Whiskey is easily one of the most popular alcohols in the world. Usually fermented to be at least 40% alcohol by volume, whiskey is a strong but mature-flavored drink implying style and elegance among those who receive it as a gift. Here are some of the best options if you want to give a bottle of whiskey to someone else.
Good Whiskey for a Gift
- Glenmorangie Signet
- High West Double Rye
- The Macallan 25-Year-Old Sherry Oak
- Lyre’s Highland Malt
- Wild Turkey Master’s Keep One
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label
- Knappogue Castle 16-Year-Old
- Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight
- J.P. Wiser 18-Year-Old Canadian
- Frey Ranch Four-Grain
- Westward American Single Malt
- Booker’s Bourbon
1. Glenmorangie Signet (Top Overall)
Glenmorangie’s Signet is a single malt scotch with notes of mocha and butterscotch that mix for a bold but smooth flavor. It’s an ideal bottle for any whiskey drinker who also likes coffee and manages to hit flavor notes that aren’t often associated with finer alcohols.
This particular bottle is about 46% ABV, and ideal if you want to give a whiskey as a gift to a woman. (Although usually thought of as a men’s drink, about a third of whiskey drinkers are women, and the Signet works well as a gift for both.)
2. High West Double Rye (Best Budget Bottle)
High West’s Double Rye is an affordable mix that’s about 46% ABV, matching Glenmorangie’s Signet. Flavors here include cinnamon, honey, mint, juniper, and gingersnaps.
The Double Rye is a surprisingly high-quality drink for its price, having won multiple awards in 2023 for its quality. It’s excellent as an ingredient for whiskey-using cocktails, but you can also enjoy it by itself. While it doesn’t quite hit the level of pure quality as some other bottles here, it’s still a good choice as a gift for most people.
3. The Macallan 25-Year-Old Sherry Oak (Best Premium)
If you don’t mind splurging for a gift, this twenty-five-year-old single malt is one of the highest-quality whiskeys you’re going to find on the market. Macallan recommends serving this over an ice ball or with Iberico ham and some olives as part of a fuller meal.
At 43% ABV, it’s slightly weaker in alcohol than most of the other bottles on this list. Flavors include wood smoke, dried fruit, and spice, balanced with a notable citrus smell. It’s an excellent drink, but expect a price to match.
4. Lyre’s Highland Malt (Non-Alcoholic)
Although not a traditional whiskey, Lyre’s Highland Malt mix is a non-alcoholic option offering an outstanding mix of toffee, oak, and nut flavors that closely mimic regular whiskey recipes.
Relatively affordable, the non-alcoholic nature of this bottle means there’s no issue shipping it almost anywhere. It’s an excellent option for anyone who loves whiskey but is trying to drink less alcohol or for younger people who want to experiment with flavors but worry about getting drunk. The Highland Malt works well for non-alcoholic mocktails.
Wild Turkey isn’t nearly as well-known as some other brands, but this bourbon-style whiskey features strong notes of vanilla and caramel alongside a toasted oak finish. It’s sweeter than many other whiskeys, with less of the fruit smell you may find in some other drinks.
Master’s Keep One is about 50.5% ABV, making it stronger than many other drinks on this list. This drink goes through a second maturation process in new barrels, giving it a more distinctive flavor than any whiskey that only matures once.
Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label is a blended mix of flavors created by combining several scotch options into one. They claim that only one out of every ten thousand barrels ends up getting selected for these batches, highlighting the limited nature of the flavor.
As a blended drink, the flavors can be complex here. Expect a mixture of spice and vanilla, following through to elements of nuts, chocolate, and smoke by the time someone gets to the finish. A typical bottle is 40% ABV, putting it on the low side for whiskey.
Knappogue Castle’s 16-year-old whiskey starts with fourteen years of aging in regular bourbon barrels, then switches to at least two more years in a sherry cask to modify the flavor. The result is a much deeper and more complicated flavor than a single-maturation drink. As a gift, this stands out as one of their best bottles.
