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Wonderful Whisky Gift Ideas You Can Actually Buy In Australia

Which Whisky Is Best To Gift?

There technically is no correct answer to 'which whisky is best to gift' as there are SO MANY different whiskies, and every gift recipient will have their preferred flavours/styles. This makes buying a single whisky as a gift incredibly daunting, which is why we like to gift sampler packs as there's always something for everyone.

However, to help you pick a fabulous whisky gift, we've put together the following list of whiskies that we would gift to our friends and family and that we would happily receive as gifts as well (hint hint to said friends and family). They're all readily available in Australia, and the links we've provided are to Australian retailers.

red toned image containing smoking branch, cinnamon quils and a cut citrus. centre is a bottle of Gospel Solera rye

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The Gospel Solera is hands down my favourite Rye and the best base spirit for a Manhattan, Boulevardier or even an Old Fashioned (I prefer them a little sweeter). It is matured in new American oak and ex-Australian wine barrels. The Gospel have a fantastic range of pre-mixed cocktails and whiskey cocktail gift sets. This is an unusual enough whisky that it will be a rare find for most whisky fans and a much-welcome gift for those who have already tried it.

photograph of a bottle of Cape Byron The Original Whisky

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Roddy and I were very fortunate to attend the unveiling of Cape Byron's long-awaited whisky, made in collaboration with Roddy's old boss, master distiller Jim McEwan. We're both huge fans of their Brookie's Gins (Jim has been involved since the beginning), and the whisky is of the same high quality. Made in Byron Bay, Cape Byron Distillery is a fabulous place to visit, and now they're also producing some of our favourite whiskies.

cork stopper bottle with green striped label and Peat in big letters. bottle contains straw yellow whisky

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I love Elements of Islay Full Proof (bottled at 59.3% abv). It is a blend of whiskies from several Islay distilleries - my guess is mostly Caol Ila and Laphroaig, as that's what Elements of Islay Full Proof reminds me of. This is a whisky I can happily drink all afternoon, and it would make a marvellous gift for someone you know who likes Islay whisky, but maybe you're not sure which distilleries.

Tasting notes from Nicks.com.au "Dark chocolate, then cool mint-fresh, peppery whiffs of kipper / kelp / seashore; damp terracotta and threads of Crunchie bar in the later stages, finally eclipsed by earthier notes of woolshed / farmyard / lanolin. Intense yet balanced with restrained oily malt, iodine and white pepper. Solid length. Dries out considerably towards the finish. Just about all you could want in an Islay dram."

photograph of a bottle of bunnahabhain 12 yo old whisky and its tin

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If you're not sure whether your gift recipient enjoys peated whisky or not, but you'd like to get them something from Scotland, then you can't go wrong with Bunnahabhain 12yo. It is ever so delicately peated (sometimes I forget it is technically a peated whisky as the influence is so slight).

Bunnahabhain 12 has the maritime style (think 'by the sea') you expect in an Islay single malt but without the smack-you-round-the-head medicinal ashtray you might expect from other Islay distilleries (try the Elements of Islay Full Proof if you enjoy those). Bunnahabhain 12 is light and fresh and is consistently one of our go-to whiskies.

bottle of waterford lacken 1.1 whisky next to its blue packaging box

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Waterford works directly with the barley farmers - over 100 Irish growers - some organic, some biodynamic, some heritage grains - and each whisky is unique to that farm or grain type. If you have ever wondered what the grain influence has on  a whisky, the Waterford range is the best place to start. And they also make REALLY GOOD Irish whisky (and they insist on spelling it without an e).

Whisky Sampler Packs Australia

Whisky sampler packs are a fantastic gift option as they're already nicely boxed and ready to present, and they contain a selection of whiskies, so you don't have to worry about picking the wrong one. All of these sets are available from Australian retailers. 

For a broader selection of gift sets, see our Whisky Lover’s Guide to Unusual & Unique Whisky Gifts and A Whisky Woman’s Guide To Whisky Gifts.

box set of 12 world whiskies (3 in photo) 30ml samples. whisky miniature bottles are glass and wax sealed

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The Drinks by The Dram 12 Miniature Whisky Collection of 3cl (30ml) wax-sealed samples of whiskies is a safe bet as a whisky gift as there are a variety of drams from around the world, and they are beautifully presented in a gift box.

red-brown box with eagle on front and large white font American Whiskey 5x30ml hand waxed drams

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The Drinks by The Dram American Whisky Collection is a fabulous whisky gift for a bourbon or rye whiskey lover. The Collection includes five wax-sealed glass 30ml samples from distilleries around the USA, boxed up and ready to present.

five miniature bottles of Japanese whisky in front of their gift box produced by drinks by the dram

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The Drinks by The Dram Japanese Whisky Collection is an excellent introduction to Japanese whisky. The Japanese Whisky Collection includes five wax-sealed glass 30ml samples from distilleries around Japan, including detailed tasting notes, all neatly presented in a gift box.

