Archive | Port Ellen RSS feed for this section

Scotch Gifts 101 & 105

21 Aug

I am not going to lie. This post was entirely inspired by a friend of mine.

So you want to get your friend a gift. You think it would be fun to get this friend a nice bottle of scotch because you remembered that they drank an entire bottle of your Dewar’s White Label–that had been in your liquor cabinet for 4 years–at your last party.

What a nice friend you are! I already respect your judgment.

But what do you choose? You don’t want to spend a fortune. You want something good. You want to make an impression… And you know very little about scotch besides that it is a liquor.

Highland Park 12-year is your no-fail very nice gift choice. Not only is it normally priced between $42 and $50, it is rated in the lower 90s by whisky connoisseurs. It is sweet, smokey, heathery, with honey notes. The finish is fantastic and has almost everything you could ever want in a perfectly price whisky. The only downside about starting your new journey down the scotch highway can really be tainted by this wonderfully balanced whisky. I compare starting with Highland Park whiskies like having your first car be a Porche.

Your scotch-loving boss is having a special event and you want to get him a nice bottle of scotch of scotch as a gift that he’ll respect you for.

This one is a bit tougher. Do you know what he has in his stock? That knowledge would be quite helpful when making a decision.

Big scotch drinkers tend to lean towards the Islay malts: Laphroiag, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, and the extra-rare Port Ellen.

If you are looking to impress, I would highly recommend finding a Port Ellen of any age. The distillery was shut down in 1983 so each bottle is special by default. Also, your boss is less likely to have one. The only downside is the price. I have not seen one for less than $110, and that was by a bottler that I had never heard of and bottled at a very young age (around 11 years).

Okay. I understand. Port Ellen is a bit on the obscure side and you may not want to fork up that kind of money. So what now?

Lagavulin 16-year – This is your fail safe. If your boss is a cigar smoker, this is the perfect scotch. If you boss is snobby, this is the perfect scotch. If your boss is a discerning scotch drinker, they will really appreciate the thought. Not because they do not like it, but probably because they already has it in their stock. Having a second bottle on hand of Lagavulin 16-year never hurt anyone and now you are less likely to drink yours quite as sparingly. Everybody wins!

Now you are armed and dangerous. Go grab someone a bottle of something fun!

Do you have a favorite bottle that you would recommend as a gift? Let’s hear it! Drop a comment!

UPDATE 8/23/2009:
On a recent visit to Scotland, John from Mt. Clemens, MI met a few Scots who remmended: McIvor, Old Pultney, The McCallan, Glen Farclas and naturally, Highland Park. Thanks for the input, John! Your new friends have great taste!