17 Christmas 2017 Gift Ideas for Kilt Wearers

tartan-gift

Kilt people can be a difficult lot to buy Christmas gifts for. You know they love their kilts but you don’t always know what the little trinkets and hanging things are on their kilts and you don’t know whether they even need new ones. Maybe you’re aware that the person you need to buy a gift for has Scottish ancestry but you don’t know how they would like to show that off in their every day life. Is there a way to purchase something Scottish much cheaper than, say, buying them their own Highland castle? Yes, of course there is and Life In A Kilt in cooperation with the Life In A Kilt Podcast is here to help end your search for the perfect gift with our list of 17 Christmas 2017 Gift Ideas for Kilt Wearers. You can read the list here then listen to us chat about the list on the podcast! No matter if your Christmas gift buying budget is high or low, there is something on this list for everyone so make a choice and you’ll be ready to start wrapping in no time. We recommend the plaid wrapping paper with tartan ribbon. Yeah, we’re kilty like that.

 

1. Sword of Robert The Bruce

Fortunately, today’s kilt wearers don’t have to weapon up for battle on a daily basis. The sharpest thing I carry with my kilt is a sgain dubh and that’s only occasionally. Nonetheless, most of us still imagine, at some point or another, strapping a broadsword to our backs in case we meet an aggressive rogue clan in the hallways at work. In reality, we may only get to swing the Claymore in the privacy of our own castle but it’s great to have one handy, even if it is hanging from the wall. The Sword of Robert The Bruce by Windlass is both an imposing conversation piece and intimidating blade of high carbon steel “as powerful as the man who would have wielded it.” The beautiful pommel emblazons the Cross of St. Andrew, while the hearty grip is wrapped in soft, black leather and held in place by a corded silver chain. This massive sword comes complete with a matching, thick black leather scabbard and sports a silver Lion of Scotland at its throat and a rounded silver metal shoe at its tip. This is a gift you’ll treasure for years but be careful kids. You’ll put your aye out.

From Museum Replicas Limited
$325

2. Saltire Multifunctional Scarf

Transformers are always awesome, even as a scarf. Who couldn’t make use of a scarf that turns into a cap, sun protector, dust mask, sweat band, hair tie, and protect your identity while preparing to kick English arse on the front line at Stirling Bridge. If only it would also turn into a sleeping blanket it would be like a kilt for your face. Personally, I use these as quick, emergency respirators when I’m spraying or airbrushing non-toxic paint. None of mine have the Saltire on them unfortunately, so, dang it, I’m going to have to gift one or two of these to myself as soon as I finish writing this article. Unless somebody out there wants to give me one for Christmas. I wonder how I can get my wife to read this article.

From Ruffnek
£12.75

3. Whisky Tasting Collection

Not every kilt wearer drinks whisky. A bottle of Scotch will last a year or more with me but I have friends who can go through a bottle a week. These are the people who always make me feel inadequate  when ordering at a pub. I mean, I only found out a couple years ago what ordering Scotch “neat” means. My friends, however, can have entire conversations about the effects “peat” or aging in specific barrel types or water temperature can have on good Scotch whisky. And, frankly, I don’t want to listen to them. That’s why I give them something they can put in their mouth to shut them up. Like some really good whisky! The smart people at Tasting Collection have put together two unique sets of 12 very special whiskies in a beautiful wooden gift box. Your whisky expert friends will have a blast sampling each 25ml tube of their favorite firewater while you’re still getting used to spelling whisky without an “e.” If your friends aren’t on an expert drinking level, this gift will help them discover their favorite whisky and learn to distinguish the differences while they do become an expert. Then you’ll have even more friends making you feel inadequate at the pub. Maybe you’d better order one for yourself while you’re at it.

From Tasting Collection
£148.50

4. Contemporary Sporran

When wearing a kilt for the first time, one of the most difficult things to get used to is not having pockets to carry your billfold, keys, cell phone and spare change. You quickly learn the value of a well-made, roomy sporran. While many first purchase a standard, off-the-rack, run-of-the-mill, low-cost sporran, why not help dress up your kilt person’s investment with a hand made artisan sporran? Jennifer Cantwell of Scotland’s Sporran Nation makes limited edition, bespoke and commissioned sporrans, bags and accessories that no one else you know will have and that you’re kiltie is going to love. All sporrans from Sporran Nation feature contemporary designs using high quality materials, including a vegan line for those who abstain from leather products. New works have a particular focus on leather tattooing. Woah, how cool is that? Give your kilt friend a personalized gift that they won’t ever want to do without and they will thank you and think of you every time they reach for their wallet.

