Fancy gift decanters filled with alcohol were the go-to Christmas gifts in the 50s & 60s

Vintage holiday gift decanters from the 1950s

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That Mad Men vibe: Collectible gift decanters were all the rage in the 1950s

In the 50s — plus a bit before and a bit after — special edition holiday gift decanters were incredibly popular Christmas presents.

Filled with name-brand liquors, these limited-run glass decanters were usually available only in November and December of each year, and many new collectible versions were released annually.

Some booze brands took the concept the extra mile, and instead of merely offering a storage device, their decanters were multi-purpose.

For example, the Old Fitzgerald Candlelight decanters had specially-made tops and jiggers, so those bottles could become candleholders when the bourbon was gone. 

In 1955, Schenley Canadian Whisky came in a cocktail shaker, and in 1958, IW Harper’s whiskey followed with a similar concept in a different shape.

Then, as you can see below, Calvert Reserve kicked things up a notch with the ultimate “Holiday Host” decanter with a bonus that just perfectly suited the era.

But when it comes to the ultimate multi-use gift decanter, one absolutely stands apart from all the rest: the Jim Beam decanter that became the magnificent I Dream of Jeannie bottle. (Get the story and see it up close here!)

Jeannie next to her bottle

Schenley Reserve decorative gift decanter (1953)

Schenley Reserve decorative gift decanter (1953)


Old Charter fancy heirloom gift decanter (1953)

Perhaps the subtlest compliment you can pay a friend is a gift of Old Charter. The simple act of giving says, in effect: “I know you are a man who can appreciate the ultimate in fine whiskey. And here it is.”

Old Charter is available in a magnificent “heirloom” decanter at no extra cost. Designed in a superb “Greek-Classic” style, it will be treasured as a keepsake even after che last drop of Old Charter has been enjoyed.

Superior from the start, Old Charter is ripened to magnificence by seven slumbrous years aging in the cask. Try it yourself. You’ll see.

Old Charter fancy gift decanter (1953)


Vintage glass Kentucky Tavern gift decanter (1953)

Vintage glass Kentucky Tavern gift decanter (1953)


Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter (1953)

Your key to gracious giving… The Diamond Decanter.

Here, in Fitzgerald’s classic Distinguished Diamond Decanter — crystal capped and laced with 24 karat gold — is a bourbon flavor unique. Old-fashioned with all the oak-ripened richness of our costly original sour mash recipe… to bring you the best for gift or guest!

Superior from the start, Old Charter is ripened to magnificence by seven slumbrous years aging in the cask. Try it yourself. You’ll see.

DON’T MISS: 50+ vintage ’60s drink recipes & how people would toast in the Madmen era

Old Fitzgerald diamond decanter (1953)


Walker’s Deluxe bourbon in Christmas decanter (1953)

A gift of Walker’s DeLuxe carries with it a great compliment. For this is Hiram Walker’s finest straight bourbon — 6 years old, 90.4 proof — a truly elegant whiskey. And now its elegance is accented by the handsome new Hospitality Decanter. May we suggest Walker’s DeLuxe in its new Decanter for your own entertaining as well?

Walker's Deluxe bourbon in Christmas decanter (1953)


Schenley Canadian Whisky cocktail shaker decanter (1955)

Schenley Canadian Whisky cocktail shaker decanter (1955)


50s Old Forester bourbon whisky decanter (1955)

50s Old Forester bourbon whisky decanter (1955)


Vintage Ancient Age bourbon holiday gift decanter bottle (1955)

Vintage Ancient Age bourbon holiday gift decanter bottle (1955)


Calvert Reserve — America’s smartest gift decanter (1955)

In creating this classic decanter, Russel Wright, the distinguished designer, has symbolized in its stunning simplicity and Howing form the superb smoothness and mellowness that make Calvert satisfy like no other whiskey.

So pay this compliment to the good taste of those you admire… give them Calvert… the most popular whiskey you can buy in a decanter this season. And at no extra cost.

Calvert Reserve - America's smartest gift decanter (1955)


Old Forester decanter (1955)

Old Forester decanter (1955)


Four Roses gift decanter (1955)

Four Roses gift decanter (1955)


Old Fitzgerald Candlelight decanters: The whiskey bottle that became a candleholder (1955)

Back in the ’50s, some Old Fitz whiskey bottles came with self-serving glass jiggers and removable golden candelabras — what they called the Old Fitzgerald Candlelight decanters.

