Destination Cellars Staff Christmas Picks 2021
Destination Cellars Staff Christmas Picks 2021
At Destination Cellars we love talking about and sharing our favourite products with you. This year, to make your Christmas shopping easier, each of our staff have put together their picks for the best gift this Christmas.
If you’re a lover of Peat, Benriach‘s new Smoky 10 is a must try. This three cask (Jamaican Rum, Bourbon and Virgin) matured whisky is phenomenal. The peat is clearly discernible yet subtle. The sweetness from the rum and bourbon casks marries perfectly with Benriach’s sublime spirit delivering a truly memorable whisky. Unbelievable value for under $100.
Last year I stated we can’t have Christmas without Kavalan. This still rings true with the first Solist Brandy Cask in Australia in about 4 years. The whisky is huge, heavily fruit driven with lots of oak. Add a couple drops of water to mellow the oak and bring out sweet undertones of stone fruit, caramel and vanilla bean.
Who doesn’t love a super-rich, complex and full bodied Sherry bomb of a whisky. It’s no secret that GlenDronach are one of the best in the business at producing such a whisky. Matured in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry casks, the GD15 is in my opinion, the best whisky available for under $180.
Beautifully crafted spiced rum from the small Caribbean islands of St Kitts & Nevis. This is a relatively subtle spiced rum offering undertones of vanilla, burnt orange and tropical spices.
El Dorado Butter Pecan (in store only)
Surely the most decadent Cream Liqueur on the market. Seductively smooth, delivering aromas of toffee, vanilla and roasted pecans. Drink it neat, drink it over ice or just pour it all over your Christmas Pudding and ice cream. Forget brandy custard this year.
A well-deserved winner of Australia’s Best Sloe Gin 2021. Adams Distillery has aged this gin in lightly charred Pinot Noir casks for 6 months. This process has delivered a more viscous, rich, complex gin with incredible notes of sweet cherries and dark plums. Perfect accompaniment to summer afternoons.
For those of you still unfamiliar with the wonder of Dutschke, they are a family-owned vineyard in the Barossa Valley producing amongst other products, some of the best fortifieds around. Their Tawny has been aged in Bourbon barrels and is a drink everyone should try. Practically liquid Christmas cake.
Bellebonne Blanc De Blancs (in store only)
Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, this elegant wine is the epitome of opulence, showcasing the very best of Tasmanian sparkling. Treat yourself to a bottle for Christmas or New Years’. You won’t regret it.
Yet another amazing whisky from our friends in India at Paul John Distilleries. Big, nutty oloroso sweetness coats the palate with a lengthy and satisfying finish. Great value whisky for the quality. Unpeated.
For lovers of peat, this whisky is impossible to overlook. An attention demanding dram that truly captivates. This is my favourite heavily peated whisky in this price bracket. An unknown distillery produces this malt that is much speculated over amongst connoisseurs. Possibly a marriage of old and young Lagavulin spirit.
Amazing value for money whisky at 50% ABV. This is a bourbon cask release that will continue to be a staple of the distillery and the releases will get gradually older as the distillery does as well, so you will be able to see the evolution of the spirit if you make this a regular addition to your whisky library.
Captain Bligh’s Apple Brandy (in store only)
This brandy is okay. You might even say pretty good. If you were the one making it, you might even call it some of the best apple brandy you’ve ever had. Starting off as 1000L of apple juice grown by Tasmania’s own Mr Duggan, then fermented into a cider at Captain Bligh’s then distilled into spirit and matured onsite, over 4 years of cask nurturing has led to a very richly flavoured apple brandy, known as calvados, if produced in Calvados. Full disclosure: I make this. Although it’s only 46.6% ABV it is VERY rich.
Captain Bligh’s Rum (another shameless plug)
This rum is made in the “cool climate style” myself and my father pioneered. Made in a style that more closely resembles whisky, this rum showcases a predominant character of banana lollies and is bottled at 47.1% ABV to maintain its rich flavour.
The son of Bill Lark is not a man to stay in the shadow of his father and has already made his mark on the industry in a number of ways. This absinthe is easily the best I’ve had and is a thoroughly enjoyable drink in its own right. Which is something I never thought I’d be able to say about an absinthe.
Before I tasted this, I hadn’t realised it was possible to liquefy the rich nectar of sultanas, improve it with alcohol and bottle it right up. This is a drink that everyone needs to try, and if you’ve ever had a bad experience with your Nan’s sherry, this is sure to remedy that.
Hexen (in store only)
A classic, bold and rich yet mellow shiraz. Decanting will mellow the wine but will also slightly enhance the tannins. Wonderful fruits on display with no detectable “bite” receiving 2nd place in Winestate Magazine World’s Greatest Syrah & Shriaz Challenge. Wine so good that you might even suspect witchcraft.