It's been an an incredibly difficult year, with many of us looking forward to the festive season to treat not only our loved ones - but also ourselves to a little something special. Thankfully, Scottish producers, retailers and entertainers around the country have raised the bar in offering us a quality selection of goods, experiences, gastronomic and beverage delights. Below we offer some inspiration on a selection of gift ideas to suit a host of interests...

BENRIACH

Benriach Distillery, founded in 1898 and located in north Speyside, recently revealed its distinctive new flavour-forward portfolio of Single Malts and a new look inspired by the distillery’s creative heritage.

Known for its long-standing tradition of distilling classic, peated and triple distilled whisky and an eclectic cask inventory sourced from around the world, the Benriach range has been artistically crafted by Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie and her team.

Displaying the diversity and versatility of Benriach’s orchard fruit-laden style, this new range spans the full spectrum of whisky flavour.

The Original Ten encapsulates the signature smooth and multi-layered character of Benriach.

HeraldScotland:

Three-cask matured for at least ten years in bourbon barrels, sherry casks and virgin oak, this whisky boasts layers of luscious orchard fruit, sumptuous honeyed malt and toasted oak, all interwoven with a subtle trace of smoke.

The perfect introduction to our signature style and richly layered Speyside Single Malt. The Smoky Ten is distilled using malted barley smoked with Highland peat, and is enriched with three-cask maturation using bourbon barrels, toasted virgin oak and Jamaican rum casks for layers of sunripe fruit, aromatic smoky sweetness and toasted oak spice.

The Smoky Ten is an ideal introduction for explorers keen to try a different style of peated whisky compared to the more traditional Islay malts. Both the Benriach Original Ten and Smoky Ten make the perfect Christmas gift for explorers of flavour, and those who like to experiment with their whisky in different ways, such as in cocktails.

HeraldScotland:

Buy the whiskies from Master of Malt today and receive a free luggage tag with every purchase, perfect for planning your next adventure as you travel the world of flavour with Benriach.

Links to purchase:

Original Ten: www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/benriach/benriach-the-original-ten-whisky

Smoky Ten: www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/benriach/benriach-the-smoky-ten-whisky/?srh=1

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FRESH SELECT

Fresh Select are bringing Christmas to your home.

With over 10 years experience working with chefs and the hospitality industry on building the perfect Christmas meals, we are delivering your full Christmas menu to you.

HeraldScotland:

We have Christmas packs for everyone, starting at £25 for 4 people through to our indulgent Gold Pack for 8+ people at £110. We have a wide range of starters, mains, turkeys, sides and desserts available for you to build your perfect Christmas Menu.

Example Menu (Gold Pack)

  • Starter

3kg x Lentils
1 x Smoked Ham Hough

  • Main

3kg x Turkey Breast
3kg x Topside of Beef
3kg x Green Gammon
2.5kg x Roast Potato
1kg x Brussel Sprouts
1kg x Baton Carrots
1kg x Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing
20 x Pigs in Blankets

  • Dessert

Strawberry Gateau
Profiteroles

HeraldScotland:
Christmas delivery or collection slots are available 21st - 24th December.

Delivery is free to Glasgow Postcodes.
 

Visit www.freshselect.co.uk

Facebook @freshselectltd

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GRANITE NORTH GIN

Award Winning Granite North Gin Reveal Fresh New Look – But Worry Not, The Gin is as Good as Ever! Sustainability has always been integral to Granite North Gin.

Distilled in the wilds of Scotland, and using fresh water and grand fir needles from the ancient forests to create the gin’s signature creamy and delicate taste, the brand understands the value of the natural, rugged landscape which it inhabits. Looking for ways to reduce the company’s environmental impact, the team landed on the decision to revamp its distinctive packaging.

But while its look is fresh and new, the rich and distinctive gin remains the same. What’s new for Granite North Gin? It was COVID-19 that heralded the change for Granite North. Restricted from visiting the mountains he loved, the brand’s founder, Sandy Matheson, found himself contemplating the future.

HeraldScotland:

If the current degree of environmental degradation continues, he could see a time when there may be no wild walks to enjoy, with or without a pandemic. As a business owner, he was in a position to make a difference, at least at a local level. More than a merely superficial makeover, Granite North Gin’s packaging has had a top-to-tail overhaul.

The bottles are now lighter, which means less glass, lower production energy consumption, reduced transportation emissions, less CO2 and a happier and healthier planet… it’s also easier for you to carry home!

