20 Best Whiskey To Drink Straight 

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Whiskey is an exquisite beverage that screams refinement and elegance. It has a huge audience worldwide, and if you haven’t tried it, you absolutely must. 

However, how you drink your whiskey depends on what it has been intended for. Some whiskeys work best when served on the rocks, and some work better neat; both neat and on the rocks fall in the “straight” category because the whiskey doesn’t contain any additional flavorings. 

There are also whiskeys that work best when mixed, and that doesn’t mean that they are of a lesser quality, but their intention is for cocktail-making. If you mix a whiskey intended to drink straight in a cocktail, it may ruin your experience, as you are using it the wrong way. 

Therefore, knowing which whiskey to use for which occasion and intention is a crucial factor in your whiskey experience. 

20 Best Sipping Whiskey To Drink Straight 

In this article, I will give you a list of the best whiskeys to drink straight, i.e., not diluted or mixed with another ingredient. Some would argue that the “on the rocks” style isn’t what you would call straight, as the ice dilutes the flavor when you drink the whiskey; still, I wouldn’t agree, as ice isn’t added flavoring, so the flavor doesn’t change. 

1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Best described as vibrant and bold, this bourbon whiskey is one of those drinks that deliver precisely what you bargained for. It starts sweet and gets sweeter in the middle, ending on a peppery note.

It goes down with a smooth and hot burn, leaving a mild honey aftertaste. It ages from six to eight years, but there are varieties as young as four years. The younger version of this whiskey is a bit more on the harsher side but still delicious. 

Its price is from $45 to $50 per 750 ml. bottle, depending on where you buy it, and it is undoubtedly an excellent value for the money.

2. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Years Old 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As the name says, this bourbon whiskey ages for ten years in American charred oak barrels. It tastes smoky and has an intense oak aroma all around it. It is overall rich, smooth, and full-bodied. 

Its color says it all. With the deep amber and honey shades, this bourbon whiskey is not only easy on the eyes but incredibly smooth and gentle on the palate. It starts somewhat sharply, only to tone down the aggressiveness mid-palate, bringing out the delicious smoky dimension and honey-like sweetness. 

It finishes very smoothly with a long-lasting vanilla flavor and dried fruit notes. It is priced at $45 per 750 ml. bottle, which is an excellent money-price ratio.

3. Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aromatic and full, this whiskey is made of rye and malted barley, which is where the depth of its flavor comes from. Complex, satisfying and exquisitely smooth, and full-bodied. It is sweet and savory at the same time, with the sweetness dominating the entire story, and the savory dimension is there to accentuate the other flavors. 

It has a long, albeit dry finish, but the aftertaste will definitely stay with you for a while. It ages four years in oak barrels and acquires a smoky and burnt aroma. Priced at $287 per 750 ml bottle, it is definitely on the steeper end but is definitely worth the money. 

4. Compass Great King Street Artist’s Brand 

Combining single malt with grain, this whiskey is complex, full, rich, and deep. It tastes like vanilla, baked apple, caramel, and spices, polished off with a delightfully expressive smokiness, intensifying the flavors and decreasing the sharpness of the drink. 

It finishes very smoothly, with a flavorful burn and a long-lasting aftertaste. Aged for a minimum of three years, this whiskey is priced at $40 per 750 ml. bottle, making it one of the smoothest and most affordable whiskey brands available on the market. 

5. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon

Exceptionally fruity, caramel-tasting, and deep, this whiskey is definitely an old classic. It retains the signature whiskey sharpness and aggressiveness but is very toned down and refined. It starts sharply, only to become even sharper mid-palate. 

It continues with a cinnamon whiff and finishes smoothly on a peppery note. This bourbon whiskey ages for about 12 years, which is why it is so velvety smooth, and elegant while keeping the well-known whiskey warmth. 

Priced at $56, this spirit is definitely an excellent value for the money. 

6. Forty Creek Barrel Select 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged in oak barrels, previously used for bourbon, this whiskey incorporates the bourbon and whiskey flavors, creating a unique flavor combination and making it one of the smoothest to sip neat. 

Complex, to say the least, and pungent with strong vanilla notes, this whiskey is definitely a colorful drink. It also has strong hints of cocoa and honey. It finishes smoothly on a sweet but fiery note, leaving you a burn you will feel long after. 

It ages for a minimum of four years, and it is priced at $20 per 750 ml. bottle, offering you more than a fair bargain. 

7. High West Campfire Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A combination between a Scotch, rye whiskey, and bourbon, this delicious whiskey blend is mostly peppery, with a vanilla note. 

Mid-palate, it is smoky, fruity, and earthy, finishing smoothly with an understated honey whiff. It has an all-over herbal aroma resembling tea, whereby the dill flavor dominates the herbal side of the spirit. 

It ages for four to eight years in oak barrels, and it is priced at about $80 per 750 ml. bottle. It is on its way toward the steeper side, but it is still affordable, and it offers an excellent value for the price. 

8. Jonnie Walker Blue Label 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you are hearing for the first time of some of the whiskeys on this list, this one is definitely one of them. Known and beloved worldwide, this is an exceptionally complex, deep, and versatile drink that involves a number of flavors and aromas perfectly blended in a single unit. 