From Sporran Nation
£235.00 for “Cross Sporran” (shown above). Other design prices vary.

5. Tartan Necktie

Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to wear our kilts in every social situation. Work dress codes may say “No” to our kilts but that’s no reason we can’t still sport our family tartan. The visionaries at Sport Kilt have designed neck ties in all of the kilt tartans they offer so whether your kilt lover is a Wallace working in an accounting firm or a police detective with Scottish ancestry, your giftee can still show everyone his or her clan colors as they do their work. Best thing is, no one will stop and ask what they are wearing under their tie.

From Sport Kilt
$29.50

6. Nine Button Knee High Leather Boots

Any kilt wearer who has visited a Renaissance Festival or Highland Games has spent several minutes drooling in front of the boot vendor booth. We all want a fantastic pair of boots under our kilts that make us look like Rob Roy or Kromtor the super kilted warrior-demon. With kilts becoming more popular, a pair of knee-high button boots can now be purchased online at a discount. But, hold on, we’ve all bought discount shoes before, haven’t we? It only takes a few all-day visits to the Ren Fair before buttons fall off, the cheap leather (or vinyl) scars and tears or the sole comes unglued leaving you soleless and soulless. That tragedy can easily be averted by purchasing a pair of well-made leather boots which will actually get stronger and more comfortable with each wearing. The family of craftspeople at Sons of Sandlar have been hand-crafting leather boots and footwear for over six generations so they know what they heck they are doing. All you have to do is secretly acquire your kilt friend’s boot size, then sit back and hear their shouts of joy after they tear open their Christmas present. Be forewarned, they’re going to want to go for a really long walk.

From Sons of Sandlar
$520

7. Deluxe Irish Sword and Shield Kilt Pin

For years I’ve been whining that kilt pins are made wrong. The flimsy pin clasps come unclasped far too often, resulting in the loss of a fine pin. This year I was discussing the flaw on the Life In A Kilt Podcast when I was contacted by someone at Stillwater Kilts informing me that they make their own kilt pins and they, coincidentally, make them exactly the way I have been saying for years that kilt pins should be made: with secure, locking “tie tack” pins. I decided to order one of their pins and put it to the test, expecting typical failure and disappointment. What I received in the mail was the best kilt pin I’ve ever owned! The locking clasps will never slip off accidentally and the two “tie tack-style” pins prevent thread-pull damage to my kilts that I always seem to get from the old style of kilt pins. I immediately ordered several more of these pins and I can assure you that your kilt person will love these as well. Even though the kilt pins come in a variety of jewel colors and metal tones, I’m looking forward to a wider variety of designs from Stillwater Kilts in the future. In the meantime, these are the only kilt pins I’ll ever wear.

From Stillwater Kilts
$10

8. Scotty Wallace Clan Tartan T-Shirt

A quick disclaimer: I’m a whore. That’s right, I’m using my own kilt Christmas gift list to hawk one of Life In A Kilt‘s own products. But, hey, I’d still mention Scotty Wallace even if he wasn’t one of ours. He’s cute. He’s sassy. He’s a kilt wearer. And this year we released a Scotty Wallace t-shirt design in dozens of different clan tartans. So whether you’re buying for an Anderson or an Urquhart, you can guarantee Scotty will match their kilt design while at the same time delivering a snarky wise-ass comment. It’s what Scotty does best. What else could a smart and stylish kilt wearer possibly want?

From Life In A Kilt Shop
$19.19 and up.

9. Pipe Band Style Kilt Hose

No one wants to get socks for Christmas. Except kilt wearers! We love them! It seems we never have enough kilt hose around the house and, even when we do, they always seem to be the wrong color. If it was only possible to have a pair in several different colors stashed away, our kilt accessory arsenal would be complete. Well, now it is not only possible but affordable with these piper-style kilt hose from J. Higgins. The mostly acrylic hose are available in extra small to extra large and feature a handsome double fold cuff for a thicker calf look. If you don’t know what that means, take my word for it. It’s what all of us kilt guys look for in kilt hose. It looks great and makes a secure band for our favorite sgian dubh. With such a low price, consider buying three or four pair in various colors to make your kilt person three or four times happier.

