Looking for a last minute Christmas gift for an alcoholic this festive season? Here are eight spirited Christmas gifts anybody with alcoholic leanings would love to see in their stockings or sitting under the Christmas tree.
It’s a mere week before Christmas, and if you’re still scrambling around for gifts for your loved ones, don’t worry. You’re just as much a procrastinator as the rest of us. But we understand that picking out gifts for friends and family who love their booze – especially those who really know their stuff – can be a pretty dicey affair; after all it’s a pretty chunk of change to spend on something that they may not truly enjoy.
We’ve put together a simple Christmas gift guide for the booze lover, from a limited-edition single malt Scotch whisky or unique American single malt whiskey, to that prized bottle of rare premium wine.
1. Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2007.
Nothing screams celebration like a good bottle of bubbly. The Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2007 may not be champagne, but this Italian sparkling wine is made like one using the traditional method. In fact, we reckon this vintage Trento DOC spumante from Fratelli Lunelli Ferrari may be among the most prestigious of Italian wines, and certainly amongst the pinnacle of Trento’s sparkling wine production.
Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes – so technically it’s a blanc de blancs – this elegant sparkling wine has spent at least 10 years on lees for an incredibly complex profile. There’s a lovely intensity of fruit with some comforting honeyed notes and a touch of baked breadiness that speaks of its aristocratic pedigree.
Do note though that the Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2007 is only available in very limited quantities in Singapore, so do get your hands on one as soon as you can; we’re pretty sure someone you know would totally love this as a Christmas gift.
You can pick up the Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2007 from Ferrari Food + Wine at a recommended retail price of S$187.30 including GST.
2. Highland Park Valfather.
The Vikings of old were more into slaughtering Christians than they were about celebrating Christmas, but we’re pretty sure their descendants on the Scottish island of Orkney have absolutely no problems seeing the Highland Park Valfather as a Christmas gift. This whisky from the remote and windswept island distillery that is Highland Park – also known as ‘The Orkney Single Malt with Viking Soul‘ – is the third and final expression in its Viking Legend Series, and comes after the vaunted Highland Park Valkyrie and Highland Park Valknut.
We love the layered intricate flavours in this Highland Park, which is rather reminiscent of the old bottling of Highland Park 18YO. It’s also supposed to be the most peated whiskey from the distillery to date, but rich creamy vanilla and poached pear notes that’s wreathed in woodsmoke give this whisky an air of tempered elegance and sophistication.
The Highland Park Valfather is considered a ‘special edition’ – we take that to mean it’s rare enough to not sit in Highland Park’s core range, but not rare enough to be a really limited edition whisky. Still, if you find this in your Christmas stocking you’re special enough to someone.
3. Westland Garryana 2019 Edition 4|1.
The American single malt whiskey category is still a relatively new one in Singapore, but that’s changing. Recently we saw the entrance of two brands into the market – there’s Westward Whiskey from Oregon, and then there’s Westland Whiskey from Seattle. The latter just launched a very special limited edition into the Singapore market, its Westland Garryana 2019 Edition 4|1.
The Westland Garryana 2019 Edition 4|1, like the whiskies in the Seattle distillery’s core range, sees spirit that’s distilled from a blend of barley that’s been malted to varying degrees and then matured in oak. But what makes it truly special is that it also uses spirit that’s been aged in garryana oak, a species of oak that’s indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. Even more remarkable is that by law you can’t actually cut down live garryana oak, which means you can only harvest dead or fallen trees. Which, of course, makes garryana oak – and the whiskies aged in them – very rare.
More importantly, what results is an amazing whiskey. It noses like breakfast – toasted granola, yogurt and a dark berry compote – while on the palate you get spiced poached fruit, zesty citrus and dark chocolate shavings. Absolutely delicious.
The Westland Garryana 2019 Edition 4|1 is available for purchase at a recommended retail price of S$250 from AsherBWS.
4. Douglas Laing Big Peat 2019 Christmas Edition.
Following its tradition of Christmas edition whiskies is Douglas Laing with the Big Peat 2019 Christmas Edition under its Remarkable Regional Malts range; in fact this is its ninth edition for Christmas. It’s certainly the most Christmassy of the lot, complete with livery and tube that’s emblazoned with festive iconography and Big Peat rolling a (whisky) barrel in the snow.
Big Peat is a blended Islay malt, that is, it blends spirit from different Islay-based distilleries – specifically Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen here – so you can expect smoky peatiness from this expression. Also, Big Peat’s festive releases always clocks in at natural cask strength, and in this case, comes in at 53.7% ABV. But unlike its 2018 Christmas Edition, this year’s release is actually more tempered and mellow. The peat isn’t quite overbearing in this one, and is more salty smoke swirling round a juicy stone fruit orchard; we pick up a lot of Caol Ila here.
