20 Best Sipping Whiskeys: Top-Notch Options

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Whiskey is a beloved spirit worldwide, with a history dating back centuries. Each whiskey-producing region has unique methods, flavor profiles, and aging processes, making it a fascinating drink to explore and enjoy.

Whiskey is a versatile drink you can enjoy neat, on the rocks, or as an ingredient in many classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour.

Sipping whiskey is about taking your time, paying close attention to the aroma, taste, and aftertaste, and allowing yourself to fully immerse in the experience.

Let’s learn more about sipping whiskey and review some of the best sipping whiskey in the world.

Also check: 15 Best Sipping Whiskey for Beginners

20 Best Sipping Whiskey You Must Try!

Sipping whiskey isn’t just about getting drunk but enjoying the spirit in its purest form. For whiskey lovers, sipping fine whiskey is a true pleasure.

It’s a way to appreciate the craftsmanship and care that goes into making a high-quality spirit. If you’re one of them, here’s a list of the greatest sipping whiskey you must try.

More: 20 Best Whiskeys To Drink Straight 

1. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is a highly sought-after and well-regarded bourbon whiskey.

It’s made by the distillery Old Rip Van Winkle in Louisville, Kentucky, now run by Julian Van Winkle III. The whiskey is made from a mash bill of corn, wheat, and barley and aged for 23 years.

The Van Winkle family has a long history in the whiskey industry, and the Pappy Van Winkle brand has built a reputation for producing some of the best bourbons on the market.

The 23-year-old expression is particularly highly-regarded among whiskey enthusiasts. The flavor profile of this drink is complex, with notes of caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and a hint of spice.

The long aging process results in a smooth and well-rounded whiskey.

It’s ideal for sipping neat or on the rocks. It’s known for its rich, complex, and well-balanced profile, making it a favorite among bourbon connoisseurs.

Due to the popularity of this whiskey, it’s considered rare and hard to find.

The production of this whiskey is limited every year, and it’s mostly distributed through lottery systems or high price tags, It can be difficult to find, and it can command high prices.

This whiskey is a true representation of high-end and premium bourbon. If you have the opportunity to try it, it’s definitely worth the experience.

2. Macallan 1946

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Macallan 1946 is a highly sought-after single-malt Scotch whisky distilled in 1946 and bottled decades later. It was made at The Macallan distillery in Scotland’s Speyside region.

The Macallan 1946 is made from malted barley sourced from the local area. The barley is dried using peat smoke, which gives the whisky its distinct smoky flavor.

The Macallan 1946 is aged for a very long time in oak barrels, which imparts complex flavors of wood, vanilla, and caramel to the whisky.

The Macallan 1946 is considered one of the world’s greatest and most sought-after whiskies. It has a rich and complex flavor profile, with notes of dried fruit, dark chocolate, and spice. It’s smooth and full-bodied, with a long, warm finish.

As the whiskey is extremely rare, most of the remaining bottles are owned by collectors and are unlikely to be found in regular retail or bars. Also, due to its age and rarity, a bottle of Macallan 1946 can be quite expensive, as it’s considered a luxury product.

Due to its rarity and price, it’s generally considered a luxury product meant for special occasions or to be collected as an investment.

More: 20 Top Shelf Whiskey Brands

3. Dalmore 62

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Dalmore 62 is a limited-edition single malt Scotch whisky from The Dalmore Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. It’s considered one of the most expensive and rarest whiskies in the world, with only 12 bottles produced.

The whisky was created by Master Distiller Richard Paterson and was first released in 2002. It’s a blend of spirits aged between 40 and 65 years and is matured in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks.

The final product is then bottled in a hand-crafted crystal decanter, with each bottle being individually numbered.

The Dalmore 62 has received high praise from whisky critics, who have noted its complex flavor profile, with notes of tropical fruit, orange marmalade, dark chocolate, and spice.

Due to its rarity and high cost, the Dalmore 62 is often sought after by collectors and connoisseurs of fine whisky. 

4. Glenfiddich 1937

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Glenfiddich 1937 is a highly sought-after and extremely rare single-malt Scotch whisky from the Glenfiddich Distillery. It’s considered one of the oldest and most valuable whiskies in the world, with only 61 bottles produced.

The whisky was distilled in 1937 and aged for over 60 years in oak casks before being bottled. It was first released in 1997 to celebrate the distillery’s centenary.

As a very old whisky, it’s said to have a complex and rich flavor profile, with notes of dried fruit, toffee, and spices, as well as a smooth and velvety texture. Critics have highly praised it for its balance and depth of flavor.

The Glenfiddich 1937 is extremely rare and expensive, with bottles selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. It’s considered a true collector’s item and is prized by whisky enthusiasts for its age and rarity.

