Best Winter Whiskeys to Gift and Drink This Season

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
Courtesy Image;Unsplash

Whiskey can of course be savored at any time of year, but when the temperatures drop it offers a particularly resonating nose-to-palate warmth. Swaddling yourself in a blanket in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night after a crazy day of work is all well and good—but what’s missing from this almost-perfect scene? Winter whiskeys. Add an incomparable single malt, bourbon, rye, Japanese whisky, or Irish whiskey into the works, and now we’re talking.

Early winter is the right time to stock up on the best cold-season whiskeys—which run the gamut from sweet bourbons and sherry-centric single malts to spicy ryes and everything in between. Here are 10 favorites to sip between now and spring.

Bottle of Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Courtesy Image

1. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

You don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a fine glass of Irish whiskey. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is an all-winter-long captivator. Double-distilled in pot stills, its mash bill of malted barley, raw barley, and oats offers hints of vanilla beans, orange peel, mint, cinnamon, and a nice fruity, warming flavor that’s every sip as exceptional in early winter as it is in March.

[$49.99; totalwine.com]

Get it
Bottle of The Dalmore 12 Year Sherry Cask Select whisky
The Dalmore 12 Year Sherry Cask Select Courtesy Image

2. The Dalmore 12 Year Sherry Cask Select

Producing nothing but award-winners, The Dalmore makes a slew of whiskies perfect for winter. Our favorite is its 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Select with its mix of sweetness and warmth, plus flavors like almond cookies, fudge, Christmas spices, and a nice fruity, sweet backbone.

[$79.99; totalwine]

Get it
Lineup of whisky bottles

What It's Like to Taste '120 Years of The Dalmore,' New York's Most Expensive Wh...

Read article
Bottle of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Courtesy Image

3. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

While it’s hard to pick a Four Roses favorite, the best winter sipper by a nose from the famed Lawrenceburg, Kentucky distillery is its Small Batch Bourbon. This blend of six Four Roses bourbon recipes is aged between six and seven years in new, charred American oak barrels before being bottled at 90 proof. The result is a mellow sipping whiskey with hints of dried cherries, wood char, toffee, and slight, wintry spices.

[$29.99; totalwine.com]

Get it
Bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon
Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon Courtesy Image

4. Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon

There’s a reason Wild Turkey 101 and Rare Breed are top picks among bartenders and drinkers alike. They’re both high-proof, reasonably priced, and very high-quality whiskeys. While picking the better of the two is an endless debate, we’ll opt for the Rare Breed during the winter months. This 112.8 proof whiskey is a blend of bourbons aged between six and 12 years. The result is a bold, brash sipper with flavors of clover honey, vanilla beans, cinnamon sugar, butterscotch, and warming, peppery spice.

[$45; totalwine.com]

Get it
whiskey

Wild Turkey Remasters an Idea From the Archives With the Next Master’s Keep Bour...

Read article
Bottle of Michter’s US-1 Rye Whiskey
Michter’s US-1 Rye Whiskey Courtesy Image

5. Michter’s US-1 Rye Whiskey

Michter’s is such a legendary name in the bourbon world that it can be easy to overlook its superb rye offerings during the winter months. US-1 Rye Whiskey is made with sheared select rye before maturing in charred American oak barrels. The result is a spicy bold whiskey with hints of cinnamon, ginger, candied orange peels, toffee apples, and gentle, spicy cracked black pepper.

[$48; totalwine.com]

Get it
Bottle of GlenDronach 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
GlenDronach 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky Courtesy Image

6. GlenDronach 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Sherry finishing and sherry aging are nothing new in the single malt Scotch world, but some distilleries are more masterful than others. One of the best (and reasonably priced) is GlenDronach 12 Year. Matured in both Pedro Ximenez and oloroso sherry casks, it’s known for its sweet, rich flavor with notes of raisins, dried cherries, sweet sherry, oaky wood, and sweet, buttery caramel.

[$69.99; totalwine.com]

Get it
Craigellachie 23 Year single-malt Scotch

Do You Know the Difference Between Scotch Single Malt Whisky and Scotch Blended ...

Read article
Bottle of Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky
Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky Courtesy Image

7. Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky

First released in 2012, this single grain, award-winning Japanese whisky gets its name from being distilled in the famous column-designed Coffey still. Aged in American oak barrels, it’s known for its smooth, sweet, rich flavor—highlighted by notes of caramel candy, almond cookies, toasted vanilla beans, and a nice, sweet fruity flavor throughout.

[$72.99; totalwine.com]

Get it
Bottle of Widow Jane The Vaults Bourbon
Widow Jane The Vaults Bourbon Courtesy Image

8. Widow Jane The Vaults Bourbon

No one will fault you for simply grabbing a bottle of Widow Jane 10—but splurging on a bottle of Widow Jane The Vaults is the height of cold-weather comfort. This 99 proof bourbon is a blend of whiskeys aged between 15 and 17 years that are finished in Adirondack oak casks. The result is a memorable bourbon highlighted by notes of oaky wood, sticky toffee, cinnamon, and other spices.

[$349; drizly.com]

Get it
Bottle of Ardbeg Wee Beastie
Ardbeg Wee Beastie Courtesy Image

9. Ardbeg Wee Beastie

For some exceptional proof that age isn’t everything in the whisky world, Ardbeg’s youngest offering is also one of its most well-suited for winter drinking. Aged for only five years in a combination of ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, it’s loaded with flavors like peaty campfire smoke, sweet, dried cherries, candied orange peels, slight fruitiness, and slight, salty ocean brine.

[$45; totalwine.com]

Get it
Bulleit Rye

The Best Rye Whiskey in America: 5 Bottles to Try

Read article
Bottle of Pikesville Straight Rye
Pikesville Straight Rye Courtesy Image

10. Pikesville Straight Rye

While Prohibition squashed most of Maryland’s once-booming rye whiskey scene, Pikesville, was one of the few brands that bounced back. This 110 proof rye whiskey is a throwback to those old days. Matured for six years, the award-winning whiskey is filled with flavors like cinnamon, cloves, butterscotch, vanilla beans, and warming, spicy, cracked black pepper.

[$55; totalwine.com]

Get it

 

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!