Show me the way to the next whisky gift...
March 17, 2008 10:17 PM   Subscribe

What's a good gift for my scotch-loving husband?

He has been getting into good scotches over the past couple of years, and I'd like to get him a birthday gift that relates to scotch, but not an actual bottle, since he's got all the varieties he wants that are available within a hundred miles (really; he's got at least 20). For Christmas I got him a membership to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. He has tasting glasses and a couple of reference books. I'd like to find something unexpected. Any ideas, wise ones?
posted by TochterAusElysium to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps too obvious, but perhaps some decent tumblers, and an ice-bucket and tongs?
posted by pompomtom at 10:31 PM on March 17, 2008

Only 20 you say? What a pity. There are so many more to be savoured, relished, enjoyed. [sigh...] Let Michael Jackson guide the way (no, not that guy, this guy, who also writes about beer)

Lovely FTP title, by the way - one of my favourite songs by the Doors.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:02 PM on March 17, 2008

Maybe a nice scotch from his birth year?
posted by PandaMcBoof at 11:16 PM on March 17, 2008

How about a kilt?
posted by Scram at 11:28 PM on March 17, 2008

What about a one week course at the Bruichladdich distillery the next time he happens to be on the Island of Islay? Failing that, they appear to have some good stuff in their gift shop. You said not an actual bottle, but you didn't say not a cask.
posted by lunaazul at 11:31 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A decanter or two. Tasteful, please. Perhaps a wee fine pitcher for water, as well.
posted by mumkin at 11:38 PM on March 17, 2008

Iain Banks' book Raw Spirit is a pretty good travel book about touring the whisky regions of Scotland.

I would advise against getting an ice bucket as malt whisky generally should not be drunk with ice.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:57 AM on March 18, 2008

If he hasn't done it yet, a tour of the Whisky Trail. If he's already done that or it's not convenient, there's always the American Whiskey Trail down south. Though American Whiskey is sacrilege to some Scotch Whisky drinkers, it's nice to compare and contrast the two approaches to drink.
posted by SteveInMaine at 4:06 AM on March 18, 2008

The Scottish Malt Whisky Society themselves have a pretty good shop if you are looking for ideas (linking to their UK branch here).
posted by rongorongo at 4:39 AM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: If he's at all into Scottish heritage as well, you could get him a quaich for whisky tasting.
posted by desuetude at 6:02 AM on March 18, 2008

Speaking as a whisky fan, I'd vote against the ice bucket/tongues thing. Decent whisky should be drunk straight, not dilluted, iced or otherwise messed about with. I'd vote in favor of the tours or a decent bottle of something unusual.
posted by baggers at 6:42 AM on March 18, 2008

When it comes to whisky, you don't need many accessories to enjoy the drink to its fullest. Once he has a glass he likes and bottle (or 20) to pour from, there's little else that will add to his enjoyment except a comfortable spot in front of the fireplace and maybe a drinking partner.

I know you don't want to get him a bottle, but a serious problem with whisky bottles is their infernal tendency to run dry. I think your best bet for a scotch-related birthday present is a gift certificate to the liquor store he frequents. Let him handle the rest.
posted by OilPull at 7:20 AM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: Many great ideas; I think that due to budget constraints, trips to the UK are out for a while. He has Banks' book, and the Jackson guide; a kilt, while I would love him to wear one, is sadly not to his taste; he's said he has plenty of glassware...and I don't feel like I can buy him a bottle as he is very particular about what he likes, and so does a lot of research before buying - and has probably got most of what I could get him, including some rare ones ordered online. So I'd have trouble with that, not being a scotch drinker myself. But there are some other nice thoughts, especially the quaich, or a water decanter. Thanks!
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:27 AM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: Oh, and a nice glass eyedropper for water. Yes, decent whisky should be drunk straight (and not iced!), but a few drops of distilled water can enhance. More important once you get your hands on the cask-strength stuff.
posted by desuetude at 7:47 AM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: Good as a standalone gift or something on top of whatever else you're getting him: a scotch-themed calendar. My girlfriend bought me this one, which I find fantastic and very informative. Each month is dedicated to a particular distillery, with information like location, history, tasting notes and maps on the page. As you might guess, the calendar is fairly wordy, but its contents are laid out in a classy and unobtrusive manner. As a bit of a scotch fan myself, I highly recommend this as a gift.
posted by nihraguk at 8:21 AM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: A good hipflask is always nice for the Scotsman on the go.

A decanter would be pretty classy and a nice glass water jug (small, no more than a half pint) makes drinking a dram a pleasure.

Good, heavy bottomed, tumblers rather than tasting glasses feel so much better in the hand when just kicking back late at night.

Have a look at this Canadian stockist of Glencairn glasswear who ship to the US. Their award winning glass is excellent but the more traditional tumblers are also of high quality. The Edinburgh is very traditional but The Glasgow less so. The Iona jug would be ideal.

I'd also highly recommend Waterford crystal for decanter and glasses. Perhaps the nicely bulbous Double Old Fashioned Lismore's? (Also available here). The matching decanter is also pretty awesome. All this would depend on your husbands taste and style obviously. If he's anything like me he may just like a simple glass and a bottle to hand.

(On preview he has plenty glasses so scratch all that)

A hipflask is always a boon for the canny Alba-ophile on the go. Aspinal of London make nice ones and can be got in the US via here.

Finally, and I'm only half-kidding, for the whisky lover who has everything, how about a whiff of The Peat Reek? Invented by Angus Og of the Utter Hebrides, The Peat Reek was designed to give ex Scottish Highlanders and Islanders a whiff of the old country where the air is filled with the heavenly scent of burning peat from the fires of the crofts. As an islander away from home it's a smell that tugs at heartstrings and is enough to lure many a wanderer back from their travels. All fiction of course...

Well lo and behold you can actually buy it in the US! Genuine Peat Reek! This is the smell that drives the taste of many of the great Scottish malts and I can think of nothing better than drinking my Ardbeg with my feet up in front of a peat fire. In the absence of a visit over here, that these wee cones will go a long way to bringing a bit of the Islands to you! :)

SlĂ inte Mhath!
posted by brautigan at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ooh, nthing flasks. Not just decent-sized ones, either. A little bitty flask can be carried at all times and filled with just The Very Good Stuff for a tiny nip. A friend of mine carries a flask on her keychain.
posted by desuetude at 1:49 PM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: Might be a bit tricky to get hold of but Whisky Galore! is great fun, both book and film. It's based on the true story of a ship filled with whisky running aground on the Scottish island and the inhabitants efforts to keep it hidden from the revenue men.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:12 PM on March 18, 2008

Might be a bit tricky to get hold of but Whisky Galore! is great fun, both book and film. It's based on the true story of a ship filled with whisky running aground on the Scottish island and the inhabitants efforts to keep it hidden from the revenue men.

posted by brautigan at 4:29 PM on March 18, 2008

This one might be some work to find, but I think is pretty high up on the scotch novelty ranking.

Many folks recommend adding a few drops of water to your scotch, to break the surface tension, open up the bouquet, etc. The best water for this is supposed to be spring water
from the same source as the distillery. I know that there used to be bottled Islay water, for instance, but perhaps there are other sources? The main thing is matching up the water source with the region the scotch is from, but hey, I bought my friend some bottled water from a Scotland Tesco, and he loved even that.

Some random searches:
Scotch Mist

Highland spring water

Scotch Rocks Ice cubes, so not for the purist, but same idea.
posted by jsmith77 at 7:41 PM on March 19, 2008

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