How better to celebrate the upcoming holiday than by a sampling of booze? The Whisky Advent Calendar ($245) is just the traditional advent calendar you've come to know, only behind each of the 24 doors lies a different 3cl sample of whisky. For added fun, one of the doors contains a sample of 50 year old single malt Scotch, a full bottle of which would run you over $550. Happy holidays indeed.
Call it white whiskey, call it moonshine, but don't dare call it ordinary. Jack Daniel's Unaged Rye Whiskey ($50) is the first new mashbill to come out of Lynchburg in over 100 years, and surprises drinkers with a sweet and fruity smell, plenty of rye bite, and a crisp, dry finish. Available in Tennessee in December, and arriving elsewhere early next year.
Given the no-nonsense label and clear color, House Spirits White Dog Whiskey ($34) looks more like something from a doctor's office than a liquor store. This unusually clear whiskey is made from 100% malted barley, and aged in a barrel for only three hours to round out any harsh notes without taking on any unwanted brownish color. Beyond the obvious flavor of malt, you'll find some nice spicy notes, a dry body, and a long finish. If you're thinking about picking up a bottle, you'd best hurry — it's an extremely limited release.
If you're the type of person who enjoys a shot of whiskey in the morning, Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky ($30) should be right up your alley. This Canadian rye whisky features a rich hint of maple from trees tapped at the very beginning of spring, as well as the natural oak flavors that come from a blend of 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old rye whiskies, which are blended and matured further to create a one-of-a-kind flavor that may or may not go great with your flapjacks.
Add a bit of spice to your bar with Knob Creek Rye Whiskey ($36). Made with a blend of high-quality rye, Knob Creek's latest creation is stout — 100 proof — and features a spicy, woody aroma with an equally spicy flavor that also incorporates rich oak and vanilla. Coming to select markets this month, and available nationwide this summer.
Unless you sip on single malts exclusively, odds are you've run into a blended whiskey somewhere along the way. Whisky Blender (£35 and up; roughly $55+) lets you create your own specialized blend from a selection of seven different whiskys, each available for adding in amounts as small as 10ml. Once you're done, you can give the blend its own name, which will be handwritten on the label that adorns the 70cl corked decanter bottle, and save the mixture for future refills should the mixture be to your liking. While the wisdom of order booze you've never tasted before is always questionable, there's no doubt that it'll be far more interesting than your average bottle of Old Crow. [Scouted by Andrew]
So even though none of us will probably ever get the chance to taste this 64 year old Scotch in it's one-of-a-kind Lalique crystal decanter, that won't stop us from dreaming. The Macallan 64 Years Old in Lalique ($464,000 at auction in 2010) is the oldest of Macallan's single mault scotch whiskys ever to be sold and all the proceeds from the sale were donated to charity: water, which helps provide people in developing nations with safe drinking water. This rare Scotch was vatted from three sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks — the ﬁrst was ﬁlled in 1942, the second in 1945, and the third in 1946 — and comes in a one-of-a-kind Lalique decanter.
Named after the super treacherous strait formed by Washington Island, WI and the Door Peninsula, Death's Door Spirits ($30-$36) have both a literal and poetic connection to the location. The company's gin is made from organic wheat and wild juniper berries harvested from the island, while the vodka is made with an organic wheat grown only on Washington Island. Death's Door White Whisky is made from a mash with an 80:20 ratio of organic Washington Island Wheat and organic malted barley, double-distilled to 160 proof (!), and finished in uncharred oak barrels to bring it together.
Isn't it nice to know that on the day you become an octogenarian, you'll still be able to drink a scotch that's as old as you are? Distilled in 1883 and bottled in 1931, this incredibly rare bottle of The Glenlivet 80 Year Old Whisky (£15,000-£20,000; roughly $24,000-$32,000) was owned by Captain William Smith Grant — the great grandson of the distillery's founder, Colonel George Smith — and has been in the family ever since. Arriving in a fittingly modest bottle with matching label, it's just the thing to liven up the nursing home afterparty — or any party, for that matter.
The trouble with buying high-end spirits is you rarely get a chance to sample them before you try. Master of Malt thought this was problematic as well, and created Drinks By The Dram (£2-£80; roughly $3-$130). These 3cl samples let you savor everything from somewhat common whiskeys, vodkas, and gins, all the way up to the £1530 a bottle Glenfarclas 1952 Family Cask. Just think of it as a pick-your-own spirit flight.
As anyone who's tasted Wild Turkey American Honey can attest, adding a little bit of honey flavor to a good whiskey can make for a damn fine drink. Now Tennessee's most famous export is entering the fray with Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Whiskey ($20). Mixing the company's famous whiskey with a proprietary honey liquor, this new blend retains its American whiskey roots while adding just a touch of sweetness and removing just a bit of bite, making it perfect for on-the-rocks summertime sipping.
You can purchase limited single barrel releases, visit distilleries, and even buy your own barrel — but for true whiskey fans, there's nothing like aging a batch yourself. The Age Your Own Whiskey Kit ($170) lets you experience its transformation from clear to brown, and the appearance of flavors that accompanies it, from the comfort of your own home. Included are two 750 ml bottles of White Dog un-aged whiskey, a two liter aging barrel, a pouring funnel, two tasting glasses, and complete instructions. Within 3-6 months, you'll be enjoying your own handcrafted blend.