From J. Higgins
$22

10. Red Hot Chilli Pipers Music

Everyone thinks all kilt wearers play bagpipes. We don’t. In fact, we don’t all even like bagpipes. But it’s a documented fact that all kilt wearers like good music and we all like bagpipes if they are part of good music. It’s true. If you don’t believe me, stuff your kilt dude’s (or dudette’s) stocking with a CD from kilted bagpipe players of good music, Red Hot Chilli Pipers! No doubt you’ve heard of these guys or seen their unforgettable performances on television. They do bagpipes like no one else. They call their music “Bagpipes with attitude, drums with a Scottish accent and a show so hot it carries its own health warning.” In fact, if you develop medical issues while listening to them, I prescribe CPR. That’s “Chilli Piper Resuscitation.”

From Red Hot Chilli Pipers
$10

11. Salty Dog Cruise With Flogging Molly

ATTENTION: Sailing the sea, kilted, with one of the greatest Irish/American rock bands ever to exist might possibly be the best Christmas gift in the history of Christmas gifts! Seriously! And if you’re willing to give a Christmas gift with a few months delay in the payoff, Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog Cruise is your opportunity to give your kiltie the best Christmas gift they will ever receive in their life! 20 bands, including Flogging Molly, will gather for a 3 day cruise in April aboard the luxurious Norwegian Sky. Your cruise cost includes food, beverages, a free open bar, all concerts and ship amenities. The cruise will depart from Miami and stop in key West and Great Stirrup Cay and will be leaving your kilted butt behind if you don’t hurry up and make reservations. Don’t forget sunscreen and your sunglasses to protect your eyes from going skinblind from all the glowing white Celt skin frolicking in the sun.

From Flogging Molly Cruise
$799 per person. Prices may change. Call 215-663-8800 for availability and restrictions.

12. Tartan County Cap

Help keep your kilt wearer’s noggin toasty and protected with a stylish tartan cap from the world-famous Scottish Tartan Museum. The “country cap” style of hat is very popular today, especially with kilt wearers but they’re also the perfect way to show off your clan tartan on non-kilt days. In fact, a cap like this might be the perfect starter garment for the curious non-kilt wearer. Once they get a taste of tartan-wearing on their heed, they’re bound to want to wrap the fèileadh around their lower regions. These are perfect gifts for kilt aficionados of all ages, sexes and nationalities. Sorry, not recommended for the headless.

From Scottish Tartans Museum
$49.95

13. Tushy Classic

Let’s be honest, there are battalions of men out there wearing their kilts “regimental.” As the saying goes, “It’s a kilt. If I wore something under it then it would be a skirt.” Whether it’s proper kilt wearing etiquette or not, the reality is, few of us would be very comfortable taking a seat exactly where a “proper” kilted gentleman was just sitting. Am I right? Regarding cleanliness and hygiene, none of us want to take a chance that the previous occupant of our pub seat is unfortunately terrible with TP technique. So, to ensure your own kilted buddy is guaranteed “squeaky clean,” why not give him or her a classic bidet attachment by Tushy? But don’t just take my word for it, the Tushy website says it best: “The TUSHY White and Silver Classic fits your bathroom with a sleek timeless look for the classiest poops you’ve ever had. Our classic bidet attachment washes your bum with a refreshing stream of clean water after you poop.” Yep. That’s what it does all right. And confession time. I bought one of these and it may be one of my most favorite purchases ever. In fact, I love it so much I just bought another one for my second bathroom. It’s that good. It’s easy to hook up and easy to use and… all right, yes, damnit, it’s FUN to use as well! AND it has a price that won’t wipe you out. Yes, I said it. Sorry.

From Tushy
$69

14. Women’s Poly Viscose Mini Kilt

Men seem to get all of the best kilt gifts but at Life In A Kilt we’re always looking out for the ladies too. Often it can be difficult to find the perfect kilt for your favorite women friends and family. Men’s kilts may be too long or too bulky for them and some women’s kilts are so short they could double as a beer can koozy. USA Kilts offers a modern, fashionable tartan kilt for women that still keeps some aspects of a traditional kilt. It’s made with machine washable 11 – 12oz weight poly viscose and available in a multiple selection of tartans. Whether your woman friend would like to celebrate her own Scottish heritage or simply show her support by matching your family tartan, receiving her own kilt would be a perfect Christmas gift.

