It used to be that spirits weren’t really an appropriate gift, unless they was for your boss or possibly your father-in-law, but with the continued fascination and interest in single malt scotch, more people – male and female – enjoy a dram or two year round. Calgary has a world-class selection of scotches, meaning we have some of the rarest, some of the best and some of the tastiest whiskies available, and most won’t blow your holiday budget.
Smoky, oily, dirty and delicious. Ardbeg is a full blown, peated whisky from Islay and may be too much for some newcomers to scotch or at least smoky scotch. On the bright side, it’s a great one to curl up by the fire with. $74
A solid performer and at a ridiculously good price, The Glenlivet (yes, it’s “The Glenlivet”) is available at almost every liquor store or wine shop for the good reasons I just mentioned. Citrus fruits, a bit of vanilla and nuttiness, with a light, smooth character. $49
Hailing from the Orkney islands, Highland Park whiskies have a little bit of everything. A touch of smokiness, some vanilla (those sherry casks), some spiciness and some citrus character. Both the 12-year-old ($56) and the 18-year-old ($115) bottlings are also worth trying. $71
A newer whisky in the Glenmorangie lineup, the La Santa is a 12-year-old, sherry cask finished, slice of heaven. Warming, spicy, with loads of citrus and the right sort of balance that lets the smooth whisky show through. Plys it says “Santa” right in the name, which is so Christmasy. $75
I’ve always loved this jewel of Speyside whiskies. The Glenrothes, with its stubby bottle and penchant for vintage dating its offerings makes damn good drams. Caramel, spice, vanilla and a long, malty finish. $80
Bottled at cask strength, it’s up to you whether you want to water it down or not. Straight out of the bottle, it’s spicy, with some fruit. Add a little water to open the softer characters and really enjoy it. $74
Hailing from the Isle of Jura, the Superstition is a blend of different ages but is rich and almost sweet over the plate with brine notes, some smokiness, honey and cocoa. Great stuff and it’s perfect for the holiday “Grinch” on your list. $77
Macallan hasn’t been afraid to try some new things, but its classic 12-year-old offering is full of lifted sherry cask characters, caramel, honey and cereal. Almost sweet in the mouth, it’s creamy, spicy and buttery. If your budget permits, the 18-year-old ($175) is a dram of awesome. $73
*Prices are approximate and vary from retailer to retailer
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