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We’ve held off just about as long as we could, but the number of sleeps ‘til Christmas is ticking away rapidly and we want to shout about our festive joy. As is traditional in these situations, we are going to call on the whole Hungarian nation, the father of modern astronomy and an ancient Chinese philosopher to help us…



Sun Tzu was misunderstood; he was a lover, not a fighter. His first work, The Art of Christmas Shopping, was vastly overshadowed by the popularity of his later treatise; the Art of War. What many don’t realise is that the former was the inspiration for the latter. In The Art of War he said “The way of war is a way of deception. When deploying troops, appear not to be.” However, the original wording stemmed from his love of covert gift buying, as described in his first publication: “The way of Christmas Shopping is a way of deception. When shopping, do so online so as to appear not to be.” Both pieces of writing state that “Excessive rewards are a sign of desperation”, i.e. you must be cunning with your shopping, spend wisely. We’re pretty sure that, if we hadn’t made all this up, Sun Tzu would have loved shopping at Oddbins. We have followed his teaching and carefully planned our strategy: loads of giftslittle gifts, big gifts, all kinds of gift packaging, corporate gifts that can be sent to lots of different destinations, personal gift messages and a simply fantastic range of wines, spirits and fizz. As Sun Tzu famously never said: “know when to shop and when not to shop”, now is the time to shop friends.



Not sure we’ve accredited that quote correctly, but we’ve already tried to claim that a Chinese military general who lived around 500 BC liked Christmas shopping, so in for a penny, in for a pound. What do you get if you fill an Oddbins warehouse with a deep, dark loch, a tumultuous whirlpool, a ferocious reptile, a dead Italian physicist and a whole load of really potent ten year olds? A health and safety nightmare? Sordid tabloid allegations? The gentle knock of a Police battering ram? Well, the answer would probably be “all of the above”, if we weren’t talking specifically about Ardbeg whiskies. We love the Uigeadail (that’s the mysterious loch), Corryvreckan (that’s the whirlpool) and classic Ardbeg 10 Year Old (that’s the… oh you get it) so much, we’ve added two newbies to the range: the Alligator and the Galileo. These are extremely limited releases, most retailers sold out long ago, but we’ve managed to secure a few just for you. If you want to find out more about our new reptilian and astronomical friends, or just crack on and buy one of these Islay delights before they all gone, just follow the links to our website or browse all our whiskies here.



That’s “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” in Hungarian. To be honest, there are so many accents and unusual vowel/consonant combos; it looks like the sentence above has tumbled into the one you are endeavouring to read. If you fancy a real challenge, try saying it, you have less than a month to nail it. If you fancy something Hungarian that’s a little easier on the tongue, try some glorious sweet Tokaji. There are few wines made with so much love. It’s so good a member of the French royalty described it as “the king of wines and the wine of kings”, it was the first wine to be protected by law, it features in the Hungarian national anthem (please note: God Save the Queen does not bestow the virtues of Carling) and the Hungarians drink it at celebrations instead of Champagne. The Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from Château Pajzos (pronounced “pie-zosh”) tastes like the festive period should: gloriously rich and syrupy with raisins, dried apricots, toffee, spices, marmalade and honey flavours. It’s the perfect partner to your Christmas pudding, mince pies or cheeseboard, or go crazy and drink it in celebration like the mighty Magyar: “Egészségedre!” (that’s "cheers" BTW).

That’s all from us, but before we go, just remember that we love you (and we mean it properly, not in the gyrating-hips "Prince" kind of way).