I’ve gotten questions from many friends and co-workers about what bourbon they should buy for their friend/boyfriend/roommate for the holiday season. This is always a difficult thing to judge since some of the best wiskies don’t always make for the classiest gift, but on the other hand many of the gift-like bottles aren’t the most original or demonstrative of taste.
With that in mind, here’s my American Hooch 2008 Gift Guide to help you navigate your social relationships with a properly chosen bottle of alcohol.
The Mantle Piece Bourbon
This one is for that someone on your list who wants something to show off to folks stopping by over the holidays. Willett Family Pot Still Reserve is certainly a fine tasting bourbon, with notes of butterscotch, cherry-sweetness, and honey, but it is most impressive in its profile. Your receipient will not only be impressed with the pot still shaped bottle, but also the wonderfully gurgly noise it makes when you pour. I wrote about it here.
This one might be a little tougher to find, but it will make an immediate visual impression. It will also run you around $40.
The Easy Choice
This next suggestion is for just about everyone. Whether your receipient is a bourbon enthusiast or novice, s/he will most likely enjoy Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon. They release a new variation every year, but unfortunately the 2008 edition is not out yet for various production snafus. However, the 2007 edition is possibly the best bourbon I’ve had so you’ll do just fine with that. I wrote about it here and am drinking it right now.
I’m not sure what the stocks of liquor stores will be with this one this late into the year, but if you find it, get it. OFBB will be above the $40 mark as well.
The Budget-Minded Option
Tight on cash this season but still want to impress with a damn fine bourbon? Have no fear, you’ve chosen the right liquor to give as a gift this year. Bourbon can be expensive but it remains unpretentious and unrecognized enough to crank out some very fine stuff below $20/bottle. Old Fitzgerald 1849 is an excellent example. It carries the heft, complexity, and quality of a much more expensive label – but it will not impress the folks who think that price equals quality. I wrote about it here.
I thank the good people at LeNell’s for tipping me off to this one. It will run you less than $20.
The Last Resorts
The beverages above nothing if not excellent, but they might not be at your corner liquor store, so here are two options that you’ll find most places that are also quite good.
If you’ve got some extra cash, you should go for Basil Hayden’s from the good folks at Jim Beam. This bottle looks like nothing if not a gift and will surely be well received. It’s not the most interesting of bourbon’s but it makes up for it in class – and that’s half the battle in gift-giving. I wrote about it here.
Finally, your second last resort is Old Grand-Dad Bonded (make sure it’s the bonded). This is another fine selection below $20. Little more can be said about OGD other than it is all that bourbon should be, nothing more, nothing less. Anyone who truly enjoys bourbon will appreciate this. I wrote about it here.