Flavors here include a mix of malt and fruit. It’s only slightly sweet, making it a good choice for people who don’t want something as bold as Wild Turkey’s option above.
Buffalo Trace produces a range of whiskey brands, but their Kentucky Straight bottle is both impressively affordable and widely available in stores. If you want to find something with decent flavor and good accessibility, this is a great bottle to start with.
At 45% ABV, this is a little stronger than some of the other bottles on this list. Its complex flavor has notes of cinnamon, pepper, molasses, and leather, and it’s particularly good as an ingredient for cocktails.
Kentucky and Scotland may be the most iconic locations for making whiskey, but Canada has some impressive producers of its own. J.P. Wiser’s bottle is aged over eighteen years, then blended to create a smoother flavor.
Notes for this bottle include pine, caramel, and floral elements, with a bit of spice and oak. It’s 40% ABV, putting it on the lighter end and making it better for people who want to enjoy its flavors to the fullest.
Frey Ranch is a newcomer to the whiskey scene, but they’ve exploded onto the scene with drinks made entirely on their property. They don’t just grow all of their grains, they also malt, distill, mature, and bottle on-site. The four-grain whiskey is aged for about five years, but they’ll probably start offering older drinks as their company ages to match.
Flavors here include oak, citrus, vanilla, caramel, and banana. At 45% ABV, it’s a little stronger than some other options, and its smooth formula makes it a good choice for any recipient who wants to make cocktails.
Brewed in Oregon, where a mix of hot summers and wet winters can impact the aging process in distinct ways, Westward American’s classic single malt is a bold option for anyone who wants a whiskey that’s a little different from the usual.
Notes here include orange and caramel in the aroma, honey, and vanilla with coconut in the main palate, and a finish offering a mix of lighter oak, toffee, and some fruit. This bottle works well in a range of cocktails or as a drink all by itself.
12. Booker’s Bourbon
Booker’s Bourbon is a rare, small-batch product with a unique flavor in each batch. All bottles are unfiltered and uncut, meaning they aren’t watered down and a drinker can enjoy the full strength of each sip. Exact ABV varies by batch, but is generally between 60% and 65%, making them among the strongest drinks on this list.
Booker’s Bourbon works especially well as a gift because of its rarity. Most of the drinks on this list are readily available, but you may need to sign up and order a bottle well ahead of time. They occasionally show up in other stores, but once they’re gone, that’s it.
Alcohols of all kinds can be very personal. People enjoy different flavors, and the fact that someone enjoys one whiskey doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll like another.
As a rule of thumb, try to stick with drinks you know the recipient will like. If you don’t need the bottle to be a surprise, you can ask them what brands and flavors they prefer. Being adventurous can backfire when you’re gifting whiskey, so err on the side of caution if you’re not sure what to do.
Aside from the flavor, try to match the price to the occasion. A rare and expensive product like Booker’s Bourbon is a great choice for major anniversaries or retirements, but for a regular occasion, a standard bottle is usually fine.
Here are some common questions people have about buying whiskey as a gift.
How expensive is whiskey?
Most bottles of whiskey range from $20 to $60. You may occasionally see budget options that dip below this range. Premium whiskey can go from hundreds to thousands per bottle.
Gifts should be at least medium-quality, so try to stick with whiskeys in the $40 and up range.
How long will whiskey last unopened?
An unopened bottle of whiskey can last for more than ten years as long as you store it properly (preferably in a cool area well away from sunlight). Whiskey should be stored upright, but you may want to tilt the bottle a few times a year to help keep the cork moist.
Whiskey’s long lifespan means it’s an excellent choice if you want to buy something to gift in a few months or years.
Whiskey can be a great option as a gift for an adult. Whether you’re looking for a daily sipper or a luxury bottle for special occasions, the options above are a great place to begin looking.