Highland Park Thor
Nothing reminds men they're packing a Y-chromosome quite like two fingers of single malt scotch whiskey, and we've been refreshing our memories lately – perhaps too frequently – with generous pours of this 16-year-old winner from Highland Park, a distillery hidden among the rocky Orkney Islands just north of Scotland. For some 200 years, its proprietors have been producing some of the most respected barrels of scotch in the world (with the trophy case to prove it).
In this case, the Norse God packaging is a bit of an oversell, but don't let it deter you: Thor uncorks elegantly with a rich smoky fragrance, initially hammering the palate with dry hints of gingerbread and cinnamon. Stage two unfolds a subtle, sweeter layer of berries and peach, finally gulping down with lingering notes of vanilla and spice. But make sure to pace yourself: Bottled at 52.1 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV), Highland Park's Thor is serious, possibly the most potent spirit we've sipped this season. And remember: A spirit this complex and this strong is best enjoyed with company – something to bear in mind next time you're in need of a gift. [$200; highlandpark.co.uk]