Bottle of Scotch for a gift
Over the last several months my boyfriend has developed a new love for scotch. For Christmas I want to get him a reasonably nice bottle (approximately $50-75). I would prefer not to get him something "mainstream", instead perhaps a bottle he might not have heard of. We live near several large retailers that have diverse options. He currently has:
Johnny Walker Black and Gold
Glenlivet 18 yo
Macallan Cask Strength
Balvenie 21 yo (obviously more than I plan on spending).
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Another vote for Aberlour A'bundah. This is what I'm giving my Dad for Christmas. We visited the distillery together in May, and especially enjoyed this offering. Got a nod in the current issue of Wine Enthusiast too, I believe (worth picking up for ideas, and then maybe passing on with your gift?)
I wouldn't completely discount Talisker. It's slightly smokier than some of the ones you've mentioned, but still a wonderful Scotch. He'll want to explore this one. I've found I can spend more time with it than I do the sweeter, more sherrier Scotches (which I really enjoy as well.)
On the other hand, I also recommend Oban. I'm unsure of the price range, but I'm sure you can find something that'll fit. Generally on the more sherried side, a smaller producer than Macallan, but often compared to them.
Glenmorangie, Glenkinchie, Glenfarclas, as mentioned below are all worth checking out in good time as well.
It seems your boyfriend is into both single malts and blends. As such, I'd suggest looking at the Compass Box blended whiskies. They're all quite good.
I bought a bottle of Hedonism for my stepdad for his birthday and we both love it. It's now one of his all time favorites.
Just a suggestion, but if you are unable to find the perfect bottle for him why not buy him a book/guide, glasses and an IOU? He can use the glasses to drink what he has now, the book/guide to decide what next (along with learn more about scotch), and the IOU once he decides.
Last Xmas scotch was a very popular gift in my family. My brother gave me a bottle of the Balvenie 21 yr and a couple Reidel glasses. Because my BF was undecided on what he wanted he got Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch. While my father who is a Glenfiddich drinker wanted something new and got a bottle of Cragganmore. And since I figured we had enough scotch at the time, I gave my BF an IOU and glasses.
I wouldn't go for the likes of Lagavullin, Bruichladdich and Talisker. Although great whiskys, they are somewhat more of an aquired taste (smokey, peaty). A good introduction to these Islay or Island whiskeys is Highland Park or even Jura. Also Bowmore Enigma (oaked in sherry casks), will give you smokeyness with warm hints of caramel.
I second Aberlour A'bunadh. It's a quite special whisky (60%), best enjoyed with a drop of water to bring out the splendid bouquet and aroma of vanilla, caramel, bourbon. And probably the best fit for his current collection.
Just to clarify, most Bruichladdichs, including the one I mentioned above, are not very peated. They are now doing some peated malts, including the 3D3, Peat, PC series and the upcoming super-peated Octomore, but most of the rest of their malts are still fairly low peat levels.
Based on the selection he has (and assuming he likes those), I'd suggest the following:
Bruichladdich 15 year old is just slightly over your price range but an excellent single malt, though might have to hunt for it a bit. Around $80.
Clynelish 14 year old. This is the base of Johnnie Walker Gold, but so much better. If he likes the Gold, I bet he'll love it. Around $50.
For something more sherried (like Macallan), try the Aberlour A'Bunadh ($50-60).
Others to check out in your price range and the range of Scotch you've suggested are Glenrothes and Glenmorangie.
Here are a couple more suggestions....
1. You might want to expand your boyfriends collection a bit. How about a nice Islay? The Lagavulin 16 is a really nice scotch.
2. Or another suggestion would be for a classic Islander in the Talisker 18.
3. Try a good Highland Malt in Glenfarclas 17.
4. Or a lowland in Glenkinchie 10.... although this one's a little cheap. But you could do like a Talisker 10 and Glenkinchie 10 maybe.
Anyway, just some more suggestions. I think any scotch lover would like all of these.