While the updated labelling has a simplicity and tactility that are equally appealing. In a nod to its Scottish heritage, the beautiful blue of the Saltire bands the gin’s bottle, while the lochs and rivers of Granite North’s home are evoked in the label’s design.

HeraldScotland:

The new look manages to be both fresh, resilient and welcoming all in one. Founder of Granite North, Sandy Matheson, explains: ‘The water of the Cairngorms literally runs through Granite North. It’s part of what gives the gin its unique flavour and its soft mouthfeel.

To not take care of the environment that created and sustains the business would be disrespectful at best, self-defeating at worst. ‘Gin has been produced in the Scottish Highlands for over 300 years. At Granite North, we’ve taken that tradition and added our own stamp to it, with our unique blend of ingredients and techniques. But it’s also hugely important to us that we preserve the landscape that we’ve inherited.

That’s why we’ve worked so hard to improve the sustainability practices of the business.’ Granite North Gin While Granite North’s packaging has changed, the award-winning gin within remains the same.

HeraldScotland:

Hand-crafted in small batches, Granite North Gin is known for its smooth, clean and crisp palate, which carries vibrant notes of the grapefruit, bay and Cairngorms grand fir needles, which feature strongly in its creation.

Warming in winter and refreshing in summer, the brand has become loved by gin connoisseurs throughout the UK.

See www.granitenorthgin.com

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DOONHAME FESTIVAL

The Doonhame Festival is scheduled to return to the grounds of The Crichton in Dumfries on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st July 2021 headlined by The Kaiser Chiefs and the addition of a new one day Kids Festival, Doonhame Kids, on the 1st August.

With 2020 being a great disappointment for all live music lovers and festival fans, a ticket to a Summer 2021 festival makes the ideal experience gift for friends and family.

Sandy Sweetman, Joint Festival Director said: “People have really missed live music and festivals throughout 2020, and have also found a new love of outdoors. Doonhame Festival’s just out of town site and a capacity limited to 3000 makes it an ideal festival to attend when people may be cautious coming out of Covid restrictions”.

HeraldScotland:

The 2021 line up headlined by The Kaiser Chiefs includes The Feeling, Hayseed Dixie, Bad Manners, Toploader, Skerryvore, Tiderays, The Lutras, I Am A Raver, Ibiza Mania and a full two days of live acts and Dj’s.

“We have also just announced the Doonhame Kids, a new ‘festival in a day’ for kids will take place on Sunday 1st August 2021 on the grounds of The Crichton in Dumfries between 12 noon and 4pm. Tickets for the Kids Festival are only £10, making it the ideal stocking filler” said Sandy.

HeraldScotland:

The Kids festival will feature performances on the main stage from Little Mix, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande tribute acts, Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave and also performances from Attitude, Danceworks Studio, Dumfries School of Dance, In Step and Razzamataz Dumfries.

On-site camping will also be introduced in 2021 for tents and live-in vehicles for the main festival. “Our priority is always public safety. The limited capacity and plenty of open air space will allow for physical distancing and we will ensure that all other Covid-19 safety measures are in place throughout the weekend.

HeraldScotland:

"We will also roll over tickets if the festival cannot go ahead due to further Covid-19 restrictions”.

Tickets are available online from www.doonhamefestival.co.uk and www.doonhamekids.co.uk

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Loch Lomond Arms Hotel

Come and join us! In the heart of Luss, the Loch Lomond Arms is a beautifully restored coaching inn serving the best of locally sourced produce. Open Wednesday - Sunday; join us by the fire and while away the day with some amazing food.  

HeraldScotland:

Festive Menu

Get into the Christmas spirit! The Festive Menu has been developed by new Head Chef Chris Dougan and choose from delicious Scottish favourites including Cullen Skink Soufflé, Highland Venison with Chestnut, and Ecclefechan tart. The à la carte menu is also available. 

(Festive Menu available until 22 December 2020: £19 - 2 courses; £24 - 3 courses)
 

Stress-free Christmas

Enjoy a hand cooked Christmas feast, with none of the hassle. The fabulous four course menu has a host of options; from traditional turkey, with all the trimmings, to roast salmon or baked celeriac. 

(£65 per person. Seatings at 2:30pm & 5pm, 25 December) 

Winter Warmer

There are fantastic offers on accommodation, with rooms from just £65 per night. If you feel like a well-deserved break, or are searching for the perfect gift, then a night in the hotel in early 2021, might just be the ticket. 

