Gift Packs: Bargains Galore

A while back, I wrote about how useful a good glass can be for appreciating everything a whiskey has to offer. The right shape of glass will help focus some of the aromas that would otherwise blow past your earlobes and set on your forehead in a traditional old fashioned glass. My favorite, as I’d mentioned, was the Glencairn glass.

In the last few weeks of shopping, I’ve seen holiday gift sets starting to appear on shelves, and there’s been a number of them with Glencairn glasses. Better yet, the price is right. If you’ve been curious about these glasses but don’t want to pony up $10-12 for a single glass, then the holidays are your absolute best time to pick one up at a low cost.

One gift pack I saw is an Old Pulteney 12 Gift Pack (I saw the actual article at the Wine House recently). This pairs two Glencairn glasses with an Old Pulteney logo, as well as a bottle of the 12 year old Old Pulteney. It’s a great bargain: about $35 gets you the two glasses and a bottle of Old Pulteney. If you’ve never had Old Pulteney, it’s a great, low-risk way to try it – even if you don’t like the bottle, you will have two great glasses.

Another was a Glenfiddich gift set. It looks like the major stores will be selling an Americanized version with two old fashioned glasses. However, I have stumbled across a different version: a bottle of Glenfiddich 12, a Glenfiddich logo Glencairn, and a small “tasting diary”. The tasting diary looked like a pretty decent quality, small, moleskine-type notebook (but very very thin). At less than $25, you’re basically paying $12 for the whiskey – a great deal.

You might also find that some stores put out old stock they may have gotten at a low cost from distributors, or have had warehoused over the last year. I saw an Old Forester Prohibition Repeal set this week as well. This set couples an Old Forester logo Glencairn (their press release from the time calls it a “snifter” – fine) and a 375mL bottle of Old Forester in a prohibition-era style bottle. It also includes an Old Forester logo pen and a scroll of the 21st Amendment. “Suitable for framing”, no doubt. I can always use a pen. This gift set was released in 2008 and I found it on shelves at the end of 2011. Keep an eye out.

If you think the Glencairn is impossibly dorky and just for people who are too precious about the whole thing, you could be right. There are some decent quality old fashioned glasses to be had out there; and sometimes you want a cocktail (say… an old fashioned). My favorite example of these were the Four Roses Single Barrel gift set. A bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel (recipe unknown, at least on my bottle) and two old fashioned glasses of pretty good quality. Four Roses is a great bourbon. If they ever start putting recipes on the label, keep your eyes peeled for the OBSK recipe – it’s great. Most of the major bourbon producers seem to be going the route of old fashioned glasses, so it’s an easy pickup.

Beyond that, there are some great bargains to be had. I’ve seen Glenmorangies cropping up recently with samples of their finishing experiments (Astar, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’or) bottled alongside a Glenmorangie Original. The usual Macallan 12 with samples of Macallan 18 tucked inside are also showing up. Given the entry fee of $140/bottle for the 18, it’s a great way to try it if you haven’t.

I’ve also seen Johnnie Walker Black packaged with a small flask as well as Jim Beam white label with a flask. If you don’t have one, this could be a good place to pick one up along with a good, accessible bottle for guests who may not share more esoteric tastes (or might simply want to mix with something).

Hopefully you can find something that kills two birds with one stone this season – and don’t forget to pick up a gift for a friend. It can be an unexpected gift that might kick off a passion – especially if they have someone to help show them the ropes.

9 thoughts on “Gift Packs: Bargains Galore”

  1. Good points.  The gift packs can be a real deal, especially if you need glasses or flasks.  Sometimes you find interesting mini-packs around the holiday season as well. 
    As to the Four Roses, I think the standard issue Four Roses Single Barrel is OBSV.

    1. Right you are on OBSV. Well, it’s still worth hunting down an OBSK – not to diminish  

      Your mini pack is a good point and one that completely escaped me. I have yet to see many packs, though I did see a pack of the Beam lineup. A good way to experience the curiosity that is Red Stag without actually ponying up for a whole bottle (eughhhhh). 

      1. There is a Beam Small Batch gift pack as well – Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden.  Good post – I’ve been eyeing the Glenfiddich 12 with Glencairn pack because I still don’t have a Glencairn. *gasp!*  But, at $39 here in PA, it’s still not that great of a deal to make me want to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich 12.  Wish I could get that Pulteney pack!

        1. Very interesting, Ryan – how much is that Beam Small Batch retailing for? That’s actually a great pack. 

          PA is a control state, isn’t it? I don’t know where you’re at but maybe something just out of state has the gift packs.

          1. Yes, sadly PA is state control.  They do a good job at it, but occasionally there’s something you want that you just can’t get.  I saw the Beam Small Batch the other day for $18, and bought it on the spot since I also was excited by it.  It’s been a couple years since I had Booker’s, and I’ve still never had Baker’s.  Not a bad price for 4 quality miniatures.

  2. I just picked up the Four Roses Single Barrel gift pack from $31 from The Party Source on Monday. They had free shipping and no tax on shipping to CA so it was $31 out the door. A steal for sure!

    1. Great deal! I like those glasses – they’re simple, a little less overtly cylindrical than a lot of old fashioned glasses, and just a nice glass. No idea on durability though. Given the occasional clank of bottle against glass that’s a factor that’s on my mind. 

      Hope you like the 4R – I really dig it.

  3. I purchased a K&L private bottling of Four Roses Single Barrel that I’m pretty sure is OBSK and cask strength (63%) to boot.  Might crack that open someday but for now have too many bottles open.

    Also look out for a Highland Park 12 with a mini of the 18.  Great way to sample the 18 without buying a whole bottle and the 12 is really nice too. 

    1. Yes, I just saw the HP12/18 combo this weekend and thought of this. 12 is a great anytime pour and the 18 pairing is perfect. I think it’s inspired and could lead more people upmarket – I have no doubt that Macallan 12/18 does. 

      On a similar subject I’ve been seeing Dewar’s with a cover for golf clubs. Well, I guess that’s the Dewar’s audience. 

      Next up, the J&B “Slighty Unacceptably Drunk In Public Sickness Bag” included. Or the “Meeting The Kid’s Teacher Breath Mints” with Cutty Sark. ;) 

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