Blended Bourbon by Stitzel-Weller… none finer to gladden the throat of man!

Decanter styled by the famous Walter Landor… to give high-fashion flair to an old-fashioned whiskey!

Both yours in this beautiful new decanter, endlessly versatile in its decorative after-uses, most likely to be appreciated by those hardest to please… the final choice of mature tastes.

Candlelight decanter costs no more than regular fifth… your key to hospitality

Genuine Old Fitzgerald candlelight decanter (Nov 1955)


Glenmore Distilleries holiday decanter shapes from 1955

Old Kentucky Tavern

Premium bonded Bourbon in a holiday decanter of classic splendor

For a sparklingly memorable gift, the same marvelous Old Kentucky Tavern that’s also sold in the regular bottle is available — at no extra cost — in a stunning Holiday Decanter with 22-carat Gold permanently fired-on-glass. Vigorous, velvety and full-flavored… its authentic sour-mash Botuled-in-Bond Bourbon of legendary quality. 100 Proof.

King’s Ransom

The finest, most luxurous Scotch in all the world

This master creation of the distiller’s art — King’s Ransom imported Scotch — has a “Round the World” fame for warmth and flavor that exceeds all others. To any friends who truly love fine Scotch, your gift of King’s Ransom will represent the highest possible tribute to their discriminating good taste. Blended Scotch Whisky, 94 Proof.

Glenmore

Mild, straight Bourbon in a gift decanter of distinctive beauty

Wonderful Glenmore Bourbon in the handsome Gold-topped Holiday Decanter — at no extra cost — will make an imaginative and taste- ful gift selection for almost anyone you know. It’s the same genuine Kentucky Straight Bourbon that’s also sold in the regular Glenmore bottle — a perfect combination of cherished sour-mash flavor and a delightful lightness of quality. 86 or 90 Proof.

Glenmore Distilleries holiday decanter shapes from 1955 (2)

Glenmore Distilleries holiday decanter shapes from 1955 (1)


Schenley vintage holiday decanter (1955)

Schenley vintage holiday decanter (1955)


Schenley decanter gift (1956)

Schenley decanter gift (1956)


Old Fitzgerald in the twin Candlelight decanter (1956)

With self-serving glass jigger and removable golden candelabra

The best of the new… in Walter Landor’s inspired new design, a decorator’s delight! 

The best of the old.. in the unique flavor of Bonded OLD FITZ, oak-ripened the original Kentucky sour mash way. Buy it, give it, serve it, with satisfaction.

Old Fitzgerald in the new twin Candlelight decanter (October 1956)

NOW SEE THIS: 50+ vintage ’60s drink recipes & how people would toast in the Madmen era


Smirnoff vodka in the vintage Pinnacle Decanter (1957) 

Most princely gifts are costly. But this one isn’t. In giving Smirnoff, you are giving in the royal tradition.

For Smirnoff was the only vodka served in the imperial households of three generations of the Czars. Everything in its history — and everything in the bottle — makes it the one vodka for you.

This year, give The Pinnacte — the gift that tops them all.

Smirnoff vodka in the vintage Pinnacle Decanter (1957)


Seagram’s Golden Gun martini master bottles (1958)

Seagram's Golden Gun martini master bottles (1958)


Calvert in the Holiday Host decanter with cigarette holder (1958)

The 4-way gift at no extra cost!

Calvert reserves comes boxed and wrapped for the holidays in brilliant glittering foil and ribbon. It’s ready to go right under the tree the moment you buy it. The work is done. All you have to do is sign the attached card.

The Holiday Host decanter! Designed for the festive holiday mood, this gold-crested decanter fits your hand perfectly, pours easily, delights the eye. All printed matter is on the easily-removed paper label … comes off in just “half second.”

Decanter top has many practical uses! The golden-hued “Holiday Host” Decanter top makes a truly handsome cigarette barrel. You’ll find it handy, too, for holding peanuts and candy… jewelry… paper clips… matches… pencils and pens… all sorts of odds and ends.

Best of all — the whiskey is Calvert! The luxurious decanter holds a full fifth of exactly the same “touch of genius” blend you get in Calvert all year ’round. Smart to give, flattering to receive… it’s the gift of the year!