Due to this, finding a bottle available for purchase is highly unlikely, and even if you do, it will be sold at an extremely high cost. You may have to check at a luxury auction to find the bottle.

5. Lagavulin 37-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Lagavulin 37-Year-Old is a highly sought-after and rare single malt Scotch whisky from the Lagavulin Distillery, located on the Isle of Islay in Scotland.

It’s considered one of the oldest and most valuable whiskies in the world and has received high praise from whisky critics for its complexity and depth of flavor.

The Lagavulin 37-Year-Old was distilled in 1973 and aged 37 years in oak casks before being bottled.

The whisky is known for its intense peat smoke flavor, with notes of seaweed, iodine, and salty sea spray, as well as a rich and robust texture. The long aging process in the oak casks gives the whisky a balance of flavors with a hint of sweetness, dried fruit, and spices.

Due to its age and rarity, the Lagavulin 37-Year-Old is considered a collector’s item and is highly sought after by whisky enthusiasts.

As a limited edition, it’s hard to find a bottle available for purchase. And if you do, it will likely be sold at a high cost. You may have to check at a luxury auction to find the bottle.

6. Springbank 1919

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Springbank 1919 is a highly sought-after and extremely rare single-malt Scotch whisky from the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland.

The whisky is considered one of the oldest and most valuable whiskies in the world, with only 600 bottles produced.

The whisky was distilled in 1919 and was aged for over 80 years in oak casks before being bottled. It was first released in 1999 to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary.

As an old whisky, it’s said to have a complex and rich flavor profile, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, toffee, and spices, as well as a smooth and velvety texture.

Critics have highly praised it for its balance, depth of flavor, and unique taste.

Due to its age and rarity, the Springbank 1919 is extremely expensive and highly sought after by whisky enthusiasts and collectors.

The bottles are usually sold at high prices at auctions or private sales.

7. Suntory Yamazaki 50-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Suntory Yamazaki 50-Year-Old is an incredibly rare and highly sought-after Japanese whiskey. It’s considered one of the finest and most exclusive whiskeys in the world and is produced by the Suntory distillery in Japan.

The whiskey is made from malted barley and distilled in small batches using traditional methods.

It’s then aged 50 years in oak barrels, giving it a complex and rich flavor profile. The whiskey is said to have notes of dried fruit, nuts, and spices, with a long, smooth finish.

Due to its age and exclusivity, Suntory Yamazaki 50-Year-Old is very expensive and difficult to find.

It’s typically only available for purchase through select retailers or at auction. Only a very limited number of bottles are produced each year, making it a highly collectible item.

8. Old Fitzgerald Prime Stitzel-Weller Wheated Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Old Fitzgerald is a brand of bourbon whiskey distilled and aged at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

The whiskey is known for being made from a mash bill that includes a significant proportion of wheat in addition to the typical corn and barley; this gives the drink a smooth, mellow flavor with a slightly sweet finish.

Old Fitzgerald Prime is a premium, limited-edition expression of the Old Fitzgerald brand. It’s typically aged for at least 12 years, which imparts a rich, complex flavor profile to the whiskey.

The Stitzel-Weller distillery, where Old Fitzgerald is distilled, is also historically significant. It was originally opened in 1935 by Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle and his partners.

It was one of the last remaining independent distilleries in Kentucky before it was sold to a larger company in 1972.

The whiskey is now produced by Heaven Hill Brands. They release limited edition bottles of the prime each year.

They’re very sought after and highly rated by experts. They’re hard to come by and expensive but are considered one of the best bourbons on the market.

9. A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old is a limited-edition, straight bourbon whiskey distilled at the Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania.

The whiskey is aged 16 years, which gives it a rich, complex flavor profile.

A.H. Hirsch Reserve is named after Andrew H. Hirsch, who was the last owner of the Michter’s Distillery before it closed in 1989.

The brand and its remaining stocks of aged whiskey were purchased by a company and bottled under the A.H. Hirsch brand. 

Bourbon enthusiasts and collectors have praised the whiskey because it’s a very old straight bourbon.

It’s made from a mash bill of at least 51% corn and aged for a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels.

The 16-year-old release was one of the most popular due to its complex and mature flavor profile.

It was discontinued a few years ago and becoming rare, so it’s difficult to find a bottle of A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-Year-Old today, which commands a high price.

10. George T. Stagg

 

 
 
 
 
 
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George T. Stagg is a brand of bourbon whiskey produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

It’s part of the distillery’s “Antique Collection” of bourbons, which are released once a year and are known for their high alcohol content and limited availability. The whiskey is aged for around 15 years in oak barrels before bottling.

George T. Stagg is often considered one of the best bourbons in the world, and it has won numerous awards and accolades from whiskey experts and enthusiasts.

