Choosing the right alcohol on Christmas is just as important as choosing the right foods. Choose wrong, and you won’t have anything that pairs well with your food. Choose well, and you can stop worrying if your white elephant gift is good enough. You are the person who saved the day with the great whisky!
Not only for pairing whisky with food, but also to have a great whisky that fits perfectly within the holiday’s spirit! Choosing the best whisky for Christmas involves knowing what flavors to look for and what type of flavor profiles each type of whisky has.
In this article, we will help you choose the best whisky expressions regarding the type of whisky you most enjoy!
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You will be delighted to know the same flavor profiles in that yummy Christmas dinner are also in whisky. In case you want to miss out on your aunt’s apple pie that’s always a little too dry, you can still enjoy the bite of apples and cinnamon in a beverage.
Here are the flavor profiles to look for while choosing a whisky for Christmas:
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Now that you know the flavor profile you should search for, we’ll take a look at the types of whisky. Just like wine, different types of whisky will pair well with different kinds of food.
And you should also be aware of the price. If you know you’ll be dining with alcohol connoisseurs on Christmas, you might want to bring a more expensive, exclusive bottle of whisky.
Likewise, if you’ll be celebrating with family or those who don’t have any preference for alcohol, as long as it makes them feel fuzzy and cozy inside, you can opt for a more affordable whisky expression.
The best advice we can give you, though, is that, to choose the best whisky for christmas, you should go for what you and your family and friends like best! Being it scotch, irish or bourbon, the best choice is always what feels good for you.
If you feel completely lost, keep on reading this article. We’ll present you a few expressions that will shine at the Christmas table.
Scotland is the greatest producer of whisky in the world and that is one of the reasons Scotch Whisky has such an amazing reputation. It was also one of the first types of whisky to be invented, alongside Irish Whiskey.
The use of peat to malt the barley and make the mash is one of the unique characteristics of its production process and it ends up making a huge part of the spirit’s final flavour: the smoky tasting notes. This is also why a peated scotch whisky will fit perfectly on a Christmas’ eve dinner table. Warm, round and smoky: it’s like a fireplace on your mouth!
If you are not a fan of smoky drams, there are a lot of Scotch whisky expressions that will be sweet and smooth, perfect to pair with the Christmas supper.
Auchentoshan American Oak
A Lowland Scotch Whisky that will make the Christmas dinner go higher! Being triple distilled and aged in American Ex-Bourbon Casks, the Auchentoshan American Oak is a sweet and mellow expression while having a fruity twist.
Regarding the aromas, the bourbon mixes with coconut and vanilla notes, as well as citrus. The flavours, by its turn, of this expression resemble vanilla and coconut, while having a fresh peach taste. In the end, it lingers with light notes of spice.
An Islay Scotch Whisky that lives up to its name. The Ardbeg 10 Years Old is considered to be one of the smokiest scotch whisky expressions ever made. However, the peaty flavours do not completely overcome the sweetness and fruity notes present in the heated dram. This is, definitely, one of the best whisky for Christmas one can choose to put on the table.
On the nose, one can smell the intensity of smoke with notes of dark chocolate. There are also citrus notes, hints of pineapple and pear and also black pepper. On the mouth, it is possible to taste citrus fruit and bananas, as well as spices such as black pepper and cinnamon. The smoky peat accompanies all the flavours in the background, as the dram turns more creamy in the mouth. There are also sweet notes of toffee and marshmallows. Ardbeg 10 Years Old has a long and smoky finish, filled with almonds and aniseed flavour notes.
As Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey is one of the first whiskies ever produced. That gives this spirit a well known reputation, but not only that.
The actual production process is quite unique in the world. As scotch whisky has peat as a unique characteristic, Irish Whiskey has triple distillation and copper pot stills. This gives this type of whiskey floral flavours, as well as smooth and fresh notes.
These are our suggestion on Irish Whiskey for the Christmas Table:
Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey
The Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey is considered to be one of the best whisky for christmas. Firstly, because it has a unique approach to whiskey production, from the mash bill to maturation in French Oak Ex-Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine Casks. This will give this dram a red fruity flavour.
On the nose, one can smell the sweetness and fruity notes, as well as hints of spice. On the mouth, it has a silky mouthfeel and it is possible to taste spices, berries, and sweet notes. The finish is quite tannic, dry and short.
Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
The best of both worlds, combining two wonders of Ireland: Whiskey and Stout Beer. The Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition is a blended whiskey that has been triple-distilled and then matured in stout beer barrels. This combination makes this dram go from floral to nutty, from fresh to creamy as the flavours develop on the mouth.
The aromas of this whiskey are mostly fruity, with lime, green apples and pears, but there are also hints of spices, chocolate and hazelnuts. On the mouth, this is a sweet dram, with notes of nuts, cocoa and honey. One can also taste citrus and spices like cinnamon. The finish is long and creamy resembling milk chocolate flavour notes.
