Uisce beatha: What to get a whiskey buff for Christmas

Move over wine – we want whiskey. It seems the age-old tipple is really having a moment, and we're bound to find it in various guises this festive season. If you want to update your whiskey cabinet (or if you know someone who'd enjoy a new taste), here are five great, Irish-made whiskey gifts that are worth a nose.

Bottoms up.

The L. Mulligan Hip Flask Service

Located in the heart of Dublin city on Clarendon Street, L. Mulligan specialises in beer, gin and whiskey. The small, pokey and comfortable shop, which is set at the back of the Powerscourt Shopping Centre, boasts an impressive selection of mid and top-shelf whiskeys. From Rare 112-year bottles of Middleton (€2,500) to everyday bottles of rich Irishman founder's Reserve (€34.99), there's a taste (and nose) for every palate.

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The hip flask service is a clever and cost-effective way to treat someone to new tastes, and weird and wonderful whiskeys at home, without committing to the full bottle. It works like this: to become a member you must purchase a hip flask in-store, which acts as your official membership 'card'. Each flask contains 175ml which is the same as approximately five standard pub measures. The membership grants access to every whiskey dispensed from the shop's bespoke mini-cask and demijohns.

Membership is €20 (flask included) and can be refilled as often as you like. The current selection in store (as of 28/11/18) is as follows:

Nikka Coffey Grain €25

Kilbeggan Small batch Rye €17 (limited)

Ardbeg 10 years old €21

Millstone 100% Dutch Rye €18

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve €27

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Rare 112-year bottles (€2,500)

The Whiskey Maker's Experience at Bow Street

The Jameson Whiskey Makers Experience is a whiskey masterclass which provides a 90-minute, in-depth exploration of Jameson Original, as well as the three whiskeys that make up the Whiskey Makers Series: Distiller’s Safe, Cooper’s Croze and Blender’s Dog. Each whiskey is developed by one of the Jameson Master Whiskey Makers and represents their ideal expression of a whiskey.

A Jameson ambassador will guide you through a truly unique tasting experience (where else can you try Jameon sorbet with straight-from-the-barrel whiskey?) that teaches you how to deconstruct the ingredients, craft, nose and different flavour profiles of each whiskey. The piece de resistance, though, is bottling your very own blend at the end of the tour and a rare opportunity to taste a tipple straight from the cask at the brewery's own maturation room.

Most whiskey blenders spend decades learning their craft, so 90 minutes is a pretty handy shortcut.

Irish-made whiskey stones

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Whiskey stones allow you to enjoy the full taste of your whiskey without water dilution. These stunning stones are made in Connemara from Irish green marble. Simply freeze for four hours, pour whiskey onto stones, give them five minutes to cool and enjoy your first sip. When finished, wash, dry and freeze again.

Premium 'Fill Your Own Experience' at Teeling Whiskey Distillery

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is Dublin’s newest destination for whiskey fans and for anyone with an interest in Dublin’s long association with Irish Whiskey. Located in the heart of Dublin City Centre, in the historic Liberties, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years and home to the Spirit of Dublin. If you're looking for a truly unique whiskey gift this Christmas, the Fill Your Own Experience tour at Teelings will go down a treat.
The Fill Your Own Experience (€150) is a premium private tasting tour of the distilleries three unique whiskey blends, during which guests can fill their own bottle of whiskey directly from the cask and personalise the label as a unique memento to remember your visit by.
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Irish-made whiskey crystal

When investing in a luxury bottle of whiskey, you're buying a special experience. Part of that experience, apart from the whiskey itself, of course, is where you choose to buy it and how you choose to drink it. It doesn't do a prized whiskey much justice to drink from any old glass, does it? A classic 9oz, old-fashioned tumbler is the perfect vessel from which to drink. This choice tumbler, cut from Irish crystal in Dingle, is a gorgeous addition to the perfect bottle and will go down a treat post-turkey on Christmas Day.

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