Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Scotch

There are few holiday presents as traditional as a bottle of Scotch. But with dozens of single malts to choose from, how do you find the ideal spirited gift? Well, we got Angus McShane and Pedro Shanahan of downtown Los Angeles whiskey bar Seven Grand to give us five can’t-miss suggestions.

Auchentoshan Three Wood ($63):

Not only is Auchentoshan one of a very small number of Scotches to be triple-distilled, but it also uses three different types of barrels for this fruity whisky. As a result, McShane and Shanahan say, it has notes of cinnamon, hazelnut and maple.

Caol Ila Distillers Edition ($80):

A glass of this peaty malt from windswept Islay will warm you up on a cold December evening. McShane and Shanahan like its delicious combination of “robust, rich smoke, creamy sherry and smooth, oily oak.”

Glenfarclas 12 Years Old ($60):

McShane and Shanahan have nicknamed this complex spirit “The Dark Horse of Speyside.” It has hints of chocolate and orange zest, and a “whisper of peat.” It’s the perfect dram to savor during a relaxed evening with friends.

Glenfiddich 15 Year Old ($60):

Our experts call this Glenfiddich bottling, at $60, an “excellent value.” It’s been aged in a range of casks and develops sherry, butterscotch and raisin flavors.

Highland Park 18 Year Old ($105):

A perennial favorite of bartenders and connoisseurs, Highland Park’s 18-year-old comes from the Orkney Islands at the northern tip of Scotland. In addition to salted caramel and dried cocoa, McShane and Shanahan say that you can taste a bit of maritime air.

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  • Tim jones posted 6 years ago

    to David Herpin: who cares. just drink man, take it easy.

  • Teri Nolan posted 6 years ago

    Great article Gary, just love your style and wit! I might have to start reposting you on my blog! Hope you dont mind. Thx for the great read!

  • David Herpin posted 6 years ago

    Love the article and I honestly couldn't agree more about the myth of speakeasies. This is what i've gathered from my research on the drink, this is not an argumentative statement, this is fact. Federal Council bulletin, Volumes 6-7 page 10 in 1923, claims the contest was arranged by a Mr. D. King of Quincy, Mass., who offered a prize of $200 to the best word to describe a person who violates this law. I have had trouble finding early recipes aside from the aforementioned obvious lone reference who does not exactly have the best track record for providing historically accurate information. There is no strong indication that this drink was ever part of popular american drinking culture or I have not gathered sufficient evidence to prove otherwise at this time.

  • Jason Brandt Lewis posted 6 years ago

    While I agree that the "French 75" was originally was made with gin, it was first made in 1915 at Harry's Bar in PARIS -- and named after the 75mm artillery piece in widespread use with the French military during World War I. This field gun was as famous during the First World War as the German "88" flak/tank gun was in the Second World War -- a formidable weapon that scared the proverbial $#!+ out of the enemy! The combination of gin, sugar, lemon, and Champagne provided the drinker with the same sort of "kick" the artillery piece provided on the battlefield.

    It was popular with returning US soldiers, especially the officers serving in Paris, far from the battlefields, and eventually made its way to the Stork Club in New York c. 1919.

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