Japanese Whisky is a good choice for impressing co-workers or alcohol snobs. This type of whisky is known for its high quality, rarity and high price.
The great thing about this kind of whisky is that it is as smooth as it is floral and delicate. Japanese Whisky has been said to taste amazing with a chocolate cake, which also happens to be a Christmas favorite. You can attribute this to its subtle, sweet finish that has a hint of spice.
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky – Distiller’s Reserve
Hakushu is the distillery in the forest that produces delicate, gentle and herbal single malt whiskies. The Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve is the epitome of this definition, with a little twist: it has smoke on the background. Maybe that is why it is one of the best whisky for christmas. It can definitely take you on a journey to the pagan roots of this season with earthy and herbal flavours.
While sniffing this expression, one can discover cucumber, peppermint and melon. On the mouth, it is possible to feel the flavour of thyme, lemon and grapefruit. The finish is medium with gentle smoke wandering.
Yamazaki 12 Years Old
The first japanese whisky distillery was Yamazaki and the 12 Year Old is one of its best sellers. And we dont blame anyone for buying it, it is truly an amazing dram that deserves to be cherished! Aged in a blend of Japanese Mizunara Oak, American Oak and Spanish Casks, the Yamazaki 12 Years Old have flavours that go from fruity to sweet and spicy.
On the nose, one might notice vanilla and fresh fruit as citrus, peaches, pineapple. The Yamazaki 12 Years has a buttery mouthfeel and cranberry and coconut flavour notes. The finish is long and spicy, with hints of ginger and cinnamon.
Created from at least 51 percent corn and produced in America, bourbon whiskey has no minimum aging period. This means that it’s on the spectrum of more affordable whiskies – the “younger” a whiskey is, the cheaper it tends to be.
Bourbon is also incredibly versatile. It can be served neat, on the rocks, with cola, in cocktails, or diluted with water.
Don’t feel like drinking it? Throw it in the sauce and glaze your Christmas ham with it. Your guests will love it. You can also use bourbon whiskey by using it as a flavoring for chocolate cake or in fruit-based desserts.
Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
With 13 gold medals in the pocket, the Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a classic and heavy weight dram to have at the Christmas table. Almost anything can go wrong with this choice!
This Kentucky bourbon expression is as balanced and complex as it can get, since it has over 200 flavour notes.
In the nose, the woodford reserve straight bourbon whiskey is filled with dried fruit and oranges, as well as spices and vanilla.The flavours that pop up the most are the ones that will pair perfectly with the Christmas dinner: citrus, cinnamon and clove; chocolate, caramel and butterscotch. The finish is smooth and creamy, with a warm take that fits the holiday spirit!
Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon is one of the best whisky for christmas options you can choose
Cleveland Christmas Bourbon
It comes around every year, with three different labels, and it never disappoints! The Cleveland Christmas Bourbon is a limited edition whiskey that tastes like the holidays in liquid status. It will fit perfectly at the dinner table or give your cocktails a christmassy twist.
With aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove and flavours that resemble eggnog, this is one of the best whiskeys for christmas that anyone can get! If it wasn’t a holiday bourbon, it wouldn’t be developed specifically for it.
Comparing it to bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey it’s a lot lighter but still has that delicious taste of caramel and vanilla. In some Tennessee Whiskies, you can even taste a hint of burnt wood or charcoal. Imagine drinking that around a fireplace as the snow falls over your Christmas lights.
Tennessee whiskey is most famous for being drunk in shots. But you can toss it in a mixed drink or top off a cola with it too. And if you have some ginger ale on deck, it complements the ginger perfectly.
This whiskey is one of the more affordable whiskies that a lot of people know and love. It’s a party favorite, so if you want to stay on the safe side, this might be one of your best options.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey
Made from a blend of three whiskies, Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey is a dram that will put a twist on Christmas! Two Tennessee whiskey expressions and a straight rye whiskey are put together in heavily charred oak barrels after 6 years of aging independently, for a last year of maturation.
On the nose, it is possible to smell nutty notes, as well as berries and toasted oak. In the mouth one can taste the creaminess and warmness of caramel, vanilla and cocoa. It also has cherry, lemon and orange flavour notes.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select
One of the top expressions from the well-known brand Jack Daniel’s. The Single Barrel Select is a dram worth having anytime of the year, but it suits Christmas just perfectly. It is bottled at 90-proof and every bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select is truly single in the world.
On the nose, this spirit has a lot of sweetness, with toffee and corn, but also smoke and oaky notes. On the mouth, it has a full body and one can taste nuts, rye and aniseed. The finish is citric and sweet.
There are tons of whiskies to choose from for your Christmas party or family gathering. Choose the one that will bring the most joy, not to yourself, but to your guests. It is the season of giving after all.