. Compass Box Peat Monster($65): This recently returned to the LCBO and is a fantastic value if you love peated whisky. The cool label does not hurt either.
  7. Macallan Classic Cut($150): Powerful sherry bomb with some nice heat and character. People have been raving about the new 2018 version.
  8. Glen Garioch Renaissance Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 ($142): Two releases of cask strength Glen Garioch, both are at least 15 years old and provided a great whisky drinking experience.
  9. If you are buying a whisky for someone who loves peat, you cannot go wrong with either Ardbeg 10($100) or Lagavulin 8 ($98):

For Irish Whiskey Lovers:

  1. If you are buying a whisky for someone who is a big fan of Irish Whiskey, you cannot go wrong with any of the following: Redbreast 12 Cask Strength($108), Yellow Spot ($98), Green Spot ($85) or Bushmills Black Bush ($39):

Happy holiday/Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Festivus and good luck finding gifts for everyone on your list! Remember, if you are ordering online it is better to order now due to slow delivery times.

 

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