From USA Kilts
$95

15. Custom Sgian Dubh

Face it, most sgian dubh are crap. I have a half dozen of them right now that couldn’t stab pudding. If I was ever attacked by someone with the intent of doing me major bodily harm, the best I could possibly manage with one of my sgian dubh is open a letter from the local sheriff telling the offender to back off. Assuming the letter was wet. How the Scottish “black knife” devolved from a deadly weapon to an object that could be defeated by a fourth grader with a butter knife is a mystery but it doesn’t have to be that way. In ancient times, sgian dubh were custom forged by skilled blacksmiths or weapon specialists. One edge was lethally sharpened while the handle was hand-carved from wood, bone or stag horns. Rab Gordon of Rannea Studio still makes sgian dubh this way, each one a work of art in itself. Rab’s Sgian Dubhs have their own unique character and identity with their own individual serial number. Many are commissioned as heirlooms to be passed on to the next generation. It’s an heirloom that also instills pride, security, protection and style making one of Rannea Studio’s sgain dubh an exceptional holiday gift.

From Rainnea Studio
Contact for pricing.

16. Haggis

I’m vegetarian but this year at a Burns Supper I decided to try a little bit of haggis. It was the first meat I’d eaten in almost 25 years but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity when it presented itself to me. I’ve always been curious about what it tastes like. And honestly? It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I certainly didn’t think it deserves the bad reputation it gets from the non haggis eaters. I don’t have plans to eat more of it soon but I think if I did ever found myself eating meat again, I would have no problem piling haggis on to my plate. It’s especially tasty with “tatties” (“potatoes” for you non haggis eaters). If your own Scottish meat eater has never tried haggis, why not give a gift of haggis from McKean’s, haggis makers since 1850. Their carefully blended recipe uses only the finest Scottish oats, accompanied with their secret mix of herbs and spices. It’s a tasty gift your friends are guaranteed not to receive from anyone else and it may, just possibly, bump the Christmas turkey or ham right off this year’s holiday table.

From McKean’s
From £24.00

17. Scottish Beer Gift Set

Every year I run across more than one person on my gift list so difficult to buy presents for, I wish I could just buy them beer and call it done. Well, thanks to Spirited Gifts’ Scottish Beer 12 pack Gift Set I can now do that very thing while still looking classy and honoring my giftee’s cultural ancestry. According to Spirited Gifts, the Celtic tradition of beer has been produced in Scotland for approximately 5,000 years. The Scots like their beer strong and heavy and these beers were aptly nicknamed “Wee Heavies.” Scottish ales are generally dark, malty, full-bodied brews and many have a hint of smokiness derived from the use of peated malt. The Scottish Beer Gift Set includes a sampler of the best that Scotland has to offer so send your favorite Scot on a taste trip to the motherland even while they sit on their couch in their underwear.

From Spirited Gifts
From $120

A Scotch Primer

For those kilties who just received their first bottle of Glenfiddich or Oban, but don’t know their single malt from their blended malt, Life in a Kilt Magazine is here to help. We invited Ken Klehm, Asheville-based distiller, to share his insight and expertise to those looking for their first initiation into the world of scotch whisky – what to look for, how it should taste and why people love the stuff so damned much.

scotch

Photo © Shaiith | Dreamstime

 

“Scotch. . . Scotchity scotch scotch.” —Ron Burgundy

A primer on scotch whisky is a subject that should be discussed with a glass of the beautiful stuff in hand. I suggest you pour yourself an ounce or two into a glass and follow along. I will admit to having a bit of Highland Park (a personal favorite in the “affordable” single malt category) next to me at the moment.

Because the world of spirits is a complex one with few simple answers and a lot of secrets (and also because I do have whisky in hand), you should not take what I write as the whole truth. This is a subject that could fill tomes and take hours of discussion, preferably with a fireplace and dog along with the subject under discussion. Got your glass ready? GREAT, lets go!

But first, a vocabulary lesson

kilt and scotch

Photo © Photowitch | Dreamstime

Whisky is a spirit that is made from grain that isn’t distilled to vodka purity. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland and generally made in one style. The keen observer will note the spelling – the “e” that is used for most American whiskeys isn’t used with scotch. One can make a whisky in the style of scotch in Paducah, but it isn’t scotch (even though it tastes like it).

So what do I mean by “in the style of scotch?” Every style of whisk(e)y has a distinct recipe of different grains and proportions. Scotch is usually made with 100 percent seated malt. In comparison, bourbon has to be at least 51 percent corn with malt, rye and wheat making up the balance.

Oh right, malt. Another boring definition incoming. Malt is barley that has been force-germinated, then stopped a few days later by being heated in a kiln, or in the case of scotch, over a peat fire. Here’s another: Peat is a compacted mass of old vegetation cut into block from the ground of a peat bog. This peat is the real distinct flavor that makes one think “mmm, scotch.”