(Use code WINTERWARMER21 on the website)  

Private Dining

A new addition for the festive season, these greenhouses offer al-fresco dining without the freeze! Fitted with heaters and adorned with fairy lights they are the ultimate romantic dining experience. 

(Book in advance, spaces are limited) 

Kids Eat Free! 

One child eats free for every adult main course! Experience the magic of Christmas through your children’s eyes on the Festive Faerie Trail. Book Faerie Trail tickets in advance online: £4 per child; £3 per adult. 

www.lochlomondfaerietrail.com 

(Available on the day of Faerie Trail booking. Valid until 10 January 2021. Book your table in advance. Excludes 25, 26, 31 December 2020 & 1 January 2021)

HeraldScotland:

Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, Main Road, Luss, Argyll, G83 8NY. Call 01436 860 420. All enquiries@lochlomondarmshotel.com 

www.lochlomondarmshotel.com

Facebook@LochLomondArmsHotel

instagram@lochlomondarms

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THE GLENLIVET

Nothing quite says ‘Christmas’ like a roaring fire and a dram of whisky. But with this year’s festivities likely to involve a lot more time spent at home, why not treat yourself (or a loved one) to a truly special single malt- perhaps one that they haven’t tried before?

Breaking Walls

Volume 90%

The Glenlivet has a range of outstanding whiskies to suit every taste and budget. Yet when it comes to drinking a single malt, it’s crucial that you know how to pick up on each flavour element within the liquid. There are four areas of taste: sweet, salty, sour and bitter, with our brains making sense of what we are drinking. When tasting a whisky, the mouthfeel of the whisky, called the ‘body’, plays a key role in how our brains process flavour.

The length of time the flavours remain in the mouth after swallowing, known as the ‘finish’, is also a major part of whisky tasting. Across The Glenlivet range, the length of finish varies from one expression to another, from short to medium to long. The original spirit for all expressions is the same, so much of the finish will be dependent on the casks used.

Now you have a better idea of how to taste whisky, the only problem will be deciding which one to buy…

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old

The 12 Year Old: not only one of the most famous malts in The Glenlivet range, but in the world. Although it is an entry point into whisky for many drinkers, it doesn’t scrimp on quality, being first matured in traditional oak before spending time in American oak casks.

“This is truly a whisky for everyone,” explains Alex Robertson, Head of Heritage and Education at The Glenlivet, “smooth and balanced with that classic sweet pineapple note originally pioneered by our founder George Smith.”

“It’s your gateway to not only The Glenlivet but to single malts. I love it as a tall drink with ice and soda water on a summer’s day.”

  • Available from Tesco for £38

Caribbean Reserve

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is a recognisably premium single malt whisky, but one that’s been finished in Caribbean rum casks to give it a tropical twist.

“We’ve done different cask finishes before, but this is us moving that forward and asking what we can do to make whisky more accessible for different demographics,” admits David Robinson, Brand Ambassador for Scotch Whisky at Pernod Ricard. “This still has the quality of a great drop of The Glenlivet, but we want to change it up: making long drinks from it, shaking it into cocktails.

“We want people to go out there and have fun with it. Do they have a favourite serve? Do they like it hot, cold, with ice, in a cocktail?”

Carribean Reserve

Carribean Reserve whisky

Volume 90%

 To create a whisky with a tropical feel, The Glenlivet makers finished a portion of their smooth whisky in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum. The result is a well-balanced and exceptionally smooth whisky with rich caramel toffee notes, followed by flavours of tropical fruit.

  • Available from Sainsbury’s for £36

The Glenlivet Spectra

There’s very little to say about The Glenlivet Spectra. Not because it’s boring, but because there is a considerable air of mystery surrounding this trio of single malts, which have been released with very little information about how they’re made. The distillery, instead, challenges you to figure out the tasting notes for yourself, with a scannable QR code bringing the process to life via an immersive digital activation.

“The Glenlivet Spectra is an incredible experience,” Alex explains, “taking the original The Glenlivet signature style and breaking tradition by taking the flavour profile in three different directions.

Volume 90%

“This allows all whisky drinkers to explore flavour maturation through an interactive experience as the casks play different tunes in each of the three whiskies. With no age statement, cask information or tasting notes, you have the freedom to explore and all will be revealed in 2021! Follow @dramgoodlife on Instagram for a tasting.”

  • Available from Master of Malt for £105

www.theglenlivet.com/en-UK

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