You know what I love most about the Christmas holiday season? Eggnog? …Not really. Fruit cake? …Pass. Cookie-making day at mom’s house? Well… I must say, I do enjoy that quite a bit. But when it comes down to it, what I always look forward to most is when the whisky gift packs start showing up in liquor stores! I mean, you’re going to be buying whisky anyway, so you may as well get it in a cool box with some extra swag included at no extra cost, right?
Much like picking out the perfect Christmas tree, I look at every gift pack in the shop with a discerning eye. At some point, I’ll have 4 or 5 of my favorite ones lined up so I can compare them side by side. My wife has learned that if she’s going to accompany me on this annual pilgrimage, she’s going to have to pack her patience. She can deal with me for the first 30 minutes or so, but at some point she’ll proclaim (and I’ll quote her here…) “Come on! You don’t need that crap, just pick something already. You have enough glasses/iceball molds/coasters at home!” To which I typically reply with an indignant “Well… I don’t have THESE glasses/iceball molds/coasters.” She just doesn’t understand.
In all honesty, and don’t tell my wife this, it can all get a little boring after you’ve been doing it for a few years, and as much as I don’t want to admit it, she’s right, I DON’T really need any more glasses or iceball molds. So, does that mean I’m going to stop shopping the whisky gift sets? Not so fast! Enter the Speyburn 10 Year Old Sourced Water Gift Pack. I can just hear my wife now… “You don’t need a bottle of water sourced directly from a tributary of the river Spey in Scotl….. oh wait. That’s actually pretty cool!” Ah ha! We got her!!
Truth be told, I haven’t even started thinking about buying Christmas gifts yet, but I did have to make the rounds several weeks ago in search of gifts for Father’s Day. As it turns out, neither my father nor my father-in-law are whisky drinkers, (I tried, and now they BOTH have unopened bottles of whisky in their kitchen cabinets that I bought them several years ago!) so shopping for their gifts was nowhere near as exciting as spending the afternoon in a liquor store. Like many people these days, we took the lazy route and let Amazon supply them with the gifts they don’t want. But fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to receive one of these packs for review and was able to enjoy it myself over the Father’s Day weekend. So if you’re one of those dads that didn’t exactly get the Father’s Day gift you really wanted, and happen to be one who actually opens the whiskies you receive as gifts, you don’t need to wait until December to get one of these sets for yourself. They’re available right now in fine liquor stores everywhere with a suggested retail price of $30. And the best news is you don’t even need to be a Dad to get one! Anyone who’s looking for something a little different than the typical branded glassware gift sets might want to keep an eye out for this. If you don’t see it at your local shop, ask them about it, I’m sure they can get it in. If all else fails and for some reason they can’t get it in for you, I found it available online here.
Additionally, Uisge Source Water of Scotland has the individual waters available for the Highland, Speyside and Islay regions if you want to try them all. Adding water to your whisky is a personal preference, but for those who do enjoy a splash or two, why not use water sourced from the same region of Scotland that was used to make the whisky itself. Speyburn Brand Education Manager Steph Ridgeway says “Water changes the molecular structure of the whisky, allowing some of the dominate flavor components to shine through. By adding a drop of water to your whisky, you get to experience something that is often totally different than what you get with neat whisky.”
As for the whisky itself, I’ve long been a fan of Speyburn and still think this Speyburn 10 is one of the most overlooked singlemalt scotch whiskies for the money. Maybe you’ve noticed that scotch prices, and whisk(e)y prices across the board, have been steadily climbing over the past several years. These days, it’s hard enough to find a really good blended scotch, or even a decent bourbon for that matter, for $30. You have probably also noticed that distilleries of all types are dropping age statements like a bad habit. Well, Speyburn 10 has got your back. Made with 100% malted barley, and pure water from the Granty Burn, it is aged for 10 years in a combination of American Oak ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and delivers crisp notes of citrus, toffee, red fruits and butterscotch. Adding a few drops of the provided water smooths out the profile leading to a creamy, easy drinking pour that highlights the oak and vanilla, and the sweetness of the sherry casks. In case you missed it, you can read my full review of Speyburn 10 Year Old in the Bourbon & Banter archives here.
Slainte, friends… Good luck in your search, and as always, #DrinkCurious!