OK, so we know that especially around Christmas, many people opt for eggnog or spiked cider to feel festive. Not us—we’re all about the whiskey, any time of year. Hence, we’ve cherry-picked five of our favorites…just in case you want to really treat yourself this holiday season.
Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength
This Taiwanese single malt whiskey is clean and elegant with floral notes reminiscent of a butterfly orchid, while, at the same time managing to be quite fruity. You’ll find hints of honey, pear drop, coconut, tropical fruits like mango and vanilla with just a hint of chocolate on the nose. On the palate you’ll find sweet mango juice that’s equal parts spicy and warm with a citrusy finish. It’s a bit hard to find in the States, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, hey?
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
The Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey comes with some prestige: it was named after the New Orleans bartender who is responsible for first using rye whiskey in the Sazerac Cocktail. You’ll love it for its authenticity—it’s bottled directly from the barrel—and for its powerful favor. You’ll find notes of toffee, fig cake, candied fruit, mint, cinnamon and clove. Its finish it smooth thanks to subtle notes of allspice, coconut and nutmeg.
HIBIKI 12 YEARS OLD
We’re in love with this stunning 12-year-old Japanese whiskey, which has been part-matured in plum liqueur casks. You’ll find juicy marmalade with chunks of orange, cooked, cinnamon-dusted apples, thick honey and plum wine on the nose, while the palate is all about crushed almonds, clove-studded orange and malt with a subtle core of oak. Apple and citrus add a sweet, crisp finish.
Nikka Whisky Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old
This 17-year-old pure malt is as bold as the man it was named after, whiskey pioneer (and company founder) Masataka Taketsuru. This Japanese whiskey can best be described as fresh and fruity with notes of berries, sultanas, vanilla, fragrant wood and honey. On the palate: vanilla, blood orange and a hint of chocolate, followed by a slightly bittersweet finish thanks to oak, fruit and cocoa.
FORTY CREEK CONFEDERATION OAK
You’re going to, quite simply, adore this sweet and lovely Canadian whiskey. This isn’t for the faint of heart: it’s big and bold, with constantly evolving flavors. You’ll start with notes of maple, raisin, vanilla and fig that’s built upon layers of sugary praline, banana, butter cream, honeyed nuts, marzipan, spice and orange blossoms. The longer it’s on your tongue, the longer it will evolve, whereupon you’ll find dark died fruits and anise, making way for a palate of vanilla, butter cream and pepper spice framed with oak, walnut and smoke. As it lingers, dark dried fruits and anise evolve. On the palate it has a very rich entry; soft, round and dry. Full bodied with vanilla, butter cream and pepper spice which is nicely framed with oak, walnut and smoke. Its finish is all about strawberry, butterscotch, thick maple syrup and banana. It’s a party, no doubt.