Whisky Advocate

Drinking anything special over the holidays?

December 19th, 2012

Please do share what it is. I always open up a bottle of something special between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I make myself do this, even though it’s fair to say I have enough bottles open already.

Why? I’ve seen to many enthusiasts’ whisky collections auctioned off by their spouse after they die, and I’ve learned from that. Better to open up that special bottle now and share with like-minded friends.

I haven’t decided which whisky I’m opening this year, but I have a few days to work on it. I’ll let you know what it is when I do decide.

What will you be enjoying? And while I’m at it, let me wish all of you the very merriest of holidays, and the best life has to offer in the new year. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and join in on the whisky discussions.


86 Responses to “Drinking anything special over the holidays?”

  1. Matt says:

    Don’t know yet…going to colorado for christmas and will buy something out there. I have already have multiple bottles of stranahans and breckenridge. any other recommendations?

  2. Justin Victor says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family as well John. You do a great job here and I look foreword to the next year of Whisky Advocate. (And I for one LOVE the larger format of the magazine!)

    I will be enjoying a special single cask bottling of Buffalo Trace I picked up at Macadoodle’s in Missouri with family and friends this holiday season.


  3. Char says:

    I’ll be cracking the Barry Crockett Legacy. Such a lovely bottle.

  4. thebitterfig says:

    Not so much a special bottle of whisky, but I’m looking forward to throwing a bit of bourbon in a glass of Martinelli’s sparkling cider. Had some last year (basic Four Roses Yellow Label, a pleasant combo with some nice caramel notes), and the cider is in the stores again.

  5. Dave says:

    Merry Christmas and thanks for your great blog and magazine. I plan on opening a Wild Turkey American Spirit, a Van Winkle Lot B, and the Four Roses OESV bottled for the Kentucky Derby Museum (aged 10 years, 8 months).

  6. Paul M says:

    John, in prior years you had let us help you choose. How about sharing your choices again and letting us help you again?

    As for me, I like to use the year end to finish some of the bottles before they oxidize.

  7. TomH says:

    After waiting almost 2 years for them to release it, I’m really looking forward to opening my new bottle of Angels Envy Cask Strength……..though I imagine as friends come over we will manage to open another bottle or two….actually a friend from out of town is coming in tomorrow and asked if I had a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 15/107 open…since I don’t we’ll probably have to crack one open

  8. tanstaafl2 says:

    Looking forward to opening up the recent cask strength edition of Angel’s Envy later this week with some friends. We will be comparing it to the standard Angel’s Envy which I really enjoyed. And speaking of Angel’s Envy is there any more news about the high-rye whiskey (a true rye or a high rye bourbon?) being finished in a Caribbean rum cask that you mentioned back in October?

  9. William says:

    I have a bottle of Brora by Signatory, I think I will open that and some Talisker 25, I have way too many bottles of Bourbon open to even consider opening anything new.

  10. Compass Box Great King Street Limited Edition. Looking forward to the smokier release of a Blended Whisky I already hold in high regard. John Glaser never lets me down.

  11. MrTH says:

    So, John, when you shuffle off, instead of leaving your family with hundreds of auctionable bottles worth tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll leave them with hundreds of unsellable bottles three-quarters full…well, should be a hell of a wake. ; )

    As for me, no, I won’t be opening anything special…I’m on a program to finish off what I have open, in advance of a New Year’s resolution to make some lifestyle adjustments, get back to the gym, etc. If I have a good January, I’ll consider opening something special on the first of February, as a reward.

    • John Hansell says:

      As my friends, co-workers, and family members will tell you, I am very giving with my open bottles. They don’t last long. And they’re great for barter too!

      My goal is to die with zero bottles of whisky left. And if there are any, yes, it will be one hell of a wake.

      • Mark says:

        Following somewhat along this line – Adolph Rupp, the best basketball coach ever, was known to love bourbon. When he asked A. B. Happy Chandler to head up his pall bearers, he told Mr Chandler to be sure to take a bottle of good bourbon along on the ride to the cemetary and for the boys to drink it before getting there. When Mr Chandler said, “Coach shouldn’t we drink it on the way back?” Coach Rupp said, “No, because I won’t be coming back with you.”

        I wish I had the ability to talk this stuff and knowingly say I was going to drink a really expensive bottle of something, but right now I guess it is Maker’s 46.

