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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.

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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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