Finding the perfect whisky for a Christmas gift – or for your own enjoyment – can be a challenge, especially given the variety on offer from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. That’s why we’re here to help – looking at whisky through the lens of flavour to help you select the right bottle

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Whisky comes to life at Christmas time. It’s the perfect drink to celebrate with, to share with loved ones, and as the year draws to a close, it’s a drink to reminisce with. Here’s how to find the perfect bottle for whoever you want to share the love with.


For a first-time whisky drinker go for something juicy, rich and comforting to get them off on the right foot. Let them fall in love with oak and the wonderful variety of flavours it imparts on the spirit. Cinder toffee and sweet milk chocolate flavours combined with spicy warming notes and a treacle like mouth-feel are certain to do the trick.

Flavour profiles: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla, Sweet Fruity & Mellow, Spicy & Sweet

Whiskies to buy:

100.16 Classic cranberry cosmo

9.128 Scented candle on a fruit cake

9.137 Sunset happy hour


Bring out a special bottling to share and enjoy after your extravagant roast dinner. Your parents will be touched at the thought. Look for lively flavours that will cleanse the palate –  you’ll need it after your rich and hearty Christmas dinner. Think citrus fruits, polished wood, hints of vanilla, sea salt and sweet smoke.

Flavour profiles: Young & Spritely, Spicy & Sweet, Peated

Whiskies to buy:

72.55 Cloud gazer’s tipple

100.17 Fresh as a glacial facial

29.234 Smoked and salted toffee apples


Gift them something unforgettable to toast their first Christmas as a married couple. Find something with sensual, perfumed notes and sweet, subtle flavours. Look for flavours of candy floss, perfumed notes, peaches and cream and chantilly cream.

Flavour profiles: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow, Young & Spritely

Whiskies to buy:

9.125 Strolling in paradise

84.23 Liquorice and peppermint concoction 


Do you have a friend who insists they don’t like whisky but adore wine? Prove them wrong this Christmas by picking out a whisky that evokes their favourite style of wine. Look for flavours that they might be familiar with and look for ex-wine casks or sherry casks that draw them in to the whisky.

Flavour profiles: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits, Sweet, Fruity & Mellow, Spicy & Sweet

Whiskies to buy:

58.20  Seriously scrumptious 

46.53 Chocolates and flowers

54.52 Softly spiced and sweetly spongy


If you’re buying a Christmas gift for a co-worker – or maybe even the boss – you’re making quite a statement. Go the extra mile to show this person you value them, with a powerful and extravagant whisky that speaks of maturity and balance, or gives a punchy hit of peat

Flavour profiles: Old & Dignified, Peated, Deep Rich & Dried Fruits

Whiskies to buy:

7.168 Zingy yet relaxing

29.234 Smoked and salted toffee apples

35.190 Hot apple and cinnamon sponge


Christmas parties dominate December so make sure you’re prepared. Turn up with a special bottle and you’ll be the most popular person there. Look for lively, fruity whiskies with classic Christmas flavours (sultanas, oranges, cloves, nutmeg, dark chocolate) to get everyone in the festive spirit.

Flavour profiles: Lightly Peated, Spicy & Dry, Young & Spritely

Whiskies to buy:

29.228 Cooking with driftwood

55.47 Barrique fantastique

72.54 Margharitas


Whisky is the perfect accompaniment to a good book. Look for something thought-provoking and awakening. Chilli heat, aromatic spices and black tea notes will ensure your bookworm is left speechless – in the best possible way.

Flavour profiles: Heavily Peated, Spicy & Dry, Spicy & Sweet

Whiskies to buy:

77.46 Relaxation therapy

9.137 Sunset happy hour

SMWS Queen Street


For those obsessed with concocting their own cocktails, look for a whisky that’s versatile. Spicy rye-like flavours will work well mixed in a cocktail and fresh, cooling flavours will work well paired with soda water. Don’t be afraid to go for a little smoke, which can add an extra dimension to a cocktail.

Flavour profiles: Peated, Spicy & Dry

Whiskies to buy:

29.234 Smoked and salted toffee apples

46.51 A tapestry of flavour


If you’re buying for a food-obsessed friend you need a whisky that will work paired with one of their favourite dishes. Think bold fruity whiskies for red meats; salty coastal flavours for seafood; and sweet grain whiskies for desserts.

Flavour profiles: Lightly Peated, Sweet, Fruity & Mellow, Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits

Whiskies to buy:

29.228 Cooking with driftwood

36.136 Fruity tang spangle

72.51 Pepper-crusted charred roast beef


Be it in-laws or that special someone, certain whiskies never fail to impress. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone and look for unusual characteristics. Think big meaty flavours, tropical fruits and luscious mouth-feel.

Flavour profiles: Old & Dignified, Oily & Coastal, Sweet, Fruity & Mellow

Whiskies to buy:

7.128 A sonata of sapidity

27.111 A coal bucket of marshmallows

46.54 Pas de deux


If you’re looking for a bomb-proof present that will intrigue a long-time whisky enthusiast, you need something that pushes boundaries. Look for bold flavours that come from unusual cask types. A low Outturn number also is also sure to impress a long-time whisky fan.

Flavour profiles: Old & Dignified, Lightly Peated

Whiskies to buy:

7.168 Zingy yet relaxing

29.228 Cooking with driftwood


For the curious whisky lover who may already have an enviable collection, there really is only one gift to give: SMWS membership. Our offering now brings even more choice, with the option to add tasting tickets, drams and bottles to your gift.

Visit to find your perfect combination.