      • Danny Maguire says:

        Don’t know if I’ll be opening anything special for Christmas, got a lot of good stuff I’m slowly working my way through. The rarest is a bottle of Dallas Dhu, the last cask filled. My wife, who also likes a good whisky, says I die if I open it. Can I have 24 hours notice please Lord? If not you’re all welcome to the wake.

  12. Jazz Lover says:

    Glenfarclas 74 u.s bottle

  13. Louis says:

    Some of my remaining few ounces of Ardbeg Corryvreckan and Supernova. Will also finish off the Parkers Heritage 2010, and try to find just the right amount of water for the 2012.

  14. Randy Perrelet says:

    One of the pleasures of getting older is having adult children who give you really nice bottles of whiskey for Christmas. Make sure your kids have access to your Whiskey Bucket List so that you get something good for the holidays! (Last year, it was the Bushmills 16. It was very good.)

  15. Nikkhil Shirodkar says:

    I am confused between opening Amrut Intermediate Sherry and Flaming Heart. John what would be your pick?

      • Nikkhil Shirodkar says:

        Yes why not! But being from India and I know this might sound difficult to believe, even the regular Amrut expressions are hard to get. They have virtually no domestic distribution at all. Everything is shipped to you guys! Hence a bit of judiciousness has to be exercised.

  16. Kevin Armstrong says:

    Charbay R5 Aged Whiskey, and Compass Box Flaming Heart – 4th Edition. Both are gifts, though, so I’m more hoping that I get to taste them than planning on it.

  17. James says:

    Need to finish off a Vintage 17 and then I’m going a new route this year, Armagnac.

  18. Vince says:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family John. You do a great job! I am going to open a bottle of Balvenie 21 year old Portwood Finish, along with some limited release bourbons.

  19. Tony Menechella says:

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year John!! I plan on sampling the following in no particular order;

    Remy Martin XO Cognac
    Ardbeg Serendipity & Alligator
    Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros Rum
    Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary

    Cheers to everybody!!

  20. Josh West says:

    Not a whisky, but I’m looking forward to opening my bottle of Douglas Fir Brandy from Clear Creek Distillery (same folks that make McCarthy’s single-malt, in Portland Oregon).

  21. Simon Spier says:

    I think I’m going to open a bottle of SMWS 21.23. I’ll put a review of it up on my site Check it out if interested.

    Here’s hoping everyone has a great Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.


  22. Eric Burke says:

    I think I’ll probably crack open whatever bottle my wife is giving me for Christmas. She’s got good taste so I’m sure it’ll be a good one.

  23. Tom D says:

    If my Dad is drinking, we will share an open bottle of Macallan 20 yo (1974-Signatory). For my father in law, I will open a bottle of Sazerac 18. For the lads, I will open a bottle of this year’s Parker’s Heritgae.

    My problem is that almost all of my bottles are open. While the boys and I try to kill some off, we keep buying more and more. Then we open them. So lots of open but semi-full bottles.

    The only bottles I don’t touch are for my son. I buy him a bottle for his birthday. The day he was born, a friend gave him a bottle of Midleton Very Rare. For his first birthday, I put away another Midleton. For his second birthday it was a Willett 18 Single Barrel #43. I just bunkered a bottled of Pappy 15 for his third birthday. I hope to drink the first bottle of Midleton with him when he is old enough. As for the others, if he can sell them if he wants to. If he wants to drink them, even better.

  24. David Rogers says:

    Well, I was going for the 30 year old Jura or the 1981 Dalmore Matusalem. However, both are on the east coast, and I am on the west coast. Might go through the Impressed blog post again for recommendations.

  25. Blue Note says:

    I have 2 miniatures left of HP 30 and 2 of Glenfarclas 40. One of each going down on Christmas eve, same again on Christmas day. Also have 2 bottles of Pinot Noir I’ve been saving from The Pines winery in Oregon. They will be accompanying the turkey. New Years eve I think I will finish off the remains of the Ardbeg Airih Naim Beist (sp) I’ve been trying to save as long as possible. I’ll miss that one, but I hope my Corryvrekkan will help ease the pain. Happy hollidays everyone, and thanks for your great blog, John.