Boxed set of three Starward whiskies - Two-Fold, Nova and Fortis.

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From Melbourne Distillers Starward, this Whisky Gift Pack features three 200ml bottles of their awarded and much lauded-whiskies: Two-Fold, Nova and Fortis.

Whisky Gift Sets Australia

While the sampler packs provide you with a broad range of tastings, we love a good gift set for the broad range of ITEMS, especially if they include branded glassware (as these sets all do).

3 x 200 ml bottles of Lark Distillery whisky and a glen cairn style glass engraved with Lark's logo in a navy gift box

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A fabulous gift pack from the founders of modern Tasmanian whisky, this set includes three x200ml Lark Distillery whiskies and a Lark-branded Glencairn whisky glass.

open gift box showing full size 700ml bottle of johnnie walker blue label whisky and two crystal johnnie walker glasses

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Johnnie Walker is probably the most recognisable brand in the world of whisky. Most of us start our whisky journies with Johnnie (often with coke), but Blue Label is at a whole other level. This box set is the perfect gift for a Johnnie Walker fan. Full-size 700ml bottle of Blue Label and two Johnnie Walker Crystal Glasses in a Johnnie Blue gift box. Also available as a Johnnie Walker Green Label gift set.

photograph of glenmorangie socks, selection of glenmorangie 20cl whiskies, glenmorangie glasses, fever tree ginger ale, spiced nuts,

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This gorgeous gift set from Gifts Australia includes a Glenmorangie Taster Pack with four Glenmorangie whiskies, two Glenmorangie branded glasses, and Glenmorangie branded socks. For a great night in, the hamper also contains two bottles of Fevertree Spiced Orange Ginger Ale (to make Whisky Highballs), Toffee Popcorn, Savoury Nut Mix, and an A6 gold-lined notebook (presumably for writing tasting notes). Even if your gift recipient isn't a whisky-cocktail fan, the four Glenmorangie sample bottles and branded glassware will satisfy even the most die-hard whisky fan and delight a whisky novice.

a one litre bottle of Bushmills blended irish whisky and two glasses next to their carry case box that resembles the Bushmills distillery

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Great gift for an Irish whisky fan - a 1 LITRE bottle of Bushmills Irish whiskey and 2 Bushmills tasting glasses, all packaged up and ready to present in a carry bag style gift box reminiscent of the Bushmills distillery.

Unusual Whisky Gifts Australia

two glasses and a glass globe with the world map filled with amber liquid

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This elegant Whiskey Decanter Globe and Glass Set will stand out on any bar, countertop, or drinks trolley for that added touch of class. The decanter and matching whisky glasses are made from quality glassware with a frosted map of the earth. The glass globe decanter capacity is 940ml and comes with a glass stopper. It also includes two 270ml whisky glasses and a timber decanter stand.

photograph of a glass decanter in the shape of a storm trooper helmet. the decanter is full of amber liquid presumably whiskey

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This Stormtrooper Decanter is the perfect gift for a Star Wars Fan and Whisky Lover (this is quite a large number of people we know). Shaped to match the original moulds of the Stormtrooper helmet and armour created by Andrew Ainsworth, prop designer for the first Star Wars movie in 1976. The decanter weighs 950g, has a capacity of 750ml, and includes a cork stopper.

two Tasmanian oak whisky flight paddles, one side showing 4 holes for dram placement, the other showing 'dads bar whisky and cocktails' as personalised engraving is available

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DuckManorWoodworking (Etsy) are a small Australian business producing customisable whisky flight paddles handmade from Tasmanian oak. Holes are cut on one side for dram placement (either 3 or 4, depending on your preference), and personalised engraving is available on the other. Timber gift tags are also available.

open spread whisky journal included guided whisky notes page

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SomethingForKeepsAU (Etsy) are a small Australian business producing Handmade Leather-Bound Journals. The journals are available in various colours, cover images (Whisky Notes Bourbon Notes) and page formats (blank, lined, grid, or the very handy whisky notes template pictured). Personalised engraving is also available. 

