[Editor's note] First publishes in 2012, this article still gets a huge amount of traffic but we noticed that some of the recommendations were out of dates so we've updated the list for 2014.
Buying a Christmas present for the whisky lover in your life? Youve perused their whisky collection and read Stu's excellent Christmas Whisky Gifts: Buying Guide. But you want to buy them something other than, or perhaps in addition to, a bottle of whisky.
Where to start? Here are some suggestions...
Mature your own whisky kit
A mini cask, some new make spirit and the chance to mature whisky at home. The higher ratio of wood to spirit contact with a small barrel like this will affect the liquid much faster than the large casks used to mature whisky for large scale production. In a matter of weeks and months you'll notice dramatic changes in the spirit. Not only will this be fun but you're sure to learn a lot about the effects of wood on spirit as you sample it at different stages of maturation.
Great Whisky Reads
The whisky landscape shifts and evolves year on year. All that whisky slowly maturing in dark warehouses around the globe reaches its optimum age and gets released. New brands come into the market. So while its a slow evolution, it is relentless hence the number of annually released whisky guides. Arguably the two most indispensable are Ingvar Rondes Malt Whisky Yearbook and the always controversial Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, the 2015 edition of these essential reads are available now. Another book we thoroughly enjoyed is Ian Buxton's 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. All three titles are available here on the Master of Malt book list.
In some countries - the UK for one - whisky is seen as an after dinner drink. If however you go to France youÕll notice that on most menus itÕs listed as an aperitif with many digestifs having a much sweeter profile. Even the most dedicated malt aficionado gets a sweet tooth from time to time so what better way to satisfy that than with whisky liqueur? Master of Malt make a range of whisky liqueurs based on 10, 15, 21, 30 and even 40 year old Speyside whiskies. At over £500 a bottle the 40 year old is for those with deep pockets but this page on their site has a whisky liqueur to suit most budgets.
Set of tasting glasses
For those 'Mad Men' whisky moments you can't beat the style and glamour of a good tumbler to hold your dram, but is it the best type of glass for tasting whisky? After all you don't see many professional whisky tasters using them. In truth, for full appreciation of the complex flavours and aromas of whisky, you need glass where the opening is narrower than the widest part of the glass. For durability you can't beat the solid and dependable Glencairn glass - perfect for the job and robust enough to survive regular visits to the dishwasher. For something a little more delicate and, dare we say it, elegant take a look at the Whisky Exchange's own 'tulip' shaped nosing glass.