You can pick up the Big Peat 2019 Christmas Edition from Le Vigne Wines & Spirits, Vomfass Singapore, The Moomba Wine Shop, Hermitage Wines and The Exciseman Whisky Bar at a recommended retail price of S$188.
5. Mount Gay Pot Still Rum.
If you’re looking to pick out a Christmas gift for a rum lover, Barbados-based rum distillery Mount Gay has a new limited edition that may just fit the bill. Despite being the world’s oldest commercial rum producer, it’s really quite innovative – it’s previously released a limited edition rum that’s been further cask matured in Islay whisky casks, for example. This time round, it’s unveiled the Mount Gay Pot Still Rum, the second release in its Master Blender Series after the Mount Gay The Peat Smoke Expression.
Those familiar with Mount Gay would know that the distillery typically blends spirit from both Coffey column stills and pot stills for its signature rums. But the Mount Gay Pot Still Rum is made purely in double retort pot stills – master blender Trudiann Branker selected a batch of rum distilled in 2009 and further matured it in ex-whiskey casks to enhance the spicy and nutty notes. On the nose and palate, this rum is a frolic through a stone fruit orchard. Expect powerful notes of peach, apricot, and nectarine, backed by an oaky spiciness in vanilla and nutmeg.
A total of 4,920 bottles of Mount Gay Pot Still Rum have been produced, but only 60 of them have made it to Singapore. If you find this in your Christmas stocking, whoever gifted this is a keeper.
You can buy the Mount Gay Pot Still Rum from La Maison du Whisky at a recommended retail price of S$190.
6. Wakefield The Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.
Winemakers Wakefield Taylors of Clare Valley, South Australia – it’s known as Taylors in some markets and Wakefield in others – recently created a special limited-edition wine to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Wakefield’s The Legacy is an ultimate expression of Clare Valley terroir and testimony to its winemaking; it is made with the pick-of-the-crop of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot harvested from its own estates, including the original vineyard plot by the Wakefield River that’s been planted since it was founded back in 1969.
This wine pours the colour of dark garnet, and the nose is an intoxicating blend of concentrated berry fruit and wood spice swirling with bouquet garni. On the palate is sweet berry compote that’s been cooked down with baking spices, and dries to a luscious, juicy finish with a gentle yet firm tannin bite.
As expected of a premium wine, The Legacy comes in an exquisite hand-labelled bottle decorated with handcrafted silver and rhodium seahorse medallion along with a certificate of authenticity. It’s pretty pricy, but as a Christmas gift it’s perfect for the wine-loving in-law (that you desperately need to please), and one that can be cellared for at least another ten to twenty years before revealing its full potential.
You can purchase the limited edition Wakefield Taylors The Legacy exclusively at Bottles & Bottles Vivocity a retail price of S$1,088 per bottle from 20 December 2019.
7. Graham’s 30YO Tawny Port.
When it comes to a tipple during Christmas, there are few things more Christmassy than port; in fact, it’s tradition in many parts of the world to kick back with a port glass to end a Christmas meal.
If you’re not too familiar with port, it’s a fortified wine of Portuguese origin – specifically from the Douro region – that’s made by blending distilled grape spirit into regular wine. The practice was to help increase the longevity of wine, but these days it’s done because people do so enjoy port’s rich sweetness.
Take the Graham’s 30YO Tawny Port, for example. This is a tawny port, which means it’s blended from across a number of wines that’s aged a number of years in barrels before being bottled; in this case it’s an average of 30 years. The barrel maturation turns the wine into a more amber hue – hence the name tawny – but also gives the port complex, nuanced flavours. This port, for example, is rife with notes of roasted pecans, candied almonds and golden raisins. You can pour this too over vanilla ice cream for a fabulous festive dessert.
You can pick up a bottle of the Graham’s 30YO Tawny Port from iShopChangi.com now at a promotional price of S$220.
8. Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine.
While not technically a wine – at least, not a grape-based one – Singapore-based Vintas Reserve has partnered with a Michigan winery to create the Vintas Sapphire, a natural fruit wine made of from handpicked, 100% organic wild blueberries.
Michigan is of course a leading producer of blueberries in the United States – you’re looking at about 100 million pounds of blueberries every year – so it’s not a surprise to find that part of that production goes into the making of blueberry wine. The Vintas Sapphire is a delicately sweet wine your elderly folk is likely to love as a Christmas gift – it’s bursting with aromas and flavours of blueberries and floral honey with spiced undertones of toasted cinnamon and clove. Blueberry wine is also supposed to bring health benefits; it’s rich in vitamin A, selenium, zinc and iron to protect against aging and cancer, but also helps to improve your memory.
At 11% ABV it’s perfect as an aperitif when drunk chilled, but it also works pretty well when added to a gin and tonic.
The Vintas Sapphire blueberry wine can be purchased online from Vintas at a retail price of S$68.