  26. Matt says:

    I just tried Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th Ed tonight. Wow pretty tasty stuff. I also got a bottle of Lagavulin Distillers Edition(not open yet). Both were the first ever scotch purchases I made for myself. I’m normally a bourbon guy. So on that note, my Dad’s got two bottles of the Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2012 waiting for me in KY. So when we get back to CA between Christmas and New Years, I imagine I won’t be able to let BOTH of those bottles sit around unopened!

  27. Luke says:

    Bushmills 1608, Redbreast 12 Cask Strength and perhaps my SMWS 20-Year-Old Sherry-Matured Laphroaig…

  28. Louis says:

    Since the Mayans predicted the end of the world tomorrow, we’d better get a head start on the festivities 🙂

  29. Kevin says:

    I have a bottle of PVW 23 year and a Parker’s Golden Anniversary. I have not decided which one. Ideas?

  30. Curtis says:

    I just stumbled up some Wild Turkey 12 year. From what I’ve heard its excellent juice. I’ll be opening that for Christmas. Cheers!

  31. Mr Claw says:

    A few things. Off the top of my head I can think:

    Port Charlotte PL1 (TWE)
    Port Ellen 1983 Old Bothwell cask 220
    Brora 1980 OMC (Douglas Laing)
    Caroni 1992 20YO single cask rum (Velier)
    Albion 1986 single cask rum (Velier)
    Ardbeg 1974 Signatory
    Glendronach 1993 19YO PX cask (UK exclusive bottling)
    Glenugie 1977 Signatory
    Lochside 1981 28YO (Blackadder)
    Lagavulin 12YO (2010 bottling)

    Homemade advocaat, homemade coquito, homemade mulled cider & mulled wine.

    That’ll probably do it…

  32. Trent says:

    Hey John,
    This year, as in the past three, I will be opening my coveted bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 year. It’s a tradition that I hope to continue for many years to come! Happy Holidays to all my fellow “malt heads”.

  33. Blue Note says:

    @Mr Claw. What a fabulous selection of Christmas booze. I’d kill for a taste of some of those.

    BTW. How soon after the holidays do you think you will regain consciousness? LoL.

  34. L C Woody says:

    I have three bottles of A H Hirsch, I think I will open one of them. I’ve had them for years and have never tried one. Merry Christmas, And hopefully that will be “Great Burbons” to write about this new year.

  35. Titus says:

    I have several bottles that I am planning to open. One of them is the Dalmore Cromartie, which was gifted to me recently. It is a limited release bottle. Has anyone tried this before or have any thoughts or reviews? John, enjoy your articles, reviews and wish you a Merry Christmas.

  36. Greg says:

    I do plan on opening some nice selections over the holidays. First, some personal barrel picks from BT, FR and KBD have come in so I’ll be enjoying these new selections. I have a number of beers I’ll be enjoying also that includes Williamsburg Alewerks Cafe Royale, Corsendonk Christmas Ale, Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, and then on Christmas Day, A Westy 12.

  37. politicalidiot says:

    I’ll be cracking open a bottle of 1971/2004 Longmorn-Glenlivet, Scott’s Selection, 53.5% next week.

  38. Jamie says:

    Some Angel’s Envy that is not available in Mississippi, is a nice treat and also some Van Winkle Rye which is delicious!

  39. Scotty Freebairn says:

    I have been saving a 30 year old King’s Ransom Blended Scotch purchased at the Edradour Distillery in 1998. This will be my Christmas present to me and a few friends over the holidays. It is so good, it brings tears of joy to your eyes!

  40. PeteR says:

    BTAC has FINALLY made it to Minnesota. So, I’ll be having some of that. Also, maybe some Laphroaig 30yr.

  41. Flairball says:

    Unfortunately I’m working too much this holiday season actually enjoy a drink on the holiday. But I will be cracking something open between Christmas, and new years. They are nothing special, but I’ll still enjoy it. I just need to decide.

    Ardbeg Alligator?
    Balvenie 17yr Caribean Cask?
    Lagavulin DE?
    Longmorn 14yr?

    Hmmm?….they all sound good to me.

  42. John Hansell says:

    So, the bottle I just opened–it’s a Christmas Eve tradition to open up a special something on Christmas Eve–was a bottle of Four Roses Super Premium, a Japan release from the late 1990s (I think). (For those following me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, I posted up a picture. Very cool bottle.)

