Whisky is a thoughtful gift because so much choice means you can tailor a bottle to the individual and you could also introduce a whisky fan to something new.
What do you want to say about them? Whiskey may reveal a lot about a person. Choosing the appropriate brand can be difficult if you don’t know your bourbon from your scotch or your Islay from your Speyside.
We have compiled a list of the top whiskies available. Everyone can find something here, whether they are a devoted scotch drinker, a cocktail king, or a fledgling aficionado. We’ve also tried our best to avoid the jargon, as some people find whisky to be quite daunting.
Key to remember is that you have Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey – outside of these two nations, bottlers can decide themselves whether they’re keeping or dropping the ‘e’. Learn more in our article on Whiskey or whisky, what’s the difference?
The best way to drink whisky is typically neat. But it comes down to personal preference; after a long day, you might like a lengthy Irish malt over ice, or you might require a neat Islay dram. The whiskies that go well with a little something extra have been highlighted.
Here are our top whiskies to order online for that special someone in your life. For more, visit our reviews section and find over 200 practical buyer’s guides including taste tests of gin, vodka, rum, brandy and more, plus gift guides like the best letterbox gifts to order online.
Best whiskies to buy as gifts at a glance
- Best for the whisky buff: Nikka Yoichi single malt, £77.75
- Best for sherry sweetness: Balvenie DoubleWood 12, £43.95
- Best for fans of smoky whisky: Lagavulin 16-year-old, £81.55
- Best for fans of classic flavours: The Macallan 12-year-old, £79.95
- Best for English whisky lovers: Bourbon Cask Cotswolds Distillery, £69.95
- Best for trying something new: Daddy Rack Tennessee whiskey, £35.45
- Best for Irish whiskey enthusiasts: Green Spot single pot still, £30.60
- Best for smooth, fruity whiskey fans: Teeling single malt, £51.90
- Best for whiskey beginners: Jack Daniel’s single barrel, £43.95
- Best for American whiskey explorers: Maker’s Mark 46 bourbon whiskey, £34.49
- Best for budding mixologists: The Sexton single malt, £30
- Best for environmentally conscious whisky fans: Old Pulteney 15-year-old, £69.25
Best whiskies to buy as gifts 2022
Nikka Yoichi single malt – 45% ABV
Best for the whisky buff
Nikka is one of a tenacious duo of Japanese distilleries who have long had a dominant position in the region’s whisky market. The Yoichi single malt is Nikka’s greatest achievement; the bottle draws naturally from Nikka’s Scottish influence while bursting with their distinctively Japanese flavor character. It has a beautifully balanced scent that pairs peat with tropical fruit, and a sophisticated taste that adds nuts to the same mix. Best for a young whisky enthusiast.
Balvenie DoubleWood – 40% ABV
Best for sherry sweetness
With this lavish, flavorful infusion from Balvenie, take a trip to Speyside. On the taste, expect rich milk chocolate with notes of tart raspberry, cozy cinnamon, and a tinge of spiciness from black pepper. This unique single malt should be on the shelf of any serious whisky aficionado.
Lagavulin 16-year-old – 43% ABV
Best for fans of smoky whisky
Lagavulin’s 16-year-old expression is a titan of the industry. One of the world’s most popular single malts, this whisky is a go-to at local pubs and enjoyed by the rich and famous. Definitive of the Islay region, imposing smoky notes are tempered by a rich sweetness. For the whisky geek in your life.
The Macallan 12-year-old Triple Cask – 40% ABV
Best for fans of classic flavours
A sumptuous blend of creamy vanilla and dark berries with just the right amount of kick provided by pepper and spices. This 12-year-old dram is testament to the stature The Macallan holds in the whisky world – it is delicate, sophisticated and oozes class. Perfect for the swanky whisky drinker in your world.
Cotswolds Distillery bourbon cask single malt whisky – 59% ABV
Best for English whisky lovers
This full-bodied, silky single malt that was aged in bourbon barrels has a lot of the distinctive vanilla flavor as well as candied fruit and sweet honey aromas. It has a robust cask-strength character that is best enjoyed slowly. Although it was only founded in 2014, the Cotswolds Distillery is already putting out some intriguing drams. The perfect present for any whisky enthusiast wishing to add English whisky to their collection.
Daddy Rack small-batch straight Tennessee whiskey – 40% ABV
Best for trying something new
This buttery small-batch Tennessee whiskey is made using 80% locally produced corn, bringing a butterscotch flavour you can’t miss. The 10% rye in the mix adds a peppery finish, with nutmeg spices to keep things interesting. You’ll get plenty of classic oak-matured vanilla and a cereal sweetness. On the palate, you can taste candy floss and fresh green apples. It’s got plenty of depth and a long finish.
Green Spot single pot still – 40% ABV
Best for Irish whiskey enthusiasts
This whiskey used to only be available at Mitchell’s grocery stores in Dublin. The bottle is now highly regarded all over the world and was given ‘liquid gold’ status by Jim Murray in his prestigious whiskey bible in 2018. This whiskey is an obstinately Irish celebration of fruit and caramel that is incredibly drinkable. Give this to any amateurs or theater nerds; any fans of the stage will be blown away by the company this whiskey keeps.
Teeling single malt – 46% ABV
Best for smooth, fruity whiskey fans
A modern Irish whiskey that oozes the smoothness and warmth associated with the Emerald Isle’s heritage drams. This Dublin-made tipple caresses the tongue with summer fruits, warm spices and pepper. A drinking experience that will keep your friends around long after dinner has been served. Best presented to any Irish whiskey heads you know.
Jack Daniel’s single barrel select – 45% ABV
Best for whiskey beginners
one of the most recognizable whiskey brands in the world. For the JD lover in your life, the single-barrel expression of Jack Daniel’s, which is available in a wide variety, makes a cheap and considerate gift. A robust whisky with a lot of peppery rye and honey and grain flavors in harmony. This adaptable expression is one for Jack and Coke drinkers who want to gradually wean themselves off the mixer.
Maker’s Mark 46 bourbon whiskey – 47% ABV
Best for American whiskey explorers
Whiskey aficionado Jim Murray awarded this bourbon his ‘liquid gold’ award in 2014. This spiced bourbon was the first addition to the Maker’s Mark range since the 1950s. The whiskey pitches a bag of spices against the sweet funfair notes typically found in bourbon. Nutmeg takes over from toffee apple with the subtlety of an earthquake but it is a pleasant seismic shift. The ideal gift for lovers of American whiskey.
The Sexton single malt – 40% ABV
Best for budding mixologists
a brand-new whiskey variety. Irish single malt Sexton is intended for novice drinkers and whiskey connoisseurs. In terms of flavor, honey is blended with peppery pears and a cutting oaky spiciness, while the hexagonal bottle is evidence that the distillery is aiming to appeal to a new generation of whiskey drinkers. Buy this for the family member that works in the bar.
Old Pulteney 15-year-old – 46%
Best for environmentally conscious whisky fans
A scotch that packs in spice and sea spray. Pulteney is an environmentally conscious distillery based in the Scottish coastal town of Wick. Its whiskies are unmistakably born at sea; they burst with salty sea air and the bracing freshness that comes as a result. Its 15-year-old expression is no exception; salinity is balanced with delicate vanilla and warming spices, matched by sweet toffee and light floral flavours. A whisky bursting with character and flavour. Buy this bottle for the whisky drinking eco-warrior in your circle.