There are other things that make the flavors in scotch. The type, shape and the material that the still is made of are all factors that vary greatly between distilleries. Each distillery will use their preferred yeast strain.

Then there is the aging. This is where things get really good.

The type of barrel the whisky is aged in is usually used bourbon barrels, but sherry, Madeira, port and even rum barrels are put into service to add nuance as the scotch ages. While older isn’t always better, it does usually mean more expensive.

For example, the Highland Park I am sipping on says it is 12 years old on the label. What that actually means is that the YOUNGEST whisky in the bottle is 12 years old. Every bottle is a blend of many barrels to make a unified flavor profile as determined by the extremely well-trained palates of the distillers and blenders, so that every bottle tastes like one expects it to taste.

This is where I have to make a confession. I came to scotch later in life. I was a bourbon lover from before I was legally able to drink as anyone who went to that weird kid college with me will remember. Scotch tasted like smoke and Band-aids to me. It still does, but now I like those flavors. When I started working in bars and had the opportunity to taste a whole bunch of different spirits (and even good scotches), I still didn’t like them. Except when I had a cold. Then scotch was wonderful. Slowly, I started liking them more and more. More than a decade later, I keep half a dozen bottles on the cabinet at all times, and frequently enjoy some with the lovely lady friend.

If you are new to scotch, don’t go spending $100 on a peat-bomb, single malt; start off less expensive and blended. Wait, single malt? Blended? What does that mean?

Lesson 2: Single vs. blended

A single malt whisky is the product of one distillery, where it is distilled and aged. Even though it is a mix of many barrels, a single malt whisky is all made in the same place, the same way. Blended scotches are made up of a few different distilleries’ product to make that whisky’s flavor profile. Please don’t believe that blended whiskys are inferior to single malts. That isn’t the case – although I have never had a single malt that was on the same quality of the Old Smuggler I “enjoyed” out of a plastic canteen on my 23rd birthday. Ask any scotch lover who has been lucky enough to sample Johnny Walker Blue Label; it is as lovely as some of the finest single malts.

Geographic regions: No there won’t be a test later

If you choose to get into drinking the single malts, there are six regions of scotch making that have their own characteristics.

Highland
The largest area of scotch production and therefore the most diverse. The northern Highlands give the world a heavier bodied and spicy whisky, while as one heads south, the product gets lighter and fruitier.
Examples: Oban, Dalwhinnie, Edradour

Low Land
South of the Highlands, it makes the lightest whisky of the six regions.
Examples: Glenkinchie, Rosebank

Speyside
This is where the highly peated and most complex scotches originate. Although it is geographically small, it has the most distilleries.
Examples: The Balvenie, The McAllen

Island
Between Highlands and Speyside in flavor, the sea winds that whip across these sparsely vegetated places adds a bit of salt to the flavor.
Examples: Isle of Jura, Talisker

Campbeltown
Saltier than the Island scotches and almost as peaty as Speyside. There are only a few distilleries in this area.
Examples: Springbank, Longbow

Islay
If you start enjoying scotch from the Islay area, you have gotten your advanced degree. The heavily peated and very briny whiskies that are made here are not for the first time drinker, but are made to be savored.
Examples: Ardbeg, Lagavullin

Well my glass is dry, so I’m going to refill. Don’t be scared of scotch, try many and find one or more that you like, and go from there.

Ken Klehm

Ken Klehm

Ken Klehm has a degree in brewing, fermentation, and distillation, has frequently been called “The godfather of the Asheville NC craft cocktail scene,” rides a British motorcycle, is an avid pinhole photographer and plays bass in a band accurately named Crappie.

The Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun

Flickr: mobilhomme / Via Creative Commons

  • 2 oz. Islay or other peaty scotch
  • 3/4 tsp. Fernet Branca
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar cordial (see below)
  • 2 dashes Fee Bros. whiskey barrel-aged bitters

Stir all ingredients and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Brown sugar cordial: Heat 2 parts brown sugar and 1 part water until sugar is dissolved and solution has slightly thickened. Allow to cool and stir in an ounce of demerara rum per every 10 ounces of syrup.

— Recipe at Imbibe

Rob Roy

Rob Roy

Flickr: preppybyday / Via Creative Commons

  • 1 1/2 ounces Scotch
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters to taste
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

— Recipe at About.com

Godfather

Godfather

Via en.wikipedia.org

  • 1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky
  • 3/4 oz amaretto almond liqueur

Pour ingredients into an old-fashioned glass over ice and serve.

— Recipe at Drinks Mixer

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