The whiskey is known for its rich, complex flavor, with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

Because of the limited availability and high demand, bottles of George T. Stagg can be difficult to find, and they can command high prices on the secondary market.

It’s named after George T. Stagg, who was once a distiller and owner of the old Stagg Distillery.

He was one of the pioneers of the Bourbon industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, known for producing high-quality whiskey at his distillery.

11. Willett Family Estate 20-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Willett Family Estate 20-Year-Old is a bourbon whiskey produced by the Willett Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.

It’s a limited release, with only a small number of bottles produced each year. As the name implies, the whiskey is aged for 20 years in oak barrels before bottling, giving it a rich, complex flavor profile.

Willett Family Estate 20-Year-Old is part of the Willett Distillery’s “Family Estate” line of bourbons made from whiskey aged on the distillery’s property.

So, the whiskey is aged in barrels stored in the distillery’s own rickhouses, allowing the distillers to closely monitor the aging process and ensure the highest quality product.

The whiskey is known for its deep, rich flavor, with caramel, vanilla, and dark fruit notes. Some reviewers also detect hints of tobacco, leather, and a little bit of spice in the background.

Due to its limited release and aging time, it tends to be a rare and high-priced product.

12. Rittenhouse 21-Year-Old Bottled in Bond

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Rittenhouse 21-Year-Old Bottled in Bond is a type of whiskey produced by the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.

It’s a straight rye whiskey that has been aged for 21 years and bottled in bond, meaning that it was aged for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse and was bottled at 100 proof.

Rittenhouse 21-Year-Old Bottled in Bond is a premium whiskey known for its complex flavor profile.

The aging process imparts dark chocolate, caramel, and spice flavors to the whiskey, balanced by the sweetness from the corn and barley used in the mash bill.

 It’s praised by critics and enthusiasts alike for the richness and depth that it offers. It’s a limited release and might be harder to find. However, it’s a great whiskey worth trying if you can get your hands on a bottle.

13. Blanton’s Original Single Barrel

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Blanton’s Original Single Barrel is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s known for being the first single-barrel bourbon to be marketed as such, and it’s aged for at least eight years.

The whiskey is named after Elmer T. Lee, a former distillery manager at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, where the whiskey is produced.

Blanton’s is bottled at 93 proof and has a rich, full-bodied taste with notes of vanilla, caramel, and honey. The whiskey is aged in new, charred oak barrels and is hand-bottled one barrel at a time.

Each bottle of Blanton’s Original Single Barrel is labeled with the specific barrel number from which the whiskey was drawn and the bottling date; this allows enthusiasts to trace the whiskey’s origins and compare different barrels from the same distillation.

Blanton’s is one of the most sought-after and well-respected bourbons on the market. Its combination of age, proof, and flavor profile make it a favorite among whiskey connoisseurs, and it’s often served neat or on the rocks. 

It has a very limited release worldwide, so many whiskey collectors and enthusiasts look for the bottles of Blantons and the collectible figurines featured on the bottle stopper.

14. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades is a high-end bourbon whiskey produced by the Wild Turkey distillery.

It’s a blend of bourbons aged at least 10, 12, and 15 years, bottled at a higher proof than most Wild Turkey expressions.

This whiskey is a limited release, as it comes from a small selection of barrels carefully chosen by the master distiller Eddie Russell, blended to create a rich and complex bourbon with a high level of maturity and refinement.

The whiskey has a warm, dark, amber color and is rich in aroma with caramel, vanilla, and spice notes. On the palate, it has a full-bodied and smooth flavor, a complex and rich sweetness, and a long and warming finish.

Master’s Keep Decades has received high praise and many awards, including a Gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a 95-point rating from Wine Enthusiast.

It’s a great whiskey for sipping neat or on the rocks and is often paired with cigars and after-dinner desserts.

Due to its high quality and reputation, the price of Master’s Keep Decades is usually higher than most other Wild Turkey expressions.

15. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel is a brand of bourbon whiskey produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

It’s named after Elmer T. Lee, who was a master distiller at the distillery for many years and is considered to be a legend in the bourbon industry.

The whiskey is made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley and is aged for at least nine years in new oak barrels. It’s then bottled at a strength of 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof).

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel is known for its smooth and rich flavor profile, with caramel, vanilla, and oak notes. It’s a sipping whiskey meant to be enjoyed neat or with a drop of water to open up the flavors.

Elmer T. Lee passed away in 2013. However, his whiskey brand still produced and honored his memory.

16. Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old is a bourbon whiskey produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The whiskey is aged for 17 years in charred American oak barrels, which imparts a rich, complex flavor profile. It’s bottled at a high-proof, typically around 90 (45% alcohol by volume).

Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old is known for its balanced flavor, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak on the palate, along with a hint of spice. Some drinkers also detect dark fruit notes, such as cherry or plum.

Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old is considered sipping whiskey, meant to be enjoyed neat or with a drop or two of water to open up the flavors. It has received numerous accolades and awards.

It’s a recipient of a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a Gold Medal at the World Whiskey Awards, and a Platinum Medal at the World Wine & Spirits Competition.

As with many highly aged bourbons, Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old is hard to find and expensive. However, it’s considered by many to be well worth the price.

17. Four Roses Single Barrel

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Four Roses Single Barrel is a bourbon whiskey produced by the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. 

The whiskey is made from a mash bill that consists of 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley and is aged for a minimum of nine years in newly charred oak barrels.

Four Roses Single Barrel uses two yeast strains to ferment the mash, resulting in four amazing bourbon recipes.

Each barrel of Four Roses Single Barrel is hand-selected by the master distiller, which ensures a high degree of consistency and quality.

The Four Roses Single Barrel has high proof and a rich, intense flavor profile. The whiskey has a sweet and spicy aroma and palate, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and dried fruits. The finish is long and warming, with a hint of spice.

Four Roses Single Barrel is considered a sipping whiskey, meant to be enjoyed neat or with a drop or two of water to open up the flavors.

The Four Roses Single Barrel has received numerous accolades, including a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a Double Gold Medal at the World Whiskey Awards.

It’s a highly respected bourbon and is considered one of the best values in the premium bourbon category.

18. Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is a bourbon whiskey produced by the distillery Old Rip Van Winkle in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

The whiskey is aged for 15 years in charred American oak barrels, which imparts a rich, complex flavor profile. It’s considered one of the most sought-after and highly-regarded bourbons on the market.

This whiskey is made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and barley and is bottled at a high proof, typically around 90.4 proof (45.2% alcohol by volume). 

The whiskey is known for its rich, luxurious flavor, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak on the palate, along with hints of dark fruit and a touch of spice. The finish is long and warming, with a hint of sweetness.

It’s considered a sipping whiskey, meant to be enjoyed neat or with a drop or two of water to open up the flavors. Moreover, it’s a limited release, and due to high demand and small batch production, it cannot be easy to find.

Because of this high demand, Pappy Van Winkle’s has been consistently named as one of the top bourbons in the world, achieving top scores and awards in various competitions.

This whiskey is highly sought after, but it can be difficult to find and tends to be quite expensive when it’s available. It’s a true connoisseur’s whiskey and is considered a luxury item. 

The Pappy Van Winkle’s line of bourbons has a high profile, and as such, it’s considered a collector’s item and a status symbol.

19. Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye is a highly-regarded whiskey produced by the Michter’s Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

The whiskey is made from a mash bill that includes at least 51% rye, corn, and malted barley.

It’s aged for a minimum of six years in charred new American oak barrels, giving it a unique flavor profile that is both spicy and sweet.

Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye is considered a “small batch” whiskey, meaning each bottle is from a specific barrel rather than being blended from many barrels.

This gives each bottle a distinct flavor profile, which can vary from barrel to barrel. The whiskey is bottled at barrel strength, ranging from around 114 to 120 proof, depending on the barrel.

This whiskey is highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts and has received numerous awards and accolades.

The whiskey’s high reputation and limited production often make prices steep. Some whiskey lovers know it as one of the best Rye whiskey available in the market.

It’s typically enjoyed neat or on the rocks, though it can also be used as a mixer in cocktails like the Manhattan.

If you ever get a chance to try a glass of Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye, it’s definitely worth the experience.

20. Rye Cask Strength from Michter’s Distillery

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Michter’s distillery is a well-known producer of premium American whiskey. Their Rye Cask Strength is a highly sought-after release bottled at its natural cask strength, meaning it’s not diluted with water before bottling.

This can give the whiskey a higher alcohol content and more intense flavors than a standard release.

The whiskey is made from a mash bill of at least 51% rye, which gives it a spicy, bold flavor profile. The whiskey is aged for several years in charred oak barrels, which impart flavors of vanilla, caramel, and other wood-derived notes to the whiskey.

Michter’s Rye Cask Strength is bottled in small batches, and each release is unique, as the flavor profile can vary depending on the barrels used and the length of aging. Due to this, bottles are highly prized by whiskey collectors and connoisseurs.

Keep in mind that the availability of Michter’s Rye Cask Strength can vary depending on location and is generally scarce.

Final Words

These whiskeys are limited release and hard to find in the market; also, the availability and prices may vary depending on location and current market trends.

Also, everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to whiskey, so the best-sipping whiskey for one person may not be the best for another. 

If you’re new to whiskey or want to try something new, I recommend starting with a whiskey you’re likely to enjoy, then experimenting with other varieties.

Trying new and different whiskeys is one of the best parts of being a whiskey lover, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore different varieties.

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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