A decent selection of whiskey can make your entire bar look like it’s straight out of a Hollywood movie about a high-powered business executive. I’ve been studying whiskey for a long time, from my dad’s Jack Daniels collection (which we watered down with tea as teenagers) to scotches and bourbons old enough to drink.
I’ve seen a ton of bottles over the years, and these are my favorite bottles. Not necessarily for the liquor inside them but for the bottles themselves. They just look sexy on the shelf and when I empty them, I’ll refill them for decorative purposes.
Pick up one of these bottles if you want a great-looking liquor shelf or cabinet. Pick up all the varieties from these distilleries to really round things out. I’ve not come across one I hated yet (although a few aren’t necessarily daily drinkers).
1. Angel’s Envy
Kentucky bourbon is world-renowned for being the best, and Angel’s Envy is a great bourbon in a uniquely beautiful bottle. This design alone is why I still buy Angel’s Envy to this day.
2. The Notch
Nantucket Island isn’t the first place you’d think of for great whisky, but it’s just as coastal as Scotland and Ireland. The Notch 12 is a single malt whisky with a smooth finish and a gorgeous bottle that easily sticks out.
3. I.W. Harper 15
I.W. Harper 15 bourbon looks like the type of whiskey decanter you’d buy to emulate your favorite Mad Men characters. Pull off the label and only whiskey aficionados will know where your fine crystal really came from.
Stillhouse tastes exactly like it looks, which is a can of turpentine. But G Eazy is the man in today’s music industry, and his branding is making it as popular as P Diddy’s Ciroc (which I honestly couldn’t tell you whether or not still exists, because it’s awful).
5. Monkey Shoulder
Monkey Shoulder is on the level of a Johnnie Walker in taste, which isn’t the worst blended scotch on the planet. Plus the bottle, with its three metal monkeys crouching on each other’s shoulders, is an excellent keepsake for your liquor cabinet.
6. Maker’s Mark
Any bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon will have the signature melted wax top. I’ve had several incarnations, but the Cask Strength is my favorite flavor.
7. Crown Royal
Canada’s Crown Royal makes exotic glass designs and goes the bonus step of placing them in velvet sacks. When I posted this bottle of XO back in the day, the Canadian distillery was so happy, they sent me a bottle of XR with a royal blue bag I keep in my private collection.
8. The Dalmore
Scotch is a particular taste one must develop, and The Dalmore is a great bottle that shows off your great taste in both scotch and design. This peaty drink always comes with a signature stag from the crest of the distillery’s founding family.
9. The Glenlivet Archive 21
The Glenlivet has a bottle reminiscant of the 40-year ports I got from Portugal, but what really sets it apart is the wood case around it. Few bottles have the presentation of this archival sctoch, and it tastes amazing too.
Sazerac is both the name of a classic whiskey/absinthe cocktail and the Lousiana-based rye whiskey that’s used to make it. It’s also a favorite of Jim Brockmire and myself, and the unique bottle makes for an excellent vase when it’s empty. Buffalo Trace is one of the best whiskey distilleries in the U.S., so any of its offerings will ultimately be great but this bottle can represent them all.