No, most scotch whisky accessories are far more modest. It’s better to spend less on a glass or a decanter so you can spend more on the stuff inside of it.
This is especially true if you are looking for a gift for your favorite whisky aficionado. Every year I take part in a gift exchange with a bunch of our friends and we set our gift exchange limit to $25, so you’re forced to use creativity instead of just spending more dollars. While that price point is a little low for us to look at our popular list of best cheap single malts, but it’s not so low that we can’t start looking at some other accessories or gifts for your favorite whisky lover.
If your budget is slightly bigger, we also have this a guide for those looking for a gift priced at $50 or less.
ScotchIf you want to get scotch, there are a few blends that come in under the price and are a good value. It’s crucial to remember that at this price point, you can’t expect them to be as smooth or as matured as a bottle in the $40-$60 range. It’s just unfair. You can get a very good bottle that you’ll be happy drinking – that’s the important part.
If you want to find a bottle for under $25, I’d go with a blend. Distilleries have flexibility when they make their blends, unlike single malts, and so they’re able to offer them at a lower price point. Many blends also don’t have age statements, which is part of the flexibility, and so you take away some of the bite in terms of cost. I’d look at Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker Red (go Black if you can go above the $25 limit), Dewars, and Chivas Regal 12.
Alternatively, you could buy a bunch of small miniature bottles (think airline bottles) but this is not going to be cost effective as you’ll be paying a huge premium. A 50ml bottle of Chivas Regal 12 goes for around $3.99. That’s like paying $59.85 for 750ml when the actual retail price for Chivas Regal 12 is only $24.99. The trade off is you can get a bunch of different ones and it’s kind of fun to get a lot of little bottles.
Whiskey stones are fun gifts because you can use it for a variety of things, be it wine or whisky. “Stones” come in two varieties – soapstone and stainless steel.
Personally, I think stones look nicer and every whisky stone I’ve seen has been made of soapstone. Teraforma is the most well known brand but a stone is a stone is a stone. Just get one in a nice bag since it’ll be a gift.
- Teraforma Whisky Stones – Set of 9 with bag
- Whiskey Rocks Stainless Steel – Set of 6 stainless steel stones with bag and ice tongs
One advantage of stainless steel is that you only need to freeze it for an hour before using. Soapstone needs four hours.
Decanters make fantastic gifts because even if you aren’t paying top dollar for crystal, even a glass decanter can look beautiful (and you don’t have to be fearful of lead).
The only rule I have about decanters is skip the leaded crystal, especially if you’re giving it as a gift. Most people know that you shouldn’t store anything in leaded crystal because the lead can leech into the liquid but if your friend isn’t conscious of it, you don’t want them making this critical mistake.
Plus, it’s impossible to find a crystal leaded decanter for under $25 anyway! 🙂
If you’re thinking decanter, I challenge you to find a better deal than this Bormioli Rocco Selecta 7-Piece Whiskey Gift Set. You get a decanter plus 6 glasses, crafted in Parma, Italy all for less than $25.
One can never have too many glasses for scotch! While there are endless debates about what type of glass you should use for scotch, one thing is for sure – you will never be disappointed if you get any of the popular glassware types. unfortunately, Reidel’s whisky glasses are out of the price range but you can get a great set of Glencairns or Old Fashioned glasses for less than $25:
- Set of Four Glencairns – OK, it’s a little over the price limit but so so worth it. Or buy a set of two and then a book.
- Riedel H2O Double-Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass, Set of 2 – If you love Riedel, you can go with a set of 2 Old Fashioned glasses (the set of 2 Riedel Scotch Whisky glasses is a little pricier)
- Godinger Set Of 4 Dublin D.O.F. Glasses – Set of four Old Fashioned glasses
If your friend is new to enjoying Scotch, your first step is to introduce them to me. 🙂 But a good second step is to get him or her some books so they can learn a little about the process, the history, and the major scotch producing regions. Being educated about some of the basics makes you appreciate the intricacies of scotch whisky. There are really only a handful of ingredients and a handful of steps in the process, yet region and process differences produce a wide range of different flavors and aromas.
Here are a few good ones:
- 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton
- The Single Malt Whisky Companion Hardcover Book by Helen Arthur
- Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch
- Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide by Michael Jackson
There you have it – my list of ideas for whisky gifts under twenty five bucks.
Do you have an idea of something I missed? Please let me know in the comments.
Have you heard of ‘Balls of Steel’? I got them as a gift no more than a year ago and they work just great. They work like ice cubes and more efficient than whisky stones in my opinion. It’s a great drink gift that falls under $30. And, a portion of the money directly funds testicular cancer research. It’s worth a look!