Not all Whisky drinkers were created equal. And who knows them better than a longtime mixologist and manager of a bar with over 300 Whiskies on their shelves? Brian MacGregor from Wingtip in San Francisco shares 5 Whisky picks for every type of Whisky lover.

For the Novice

If you have someone in your life who thinks they like Whisky and is slowly finding his way in the category, this is a great malt for them.

Besides its impossibly hard name to pronounce (Craig-el-Achy), it is a great offering from the people at Dewar's.

Craigellachie is one of the last distilleries to use worm tail condensation in the distillation process. This creates longer contact on copper as the Spirit condenses and makes for a cleaner Spirit. It is then aged in Bourbon Barrels for 13 years to give it warm vanilla feel to it.
Craigellachie 13 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

For anyone who is just discovering single malt Whisky, this is a great next step into the realms of Speyside.

For the Collector

For the Whisky drinker who has it all, and you want to impress with a high-end bottle look no further than Rare Cask from The Macallan.

This opening offering from their high-end rare cask line is a study in cask management and sherry aging. Most of the casking used to produce this exceptional Whisky were first filled sherry barrel that were selected by Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Master Whisky Maker.

The Macallan Rare Cask

The first thing you notice is the dark rich color that emanates from the glass from all the years in sherry casks. The nose is full of warmth and winter baking spices.

The first sip is pure joy. Like chewing on fresh-baked persimmon bread (my father-in-law makes amazing persimmon bread every year at this time). The second sip brings forth more dark fruit with a slightly savory element. The finish is long and lingering and makes for a great Whisky after a meal or really any time.


For the Geek

If you're looking for a gift for someone who is always expounding on how much they know about Whisky and are trying to show off how much more they know, and how special Single Malt Scotch Whisky is (and make no mistake it is)? Here is something that will blow their mind... Single Malt Whisky from Taiwan. This is no novelty whisky. This is the real deal.

Ian Chang, the master blender, will go down as one of the pioneers of Whisky. His work on his single malts is something to behold. Every one of these seems to be better than the last.

Kavalan Single Malt

I am a particular fan of the Sherry Cask, of course, I have been on a sherried-aged Whisky kick lately, it just makes sense for the winter months.

This is a big beast of dark cherry and chewy oak. It is spicy and mellow and all-encompassing. Anyone who thinks they know it all will love to have their minds blown by Whisky made halfway around the world from the great land of the Scots.


For the Peat Head

Have you ever heard someone utter the words, "I love the smell of peat smoke in the morning, smells like Islay" ?

I never have, but it would be a funny thing to hear someday. Badly adapted movie quote aside, people who love peaty Whisky and love smoked meat and love iodine are a bread apart. And this Whisky is fully suited for them.

Jim Campbell, the master of Whisky at Laphroaig uses all three types of wood to create this most unique of expressions. It starts its life in used American Bourbon barrels, then transferred to smaller quarter cask barrels, and finally it is finished in an oloroso sherry cask.

Laphroaig Scotch Single Malt Triple Wood

The first whiff you get smoked game meats and southern style BBQ (which would be a great food pairing, by the way) the second time you put your nose to the glass you will get that classic Laphroig iodine scent.

The first sip reveals layers upon layers of smoke. Both the kind you find in a chimney and the kind you do outside of Memphis Minifies (A legendary BBQ joint here in SF) As the flavor sits on the palate it slowly unfolds to reveal notes of cinnamon and a lush bouquet of summer fruits. This is just plain fun Whisky and anyone who loves the peat will just gush over this as a gift.


For the Cocktailian

We all know someone who loves to bartend and make drinks, whether they do it for a living as most of my friends do, or the amateur mixologist, who is just shaking up drinks in his or her kitchen.

If you ever hear him expounding on the beauty of a Manhattan or the Sazerac, this is great Whisky for them to try his hand with to make Scotch cocktails.

Glenfarclas is one the few family-owned distilleries in Scotland and makes some of the best value Whisky on the market, there is not an expression they make that I would not drink on a daily basis.

Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength

When it comes to making cocktails using cask strength Whisky always makes for more interesting and more full-flavored drinks, and this offering from Glenfarclas is one of the all-time greats. It has a big full flavor of dark stone fruits and baking spices.

This makes a dynamite Bobby Burns: 2 oz Glenfarlcas Cask Strength, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, .5 oz Benedictine, stirred and strained over a large ice cube.


If you still failed to find the perfect bottle, we've added an expanded selection of Scotch bottles that will fit anyone:


Happy gifting!

Wish to expand your Liquor cabinet without hurting your wallet? Browse our selection of best Scotches under $100!