Hampers make an ideal gift anytime of the year – regardless of whether you’re searching for a gift for a family member, a friend, a colleague or a loved one. With so many options to choose from, there is a hamper to suit all!
Today, specialised hampers are becoming more and more popular, and in particular, hampers containing fine whiskies. These make the perfect present for the whisky connoisseur and are sure to tickle the taste buds. Here we’ve listed a few of our favourite whisky and it’s accompaniments that you may wish to include in a hamper.
Top 10 Ingredients for Whisky Hamper
1. Malt Whisky
If you’re under the impression all whiskies taste the same, you are very wrong. They differ through origin, their ingredients, their aroma, maturity and their production. Malt Whisky is described by many a connoisseur as one of the best whiskies money can buy – so is a great option for those who know their stuff. It’s usually found in Scotland and is created using malted barley distilled in pot stills, before being left to mature in oak barrels.
2. Blended Whisky
It is created using a mixture of whiskies – these often include both malt and grain variants of different type and origin.
These whiskies are a popular option for those who enjoy different flavours and tones. One point to remember when choosing a blended whisky for your hamper is the ratios of grain and malt. The higher the amount of malt whisky, the better!
3. Bourbon and Tennessee Whisky
Bourbon originates from the United States, with the majority of bourbons native to Kentucky. An exception to this is the celebrated Tennessee Whisky.
All bourbons (by law) must be aged for at least four years in fresh, toasted casks, crafted out of American white oak. Tennessee differs from standard bourbon in that it is charcoal-filtered before being placed into the casks.
4. Japanese whiskies
If you’re looking for a whisky that is a little different to the usual blends, opt for Japanese. Although the renowned distilleries of Honshu and Hokkaido boast hints of Scottish traditions, they’re extremely unique and produce a variety of exclusive, multidimensional whiskies – ideal for someone who likes the finer things in life. A number of Japanese whiskies have now become investment items, leaving some investors to toast to tidy profits.
Chocolate is a great accompaniment, particularly dark chocolate. When selecting chocolate for a whisky hamper, the higher the percentage of cacao, the better. Fruit-infused chocolates are also a good option – especially those laced with orange. It’s important to pick wisely though, as opting for the wrong chocolate can mar the flavour of the pairing.
Fruit is another great addition to whisky hampers. Opt for tangy or tart fruits, such as apples or pears, or even chutneys infused with these fruits. Avoid citrus fruits, including oranges and lemon-based chutneys, as these have a tendency to overpower the flavour of the whisky.
7. Pub snacks
From honey-roasted peanuts and Worcestershire crisps, to sesame pretzels and oriental rice crackers – all pair well with whisky. They’re also snacks enjoyed by many a whisky connoisseur, making them a perfect addition to a whisky hamper.
8. Dried meat
Dried deli-style meats are another popular choice for hampers, especially pork varieties. When it comes to serving meat with whisky, simplicity is best. Choose a selection of air-cured meats and a smoke-infused whisky for your hamper.
If you’ve chosen a spicy Scotch for your gift, adding a stronger cheese (such as Roquefort) to the mix is a great idea. Sweeter Scotches on the other hand pair better with a softer cheese such as Brie. If those you’re gifting enjoy cheese just as much as they do Whisky, then Swiss, Cheddar, Havarti and Gouda are all great options for hampers.
10. Cheese biscuits
Cheese without biscuits just won’t do! So when choosing a hamper, add some seeded crackers to the assembly. Gourmet crackers, a little different to those you find in your local supermarket, will add a touch of class to your gift.
When it comes to choosing what whiskeys to put in a hamper, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re unsure of what whiskies to gift your friends or family members, a safe bet is a blended or Bourbon variant. These softer ones are easy to enjoy and therefore suit a variety of tastes. If you’re gifting a connoisseur or a friend you class as a ‘master of malt’, opt for a small batch Bourbon or a Single Malt Scotch – these are preferred by the experts and boast a stronger aroma, due to being matured for longer.
As you can see there are plenty of options when it comes to creating a whisky hamper. If you’d really like to mix things up, opting for a range of whiskies and accompaniments may be the best option, although it’s important to remember who exactly you’re gifting.