Gifts For Old Fashioned Lovers Australia

While you should also see our Gift Guide for an Old Fashioned Lover, the following gifts are available from Australian suppliers and will satisfy an Old Fashioned cocktail fan.

500ml bottle of Everleigh old fashioned cocktail and 2 tumblers

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The Everleigh (award-winning Melbourne cocktail bar) seemed to kick off the pre-made cocktail craze during the two years of COVID lockdowns in Melbourne - I know because a dear friend gifted a box set of Everleigh cocktails to me, and they were a definite highlight during a really crappy time. The bottles are beautiful (they are square and solid and modern), and the gift box is of very high quality - I kept my empty bottles and box for several months after as I couldn't bear to throw them away. This set includes a 500ml bottle of Old Fashioned cocktail (29% abv, all you need to do is chill it and drink it) and two cut-crystal style tumblers. Also available as a mini 'two to share' with two glasses and 2x85ml Old Fashioned cocktails.

photograph of the Gospel Old Fasioned 500ml pre made cocktail

From the distillers of my favourite rye (see The Gospel Solera above), The Gospel Old Fashioned Pre-Made Cocktails are delicious. I've had these several times as their cocktails sets are a fantastic gift (I've received and given). Like the Everleigh, you chill it and drink it - they're 30% abv and are hands down one of my favourite Old Fashioneds. This bottle is the 500ml version, though a smaller 100ml version is available in a cocktail set (along with a Manhattan, Sazerac and Boulevardier). And for a DIY cocktail gift, see the Gospel Old Fashioned Kit.

Our Favourite Australian Whisky Retailers

There is an extensive selection of whisky out there in the wide world, and most of the big online retailers like Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt do ship to Australia AND their prices at checkout are often a lot cheaper than you will see from Australian retailers AND they carry a much bigger selection of whiskies than you'll find anywhere locally. 

However, you must be aware that when you purchase alcohol outside Australia, you must pay customs duties to import it into Australia, making your bargain purchase potentially expensive on arrival. That's why the Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt offer very competitive prices to Australian customers. They know the consumer will pay additional costs after it has left their warehouse.

The following retailers are worth checking out as their prices are competitive and their whisky selections are excellent:

  • Nicks - wine, whisky, spirits. Mecca for Australian whisky fans and your one-stop shop for spirits. Nicks has an extensive selection of whiskies at very reasonable prices, and click-and-collect pick-up is available if you live in Melbourne (they're in Doncaster East). Always worth having a look in their One Litre Scotch Deals section for ex-Duty Free releases.
  • Hairy Dog - relatively new entrant with an excellent selection of whisky and other spirits. Great selection of gift packs and tasting packs (they carry quite a few of the Drinks by the Dram range, which is hard to find here otherwise).
  • The Spirt Safe - the retail arm of Alba Whisky, an Australian distributor/importer of great labels such as Kilchoman, Benromach, Elements of Islay, Amrut (India), Milk and Honey (Israel), and they carry a fine selection of independent bottles (Cadenhead, Gordon & MacPhail, Hunter Laing) AND a considerable selection of glassware (Australian Distributor of Glencairn). Click and collect is available in Victoria (Notting Hill).
  • The Odd Whisky Coy - is a bit odd. But it's not a large online retailer like the others (though the new website is a considerable improvement!). It is a small business enterprise out of Adelaide with an excellent selection of hard-to-find 'back catalogue' whiskies. I picked up a favourite Ardbeg Feis release (Auriverdes) not long ago at a very reasonable price - bottles that are not available anywhere other than on the auction sites can often be found at the Odd Whisky Coy.
  • The Rare Liquor King - another small retailer, this time based in regional Victoria - The Rare Liquor King is our go to online store for all things Bruichladdich (including Octomore BBQ sauce!) and they regularly stock the latest additions from the Dramfool Range (Jim McEwan's private casks). We recently acquired some well priced Waterford from them as well (we highly recommend these Irish whiskies - another great gift idea as the bottles are beautiful and the whisky is divine).
  • Australian Whisky Appreciation Society - AWAS have a cultivated selection of whiskies from Australia and abroad - they carry a lot of exclusive bottlings (available from AWAS only) from distilleries such as Highwayman (a personal fav), Black Gate, and Kilchoman

About the author

Amanda

Amanda is an Australian-born photographer, digital nomad and whisky lover. Her passion for travel and whisky lead her to Islay, where she fell in love with an Ileach (an Islay native). Amanda and Roddy now share their Spirited Adventures.

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Distillery Wall Art + Whisky Gifts
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