Calvert in the Holiday Host decanter with cigarette holder (1958)


IW Harper’s whiskey in centerpiece decanter cocktail shaker (1958)

IW Harper's whiskey in cocktail shaker (1958)


Walker’s DeLuxe Gold Tower Decanter (1958) 

When you give Walker’s DeLuxe, you’re giving Hiram Walker’s choicest straight bourbon whiskey — 7 years smooth, 90.4 proof, elegant in taste. And such an elegant way to give it!

The Gold Tower Decanter is wrapped in glittering foil, tied with ribbon and topped off with a big, bright bow. The decanter and gift wrapping are so distinctive they have received this year’s Fashion Academy Award, Walker’s DeLuxe — ready to give at no extra cost.

Walker's DeLuxe Gold Tower Decanter (1958)

MORE: How to make 30 classic cocktails & drinks (1946)


Vintage Ancient Age bourbon holiday gift decanter bottle (1958)

Vintage Ancient Age bourbon holiday gift decanter bottle (1958)


Four Roses gift decanter (1958)

Behold! The perfect gift decanter for Four Roses

This gift decanter will be treasured, poured with pride for many Christmases to come. So squarely handsome with its diamond point crystal — it’s the only quart decanter of the season.

Inside is the traditional Christmas-time favorite — mellow, bright Four Roses. A full quart of perfection at regular quart price.

ALSO SEE: Look back at vintage California wines from the 40s & 50s

Four Roses gift decanter (1958)


Seagram’s VO glass decanter (1958)

Seagram's VO glass decanter (1958)


Old Grand Dad classic decanter (1958)

Old Grand Dad classic decanter (1958)


IW Harper – the Master’s Decanter with gold medallion and top (1958)

IW Harper - the Master's Decanter with gold medallion and top (1958)


Walker’s DeLuxe in clear glass buffet decanter (1958)

Walker's DeLuxe in clear glass buffet decanter (1958)

ALSO SEE: 16 fruity, boozy classic cordial & liqueur recipes


Old Fitzgerald whiskey in Hospitality Decanter for the holidays (1958) 

For hospitality’s finest hours

Party of four — or the Four Hundred — no other whiskey says so much about your brand of hospitality. None so well demonstrates your good taste as the unique, oak-ripened flavor of Fitzgerald.

Let the classic elegance of the new Hospitality Decanter provide you a holiday key to gracious living, gracious giving… with the memorable character of Bonded Old Fitzgerald.

Old Fitzgerald whiskey in Hospitality Decanter for the holidays (1958)


Vintage 60s Jim Beam Wedgewood blue decorative Olympian decanter (1960)

Vintage 60s Jim Beam Wedgewood blue decorative Olympian decanter (1960)


Vintage 60s Jim Beam bowling pin bottle decanter (1960)

Vintage 60s Jim Beam bowling pin bottle decanter (1960)


Old Taylor Kentucky bourbon decanter with large glass stopper top (1960)

The gift of taste and elegance

Among Kentucky bourbon whiskies, the taste of Old Taylor makes it stand without a peer. This year you may give light and mild Old Taylor 86 proof in this beautiful gift decanter — a full 4/5 quart — handsomely gift-wrapped for your convenience. Or you may choose between familiar botues of Old Taylor 86 proof and bottled in bond 100 proof festively wrapped for giving.

Old Taylor Kentucky bourbon decanter with large glass stopper top (1960)


Vintage Seagrams 7 Crown holiday gift decanter (1960)

Vintage Seagrams 7 Crown holiday gift decanter (1960)


Walker’s DeLuxe bourbon in a classic decanter with medallion (1960)

Uncommonly elegant gift: 8-year-old Walker’s DeLuxe bourbon in a classic decanter with medallion. Decanter expressly designed by Belgium’s famed Cristalleries du Val-Saint-Lambert. Handsomely gift-wrapped, of course.

Walker's DeLuxe bourbon in a classic decanter with medallion (1960)


Olympian decanter by Four Roses whiskey (1960)

Olympian decanter by Four Roses whiskey (1960)

NOW SEE THIS: 17 old-fashioned hot punch recipes for the holidays to warm your winter – including traditional wassail

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