There are two reasons why you might consider gifting a bottle of Scotch to a loved one for the holidays: your loved one is a Scotch drinker, or you don’t know what else to get him (or her), and Scotch always makes an impression, especially when tied up in a red velvet bow.
But before you can add the flourish to the bottle, you need to choose the perfect Scotch. The first thing to keep in mind when perusing the shelves full of twinkling bottles of Scotch whisky is the taste you prefer. When it comes to Scotch, there are five main regions of Scotland, and the Scotches that come from each region carry a distinct flavor.
For an intensely peaty (smoky) and strong Scotch, pick up a bottle distilled in Islay. This region of Scotland is located on the west coast and is subject to blustery winds and ferocious high seas—perhaps the reason for the smoky flavor imparted in the Scotch. Speyside Scotches generally use water directly from the river Spey and are considered to have the most complex flavors. Light-bodied Scotches are generally distilled in the Lowlands, the southernmost region, while Campbeltown is home to Scotch with a briny, salty flavor. Because the Highlands is the largest region in Scotland, the Scotches produced here vary in taste. However, Scotches from the Highlands are generally medium-bodied and elegantly aromatic.
Scotch is a little more complicated than just the element of flavor; age must be taken into account when choosing one of these lavish libations. The rule of thumb when it comes to the age of Scotch: the older the Scotch, the smoother it is. Some are aged up to 100 years before being bottled and sold (these, by the way, are extremely rare).
Below are a few bottles we think would please any of your Scotch drinking friends:
- From Speyside: Glen Moray 25 Year Scotch Whisky and The Macallan 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- From Islay: Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky
- From the Highlands: Deanston 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Deanston Virgin Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- From an island just off the Highlands: Ledaig 10 Year Unchill Filtered Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Each has specific flavors and a level of smoothness dependent upon their age and region of distillation. Just keep in mind your loved one’s flavor preferences when choosing their gift. This isn’t a tipple to be had and forgotten. Instead it is one to be enjoyed for a while after it is first opened—and hopefully you’ll be there when it is. Cheers!