  43. Drey says:

    I was visiting family and didnt bring anything. Too my surprise the supermarket in rural SD had a full range of the BTAC. Got the 2012 Stagg and Weller. And a 2006 release of Eagle Rare and Sazerac. Now its time for some tough desicions…

  44. Steve says:

    Each year I alternate between Pappy, Parkers and BT Antique during the holidays. Pappy 15 for this holiday season. Happy Holidays to all!

  45. Jim Manley says:

    A nod to my Irish heritage/ancestory: Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey, Wild Geese Irish Soldiers and Heroes Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

  46. Mike says:

    Turkey with the turkey – Russell’s Reserve bourbon and rye bottles.

  47. Dave says:

    Had a bottle of Pappy 15 that I’ve been saving for two years. Enjoyed some of that as well as this year’s George T. Stagg, and last year’s William Larue Weller.

  48. BFitz says:

    Ended up opening the Powers John Lane and Four Roses 2012 Small Batch LE. Life’s short…

  49. Doc says:

    I’m not sure it is special, but is sure tastes good. I cracked open another bottle of High West’s Rendezvous Rye.

  50. JasonE says:

    Lagavulin 16 YR Distillers Edtion!

  51. Matt L. says:

    I love that Rendesvous Rye! I think it’s a bargain. I opened the Four Roses Limited Ed small batch 2012. Pretty awesome stuff. I think I’ll pour a bit of AH Hirsch 16 year tonight and then go from there…

  52. Sumo Goalie says:

    Ended up opening up my Highland Park Single Cask No. 443. Yowsa!

  53. Justin D. says:

    Spent a wonderful December drinking:
    G.T.S. 2012, W.L.W. 2012, T.H. Sazerac 2012, V.W. 13yr Rye, Pappy 15/20/23, F.R. 2012 Limited Small Batch, and on New Years eve brought a very tasty 7yr Willett S.F.E. from the collection and polished it off with some good friends.

  54. Randy Perrelet says:

    Aberlour A’bunadh!

  55. Judd says:

    Glenfarclas 1974! WOW!

  56. Eric says:

    Popped a bottle of highland park 18 for Christmas, what a wonderful dram gonna be hard to stay away from, but the best was the balvenie tun1401 batch 3 to celebrate the birth of my son on jan 3. Possibly the best scotch I’ve ever had

  57. Tom A says:

    Wow! The Litre of Jameson Black Barrel didn’t last long!! What started out as a Holiday Shot or Two for two of us ended up with on e Empty Litre three hours later! Great taste, smoothe and simply Nice!!

  58. Dick Bonin says:

    I opened a bottle of “Woodford Reserve Four Wood” Christmas evening. What a wonderful, rich bourbon. The after taste is really great. Me, my wife, and a good friend enjoyed a glass. A great way to end the Christmas day. We tasted that bourbon, then a 1792 and ended with a Willitt.

  59. Marc from Ann Arbor says:

    The winner of the “most liked by most people” whiskey over the holidays for me was Midleton Very Rare. In my never ending quest to educate and introduce my wine drinking friends to the world of whiskey, I usually start off with something that is very approachable (and yummy). The Midleton Very Rare was a big hit and probably a new record for how quickly a bottle can dissapear.

  60. Shari says:

    Got a bottle of Balvenie Tun 1401 #6 for Christmas – now that’s a friend who knows how to give a good gift

  61. Adam Mimran says:

    I am waiting for a special occasion (big sale, birthday, milestone) to open up the bottle of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label I bought overseas. this may be overdoing it for a blend but it isn’t available in the US yet so that makes it rare for me. Not sure how long i will be able to hold out though, my friends are all eyeballing it…

  62. U. Troy Snider says:

    Looked everywhere from Dallas area to San Antonio, live near Waco. Tried to find 4 Roses 2012. Most places the clerk looked at me like I ordered a Brontosaurs burger. None to be found. If you live near Waco and have some 4 Roses 2012, I will bring my own glass.

  63. Jim Foley says:

    My daughters Christmas morning gave me a bottle of Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey, which is not sold in the States, They only knew about it because they were looking through the recent issue of Whiskey Advocate to find something to surprise me. Needless to say I was very surprised and even at 9:30am it was pleasingly smooth.

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