Advent calendars have become big business in recent years, so it felt natural for Club O to survey the market for the best alcohol advent calendars available to lovers of fine wine and spirits. From humble origins that saw nothing more than an illustration or a piece of chocolate behind each day’s window, there are now calendars to suit a range of tastes and interests, offering samples of beauty products, scented candles, cheese and myriad other product categories as the days tick down to Christmas. The drinks industry has not been left behind.
The calendars are a great opportunity for companies to let customers try products they may not otherwise buy, so it was inevitable that drinks companies would see value in participating in the trend. There are some impressive premium examples available, with the best alcohol advent calendars offering carefully selected, quality tasters that are as much about pleasure as they are promotion. We’ve selected five of the best drinks calendars below.
Five of the best alcohol advent calendars to buy in 2023
Whisky Advent Calendar: 25 Whiskies of the World
The Whisky Exchange’s 25 Whiskies of the World calendar features a 30ml bottle of whisky for every day of advent, with the samples selected from distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the US, as well as some more unusual destinations, including Australia, Israel and Denmark. Contents include single malts ranging from 8-18 years in age, small batch bourbons, drams aged in sherry casks and more; there are plenty of famous names too: Kavalan, Jura, Caol Ila, Dingle and Port Charlotte all feature. Frenzied excitement at Club O HQ meant some of the doors proved too flimsy to survive the opening process but the bottles themselves have classy labels, and the purple case with gold etching is stylish, sturdy and tactile.
The Whisky Exchange, £145
The 67 Pall Mall Sommeliers’ Calendar
The buyers and sommeliers at 67 Pall Mall have put their heads together again in 2023 to select 24 special wines to feature in the 67 Pall Mall Sommeliers’ Calendar, which surely must be the best alcohol advent calendar for a lover of fine wine. The box, which is designed to resemble the façade of the private members’ club in Mayfair, contains a 75ml bottle for each day of advent. Once the contents have been poured into a suitable glass, a QR code printed on the label can be scanned, taking drinkers to a video presented by a member of the club’s team giving more background on the day’s wine. Unlike access to the club itself, you don’t need to be a member to buy the calendar. Bordeaux and Burgundy editions are also available, curated by Jane Anson and Jasper Morris MW respectively, for lovers of those prestigious regions.
67 Pall Mall, £475
Fortnum & Mason Spirits & Liqueurs Advent Calendar
Fortnum and Mason’s spirits and liqueurs calendar is the best alcohol advent calendar for those drink lovers with broad tastes or an interest in trying something unusual each day of advent. The calendar comes in F&M’s signature house colour ‘Eau de Nil’ and features gold ornate decoration on the outside, with doors opening to reveal illustrated drawers that slide out for each day of the month. The drawers contain a range of drams in 50ml bottles, including vodkas, whiskies, rums, gins and liqueurs from Fortnum’s own collection. Naturally, we don’t want to ruin all the surprises but you can expect seasonal specialties such as a mince pie & marmalade liqueur and sloe gin, as well as Scotch from Speyside and Islay. The big day warrants a bumper 200ml serving and it’s good to know that the case for the calendar is so special that it’ll be difficult not to keep and repurpose it.
Fortnum & Mason, £225
Drinks by the Dram releases a selection of advent calendars each year but the premium rum edition is our pick for 2023. The simple box features 24 windows containing wax-sealed, 30ml bottles containing rum from a variety of distilleries, from the big to the boutique. There’s also a range of styles from light to dark, including Diplomático Seleccion De Familia, the award-winning Flor de Caña 18 and the RumTing: Passionfruit, Mango & Elderflower. If sipping your way around the world via some special rums sounds like an appealing journey to Christmas Day, this is the one for you.
Drinks by the Dram, £124.95
A Whisky Tour of Scotland II
Now in a second edition for 2023, The Whisky Tour of Scotland must be the best alcohol advent calendar for lovers of Scottish whisky and comes as a decorated wooden cabinet containing drawers for 50ml samples of 15 single malt, five single grain and four blended whiskies, plus two tasting glasses. As you’d expect given the name, there are drams from across the country, including Speyside, Islay, Highland, Lowland and Campbeltown, and the concept is that the expressions are old and rare, bottled straight from the cask. Even in the company of the other premium calendars on our list, the whisky cabinet packaging stands out and is something to keep long after the whiskies are finished.