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A Beginners Guide to Gifting Whisky

by The Whisky Mill |

What to buy for that person in your life who is impossible to buy for?

This is a question facing people across Australia every day!

To the team at The Whisky Mill the answer is obvious (admittedly we might be a touch biased), nothing beats a bottle of expertly crafted whisky.

However, we understand that this is where things get a little trickier; with whisky preferences being so subjective and there being so many amazing options to choose from, how can you make sure that you pick something that your dad will love?

To help you out we’ve put together a simple guide to gifting whisky!


It’s the (amount of) thought that counts

By far the easiest way to choose the perfect bottle of whisky for someone is to do some reconnaissance, find out what whiskies they have enjoyed in the past and buy the same bottle again, job done.

But is it really?

Whilst this method comes with the most certainty, for most it can seem a bit too simple and doesn’t necessarily tick all the boxes in regard to the required amount of thought and effort.

Therefore, to go just one step further, TWM recommends researching which region of Scotland their favourite whisky is made in and then choosing one that also hails from that area. This works so well for the simple reason that that whiskies from the same region often exhibit very similar characteristics in terms of flavour. To give you an idea of what we mean we’ve succinctly highlighted how regional styles differ below.

Speyside whiskies such as The Singleton and Cardhu are both vibrant single malts full of floral, orchard fruit and light spice notes. 

Whiskies from Islay and the Island regions (Caol Ila, Port Ellen) are much bolder and more robust in flavour with smoke, dark chocolate and leathery tannins being at the forefront.

Lowland Whiskies such as Glenkinchie are much lighter in flavour with an inherent grassy, herbaciousness.

Highland whiskies (Dalwhinnie, Brora) are in the most part rich, decadent and sweeter whiskies full of honey, butterscotch, toffee and dried fruit.


Elementary my dear Watson

Now, if for some reason you are unable to use past purchases to predict future enjoyment all hope is not lost. You can still make educated assumptions based on other things that your intended gift receiver enjoys, especially in regard to food and beer.

What we are looking for here is the preference for sweet over savoury as well as the depth and complexity of flavour enjoyed.

To put into food terms, a penchant for strongly flavoured things like blue cheese, sardines, oysters, olives or anything pickled would tend to suggest that something like Talisker or Lagavulin is the smart choice. A sweeter tooth that prefers fruit and nut chocolate, crème brulee or sticky date pudding is well suited toward decadent highland whiskies such as the Oban Distillers Edition or Clynelish.

With regards to beer, if a straight up and down lager is their ‘go to’ then you should definitely consider the Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Conversely if they love their hop driven ales then Mortlach or Cragganmore will fit the bill perfectly.


The Weird & Wonderful
We know that there are those adventurous types who like nothing more than trying something new and a little bit weird. For these we recommend looking at the Cladach Special Release.

‘Cladach’ means coast in Gaelic, and this blended malt is made from whiskies produced at some of Scotland’s most renowned coastline distilleries. It is a wonderful mix of malts from famed producers such as Caol Ila, Clynelish, Lagavulin, Oban, Inchgower and Talisker. An exceptional bottle, the likes of which we may not see again for some time. 

Hedge your bets

If you’re not one to put all your eggs in one basket or are buying for someone who thinks variety is the spice of life, never fear we have just the thing. Our Tour of Scotland & Distillers Edition Gift Packs combine 50ml bottles of 4 amazing single malts from all over Scotland in one bespoke gift box complete with a premium printed tasting mat with food pairing recommendations and flavour notes.

If all else fails drop us a note at and one of our experts will personally assist you to make sure that you get your your loved one the perfect whisky.