It seems to sneak up every single year. You’re minding your own business and suddenly the calendar flips over to December. The gift giving season is breathing down your neck. And while you attempt to secure the absolutely perfect gift for everyone, you might discover that there is no one more finicky than that whiskey warrior on your list. Sure, with more bourbon bottles on the shelf than ever before, you could easily amble into the local liquor store and snatch some eye-catching bottle from the shelf and call it a day. But why not give a gift that’s unique, fun, and certain to please even the most scrooge-like of bourbon fans?
Here are seven ideas for memorable gifts for any bourbon enthusiast:
1. The Whisker Dam – An Umbrella For Your Face
All of us have at least one mustachioed friend in our lives that’s faced with a dilemma each time he reaches for the bourbon bottle. On one hand, he enjoys sipping America’s native spirit from the finest glasses. On the other, he lives in constant worry about drenching his lip accoutrement. Fret not – the Whisker Dam will save the day! This simple, innovative and stylish copper insert fits over most glasses. The drinker can focus on the fine subtle flavors of bourbon and not the curse of a wet ‘stache. ($20)
Available online at Whisker Dam and The Evan Williams Experience gift store.
2. Mint Julep Tours’ Heaven & Evan Experience
There is no substitute for the gift of an amazing bourbon experience, and there is no experience quite like this one. This is the perfect fit for that seasoned bourbon aficionado who is oh-so-confident that they’ve been on every distillery tour in Kentucky. This experience takes guests on an after-hours tour that goes behind-the-scenes at two locations. The Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown and the Evan Williams Experience in downtown Louisville.
So much more than simply a visit to a distillery, the evening comes complete with a visit to a hidden basement speakeasy, cocktails, dinner, a commemorative bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon. Plus the amazing opportunity to walk through a warehouse while sampling whiskey that was just thieved directly from a barrel by Heaven Hill’s Master Distiller. Try asking for that next time you are on the standard distillery tour. With six dates scheduled in 2018, there is a seat on the bus just waiting for you. ($185)
3. Wild Turkey Lounger – Gobble Til You Wobble
We need to face two undeniable facts: The cold weather is the ideal time to be cozy, and the Snuggie is so 2008. The Wild Turkey Lounger offers the perfect excuse to wrap yourself in satisfying warmth while still showcasing a bit of bourbon pride in comfort.
Wearing the lounger allows you to be draped head to toe in fleece and sip a whiskey of your choice with free hands. Glencairn Glass and bottle of Russel’s Reserve Bourbon not included but highly recommended. ($46.98)
Available at the Wild Turkey Distillery Gift Shop.
4. Great Whiskey Reads: “Bourbon Curious” & “The King of The Bootleggers”
Since there is always more to learn about the world of whiskey, we couldn’t pick just one book to recommend! When local author (and all around bourbon sage) Fred Minnick gave us “Bourbon Curious” in 2015, he provided a fascinating look inside the daily operations of today’s modern distilleries, while examining their long history and debunking several popular myths along the way. This quick read goes by faster than the opportunity to pick up a limited edition bourbon release.
“The King of The Bootleggers” tells the amazing story of bourbon smuggler George Remus. Not familiar with the name? The Cincinnati mobster inspired the iconic character Jay Gatsby and gave away dozens of new cars to friends at parties. He was even immortalized as a character in the television series Boardwalk Empire. While Remus was never as famous as contemporaries like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, he’s finally getting his due 65 years after his death in this great biography. Today, there is even a new bourbon on shelves that bears his name. But the real kicker? Remus himself rarely drank a drop of alcohol.
“Bourbon Curious” is available at the Mint Julep Tours gift shop at The Galt House Hotel and “The King of The Bootleggers” can be purchased from Amazon.
5. Bourbon & Bourbon & Bourbon & Bourbon T-Shirt – Because Once Isn’t Enough
Kentuckians don’t like to mince words. Sometimes people just want to showcase their one true love across their chest. Multiple times. This t-shirt from the Bluegrass apparel gurus at Kentucky for Kentucky keeps the message simple and on point. We’re not guaranteeing that wearing this will make new friends all across Kentucky’s 120 counties…but it certainly can’t hurt. ($25)
6. Mint Julep Tours Gift Certificate
Everyone needs a break from time to time. And there is no better way to get away then in the seat of a tour bus headed down The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Any man in your life can use a Mint Julep Tours Gift Certificate as a Day of Daddy Daycare. Or it can work as the perfect pass for an overdue Girl’s Day Out. Let Mint Julep Tours handle the planning, driving and even the meals on of our Public Tours or customize your own personal adventures. Think of it as a spa day getaway…but with more bourbon. Have a big group? Want to plan a customized tour? Our experience coordinators are happy to help you estimate the right dollar value for the perfect Mint Julep Tours experience.
7. An Entire Barrel of Kentucky Bourbon from Knob Creek
Well, when all else fails and you’re out of ideas, but not out of money….you can buy someone an entire barrel of bourbon. Keep in mind that you don’t actually get to load a barrel full of 53 gallons of whiskey into the back of your Chevy Tahoe. The federal government outlawed the practice of selling full barrels of alcohol after prohibition. But once you hand select the perfect barrel directly from the warehouse, you will end up with roughly 150 bottles of 120-proof Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon. The experience also includes a tour of the distillery in Clermont, Kentucky and one of the empty barrels that was used in the bottling. Or, as we call it, easy home decorating. Note that the barrel select program has limitations on availability and costs can vary, but expect to spend several thousand dollars per barrel. And then expect to become the most popular person in your neighborhood.
About the Author – Phil Kollin
Phil Kollin has been a Tour Guide & Host for Mint Julep Tours since 2015. He has hosted over 450 groups on bourbon adventures, horse tours and other custom experiences across the state. Phil is both a Louisville Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Certified Bourbon Steward through the Stave and Thief Society. Like Daniel Boone, Phil also believes that “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” He can usually be found wandering around distilleries while wearing fun socks.