Most people who write these whiskey guides don’t know shit about good whiskey; in fact, they are usually just regurgitating crap they heard at their local bar or just downright copying content from one of the million websites who swears they know whiskey.
Then, of course, you have the guys who like to gargle; they can name every enzyme, flavor, and nuance of the whiskey before spitting it out so they can describe to you in great detail what was just swirling around in their mouth – Fuck that; we drink our whiskey here, and anyone who spits it out should should receive a good swift kick in the ass!
From Texas to Scotland, we are going to take you around the world and share some of our favorite Whiskey, Scotch, and Whiskey related gifts – we’re also going to share a couple of things that just hit the market.
And now, for the sweet, elixir of life; WHISKEY!
Garrison Brothers 2019 Single Barrel Bourbon
When you think of Bourbon, you’re probably either picturing Tennessee or Kentucky. Garrison Brothers is trying to change that with the first corn-to-cork bourbon Whiskey distillery in Texas.
It’s 100% made in Texas; they grind their own grain, cook their premium sweet mash (#1 food-grade corn, soft red winter wheat from local farms, and two-row barley), and then distill, barrel and bottle.
Garrison Brothers’ Single Barrel Bourbon is hand-picked by Master Distiller Donnis Todd from Garrison Brothers’ best barrels. The Barrels selected for the program are at least four years old – a year older than most early vintages of the Texas Small Batch Bourbon – and once they’re bottled, they’re gone!
They retail for around $109.99.
Taconic Distillery Dutchess Private Reserve
New York Bourbon? Let’s give it a try!
Dutchess Private Reserve is a small batch whiskey produced on-site at Taconic Distillery’s Rolling Hills Farm in Stanfordville, NY. The Whiskey is a little cloudy, but don’t be scared off; according to the distillery it’s done on purpose to bring out more of the flavor during the distilling process.
Some distillers will sacrifice a certain amount of flavor for clarity … and chill filter their whiskies to remove some of these fatty molecules. They get a clear whiskey, but remove some of the flavor. Taconic does not chill filter, so sometimes our whiskey may show some “cloudiness”. This does not mean the whiskey is flawed. On the contrary, it is proof we have imparted as much flavor to the whiskey as possible.https://www.taconicdistillery.com/
They use locally sourced grains and spring water from their farm to produce a smooth, easygoing sipping whiskey that retails for around $40.
Slow & Low Rock & Rye Whiskey Cans
Slow & Low Rock & Rye Whiskey is like an Old Fashion in a can.
On top of being pretty cool looking – I keep a couple of cans sitting in my bar as a decoration – they make a good alternative to cans of beer while you’re out fishing. They take up less room, and it’s a hell of a lot easier than making an actual cocktail while you’re out on the boat!
While Single Malts are usually left to the Scots, there are some independent Irish Whiskey Distillers that are moving away from blended Whiskeys and trying to make a name for Irish Single Malts.
If you are like my wife, and choose your latest Whiskey based solely on the appearance of the bottle, then the hexagonal, black bottle is going to be a big hit. If you buy them based on actual taste like myself, for the price point you really can’t go wrong – and this is coming from someone who usually isn’t a big fan of Irish Whiskey.
It’s very similar to Bushmills Malt Single Malt Irish Whiskey, which around here goes for about $100 a bottle; so The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey, which retails for around $25-$30, is a screaming good deal!
If you are looking for an affordable Irish Whiskey that is sure to turn a few heads, then check out The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey.
Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
I’m pretty sure most of you have heard of Conor McGregor; this is his Whiskey.
I’m not going to lie and say this is a sipping Whiskey – in my opinions it’s not — but also keep in mind, I’m more of a Scotch or Bourbon man than I am an Irish Whiskey Drinker.
Overall, Proper No. Twelve is a pretty basic Irish whiskey — not bad, but also not on the list of greatest whiskeys I’ve ever tasted. I think it’s something most people would probably use in a whiskey cocktail. But, with that being said, if you are looking for a gift for someone who loves MMA or Conor McGregor, this makes a pretty decent gift at around $25.
And now for the Peated Monsters!
Lagavulin 16 is how I was introduced to the world of peated Islay Scotch; and while I still regularly enjoy it, there are two peated Scotch Whiskies that are now at the top of my list.
Both from Islay, the Scottish island where most peated whiskey comes from, these two peated monsters will introduce you to a world where your Whiskey will never be quite the same.
Laphroaig is one of the legendary Islay Whiskey distilleries, known for producing some of the best peated Scotch you can buy.
The main thing to keep in mind with Laphroaig, is you are either going to love the hell out of it or hate it; there really isn’t a middle ground! It’s a big bold, smokey, briny scotch that has a permanent spot in my liquor cabinet.
But here is where some people get into trouble. It also has a medicinal taste; something that allowed the distillery to ship to the US during the Prohibition Era after they convinced the US Government that the antiseptic smell meant the drink had medicinal properties. This is where, depending on the drinker, it becomes either one of the best whiskies you’ve ever had or simply disgusting.
For me, I think Laphroaig is actually one of the smoothest of the Islay peated whiskies. But the great thing about Laphroaig, is they know that opinions can range from delight to disgust and capitalize on it in their marketing — which I think is pure genius and can be seen in the video below.
At around $50 a bottle, Ardbeg is one of my go-to, everyday drinking whiskies — I seriously just bought five bottles because they were on sale at Costco for Christmas – they also came with the cool cups in the picture.
You’ll often hear people say Ardbeg is a good introduction to Islay Scotch — don’t listen to those people. They’re usually just a bunch of pretentious assholes who want to pretend they are some sort of Whiskey tasting geniuses who know so much more than everyone else.
This is no introduction Whiskey, and saying so really undervalues how great Ardbeg really is.
Yes, for an Islay Scotch it’s often the best monetary value you can find; but it’s also one of the finest whiskies in the world – especially if you are looking for a big, bold, smoky flavor.
Whereas Laphroaig is much more medicinal, Ardbeg is truly a smoky powerhouse. It’s one of the smokiest, heavily peated Islay whiskeys you can find, and in my opinion, there is nothing quite like it.
Like I said earlier, my “introduction” into the world of Peated whiskey was through Lagavulin, and now I often find myself reaching for the Ardbeg, and it has nothing to do with the price — it’s just a damn fine Whiskey!
Whiskey Related Gifts
We love Whiskey; we also love the history of Whiskey. One of our favorite times in Whiskey History is the Whiskey Rebellion, when farmers and distillers in western Pennsylvania almost started another American Revolution over an excise tax on whiskey.
This shirt commemorates the spirit of the American Whiskey Drinker and can be found over at Shirts of Liberty.
101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die is a guide that will introduce you to the wonderful world of Whiskey. What we liked about the book is it’s not just a collection of bottles that you’ll never be able to find, but instead a drinking man’s guide to finding obtainable bottles meant for DRINKING, Not collecting!