There’s the top shelf and then there’s the top shelf. From vintage whiskies and rare cognacs to sipping tequilas, these spirits are for truly special occasions. (A drinker can dream). But no one says you have to be practical when writing a holiday gift list. (If you insist, we’ve also included less expensive alternatives.) Let’s drink to the other half!
Gold Bowmore Single Malt Scotch ($6,250):
Any Scotch drinker should have the Gold Bowmore on their dream gift list. It’s the third installment of the distillery’s amazing and expensive trilogy (Black and White came before). Unlike any other whisky we’ve ever tasted, it has traces of peat, oak and (surprisingly) passion fruit. There are just 701 bottles of this 44-year-old single malt.
Realistic Gift: Bowmore 15-Year-Old Darkest Single Malt Scotch ($68)
Martell L’Or de Jean Martell Cognac ($3,700):
Last spring, Martell released 120 bottles of some of its rarest cognac. Most of them sold immediately, but there are a few still available. (Martell is releasing a second edition next year.) L’Or —which comes in an eye-catching crystal decanter—is especially smooth and rich, with notes of orange peel, prune and gingerbread.
Realistic Gift: Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac ($100)
Partida Elegante Extra Añejo Tequila ($350):
Tequila isn’t just for shots. There’s now a special class of extra-old sipping tequilas, and the smooth Partida Elegante (pictured above), with dried fruit and chocolate notes, is one of the best. Aged for more than 36 months in American oak barrels, it’s a gift that both tequila fans and even Scotch drinkers will enjoy.
Realistic Gift: Partida Añejo Tequila ($67)
Rittenhouse 25-Year-Old Very Rare Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey ($190):
Rittenhouse’s award-winning rye is a favorite of drinkers and bartenders. For the holidays the brand is releasing 3,000 bottles worldwide of a very special 25-year-old whiskey. (The previous two vintages in this series sold out quickly.) Like the standard Rittenhouse, the rye is spicy but it’s incredibly smooth (even at 100-proof) and surprisingly sweet.
Realistic Gift: Rittenhouse 100-Proof Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey ($20)
Wild Turkey Tradition Bourbon ($100):
After quietly aging for the last 14 years, some of Wild Turkey’s best casks have been used to create the new limited-edition Tradition. The 101-proof bourbon has big bold flavors with notes of white pepper, citrus and vanilla. And thanks to the heavily charred barrels it was aged in, the whiskey has a long finish with plenty of oak and tobacco.
Realistic Gift: Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve 10-Year-Old ($25)