My Top 10 Gift Whiskies

As someone who has been known to take a small refreshment from time to time, I often get asked if I can recommend a whisky to buy as a birthday or christmas present.  

I’ve even been asked in the whisky aisle of the local supermarket if I could recommend a whisky to buy as a gift – which is a bit worrying, as it means that perfect strangers are are now looking at me and are able to judge that I am a seasoned imbiber!

Oh well, I blame the outdoor life for my weather worn appearance and I find that whisky is a great medicine for all that ails you – especially when applied internally.

Now, strange as it may seem to non whisky drinkers who think that all whiskies are the same, it is easy to get it wrong.

For instance if someone presented me with a bottle of the finest Caol Ila from Islay, I would thank them profusely and put the bottle to the back of the cupboard – there to remain in perpetuity.

The list below is of course purely subjective, but you can believe me that any of them will be well received by the whisky drinker in your life.

All the whiskies mentioned below can be bought from Amazon by clicking on the links.

Slàinte mhath

No 10

The Singleton

A Surprise entry at No. 10 is The Singleton . And the reason it is a surprise, is that if I had come up with this list, even a few months ago, this whisky would not have been on it, as I’d never tasted it.

But, for my birthday this year, somebody bought me a bottle and I was really impressed.
A safe bet to buy for any whisky drinker – they won’t be disappointed.

Smooth, easy drinking with sweet, honey notes.
The perfect gift for any whisky drinker.
Very reasonably priced too!

No 9

10 Year old

Probably my favourite “everyday” whisky.  Aberlour is a popular Speyside whisky.
There are other aberlour variants available (also highly recommended), but the 10 year old is a reliable, fine tasting malt.

Creamy, spicy with notes of vanilla and toffee.
Lovely colour, easy drinking and reasonably priced.

No 8

The Macallan Gold

This list would not be complete without a Macallan on it.  One of the finest Speyside malts, it is an ideal whisky to give as a gift.  Always appreciated.

Sweet, vanilla and apple flavours.
Reasonably priced.

You can’t go wrong with a bottle of Macallan as a present.

No 7

Highland Park

This distillery on Orkney is the most Northerly distillery.  That fact alone can give it a bit of charm, but it is a lovely dram with just enough smokiness to make it interesting without being overpowering.

Peaty and smoky, but only moderately so.
Sweet, with citrus and honey notes.

(I also received a bottle of this on my birthday this year – it went down very nicely)

No 6


I am not a fan of the traditional smoky, peaty Islay whiskies – far too medicinal for me.

But Bunnahabhain is a different story.  Matured in sherry casks.  Unpeated but with a salty tang, it is delicious.
Some of the more classic style Islay whiskies include ArdbegBowmoreLagavulin and  Caol Ila

Unpeated, salty and creamy on the palate.

Notes of caramel and spices.

So that brings us to the final five.
Now any whisky drinker would be delighted to receive one of the whiskies above as a gift.

However, if you know the recipient of your gift is a bit of a whisky aficionado, and you chose something from the final five – they will appreciate that you have gone out of your way to buy something special.  It doesn’t even have to be hugely expensive, just something that you wouldn’t find on the shelves in your local supermarket.

No 5


Not one of the best known whiskies, but those of us in the know, know about it!

Linkwood is a Speyside whisky, distilled near Elgin.
Complex and worth spending some time at the nose to appreciate the aromas before finally sampling it.

Vanilla, creamy toffee and garden flowers.

Smooth and delicious.

No 4

Aberlour A'Bunadh

Yes we’ve already had an Aberlour in the list, but this is a very different and special drop of  stuff.

Richly sherried, delicious, one of my very favourite whiskies.
Sure to be recognised and appreciated when you hand it over as a gift.

Notes of Sherry, citrus and spices.

Strong finish of spices and dark chocolate.

No 3

Glen Scotia

Mention Campbeltown, and people think of Springbank whisky.

 Glen Scotia is “the other” Campbeltown whisky. 
I must have somehow mentioned in the passing that I had a certain fondness for it, because I also got a bottle of this for my birthday this year – they know me so well!

Slightly smoky with hints of salty spray and seaweed.

Notes of fruit, caramel and citrus peels.  Just a trace of ginger too.  As an argyll man, this takes me right back home.

No 2


Glenmorangie distillery produces a huge range of whiskies with different finishes – but The Quinta Ruban port cask finish has to be one of the nicest. 
And very reasonably priced too.  Ideal as a special whisky gift.

Beautiful colour, chocolate and citrus notes on the nose.

Delicious taste of orange, chocolate and turkish delight.

No 1


With all the splendid whiskies in this list, you would think it difficult to chose my number 1 – but no, that’s easy.
16 year old Mortlach was always going to be my number 1.
100% matured in sherry casks, rich, fruity and dark.
Not particularly cheap, but worth every penny for a whisky only to be savoured on special occasions.

Sweet notes of honey and fruit.

Add just the tiniest amount of water to open the nose and you’ll appreciate all the flavours of this great whisky.

As Neil Munro’s character, Para Handy would say..
..”it is chust sublime”