It includes flavors of dark chocolate, hazelnut, kumquats, sandalwood, and sherry, as well as notes of pepper and dried tropical fruits. It starts with a chocolate and hazelnut note, followed by sherry and dried fruit hints, finishing smoothly on a peppery and sandalwood note. 

It ages for three years, but the Blue Label variety needs to age for at least 28 years. Price-wise, it is definitely on the higher end, with $229 per 750 ml. bottle. However, there is a reason why everyone knows this spirit, and it is definitely worth the money. 

9. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This whiskey is definitely a potent one, and most people drink it diluted with a few drops of water because of the high alcohol content. However, this is an excellent whiskey to drink straight, so you can skip the water if you like stronger flavors. 

Expressively aromatic and flavorful, this whiskey is slightly smoky, with a strong aroma hints of vanilla and caramel notes. It has a long full finish, though the burn is more on the stronger and more aggressive side. 

This whiskey ages for a minimum of nine years, and it goes for $57 per 750 ml. bottle, making this spirit a perfect balance between value and price. 

10. Laphroaig Quarter Cask 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged in twice, in oak barrels first and quarter casks second, this is a deeply flavored and complex whiskey with fruity notes of banana and coconut. It is smooth overall, with a smoky aroma intensifying the rest of the notes in the whiskey. 

It has a long, smoky, and spicy finish, with a strong and spicy burn. It ages five to six years, and it sells for about $66 per 750 ml. bottle. 

11. Redbreast 12 Years 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged for 12 years in sherry barrels, this whiskey has an expressive sherry flavor which sets the general mood for this spirit. In addition to the sherry flavor, this whiskey has expressive nutmeg and cinnamon notes that make it resemble spiced wine. 

It is a very smooth whiskey, specially designed to sip slowly without mixing it with other flavorings, as it has a lot of flavor on its own. A 750 ml. bottle of this whiskey goes for about $63, which is an excellent price for this alcoholic delicacy. 

12. Rittenhouse Straight Rye 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Fruity, with intense plum notes, this is an affordable whiskey, but it isn’t inferior to other whiskeys in any way. It starts a little abruptly, harsher than you would expect, but in the middle, it tones down the harshness and brings out the sweetness. 

It finishes smoothly, with a fruity burn and a plum and vanilla aftertaste. This whiskey ages for four years before bottling, and it goes for $20 per 750 ml. bottle. 

13. Westland Reserve Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This bourbon whiskey is the cake of the whiskeys. Aged for three years in oak barrels, this spirit tastes like coffee, cocoa, and chocolate. During the aging period, this drink gets a very distinct and very expressive smoky flavor, especially during the smooth finish. 

It starts sweet, with a bitter cocoa note, and proceeds with a coffee and chocolate whiff, ending on a high vanilla note, with an elegant burn leaving a sweet aftertaste. A 750 ml bottle goes for about $45, which is a great money-value ratio. 

This spirit is intended for slow sipping so that you can discover, explore, and ultimately enjoy the full-bodied variety of flavors. 

14. Woodford Reserve Bourbon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Distilled three times and aged in two different barrels, this whiskey combines over 200 savory notes, transiting gradually and slowly from strong and expressive grain flavors to sweet, spicy notes and floral tastes. 

This whiskey is a delicious but strong-flavored beverage; however, if you are just dipping your toes in the whiskey sea, it is a great starting point as it is very versatile in terms of flavor and easily tolerable in terms of strength. 

Priced at about $45 per 750 ml bottle, you will definitely find this whiskey very affordable, offering an excellent value for your money. 

15. Yamazaki 12-Year-Old Whiskey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As the name itself says, this whiskey ages for 12 years in oak barrels, during which period it acquires its complex and deep flavor. This is a very smooth whiskey, leaving you with a lingering aftertaste. 

It starts with a ginger note, pineapple in the middle, and coconut at the end. All in all, this is an exquisitely delicious spirit, with a refined and velvety consistency, easily drinkable, and ideal for slow sipping exploration and enjoyment. 

The price of this whiskey is more on the higher end at $150 per 750 ml. bottle, but it is worth for the money nevertheless. 

16. West Cork 8-Year Single Malt 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged for eight years in oak barrels, tasting smoky and fruity, this whiskey is a perfectly balanced spirit where all the included tastes get the chance to shine in their own time. 

Since the barrels used to age this whiskey have been previously used for bourbon, the bourbon taste rubs off of this spirit, making it even more seductive. It starts a little strong but mellows down mid-palate. 

In the end, it finishes long and smooth, with a smoky note and a warm and gentle burn. A 750 ml. bottle goes for about $40, offering you a very good price for what you are getting. 

Also check: 25 Best Whiskey for Old Fashioned

17. Hakushu 12-Year Old 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged for 12 years, this is a pretty exclusive whiskey that can be pretty pricy and hard to find. Still, if you could get your hands around it, you are in for a treat. The smoky notes mixed with apple and banana flavors will charm and seduce you. 

The finish is smooth and velvety, almost creamy, and the burn is so refined that it is almost nonexistent. Priced at about $230 per 750 ml. bottle. Although it is a bit steep, I would recommend you get this delicacy if you get ahold of it. 

18. Four Roses 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Soft, gentle, and fair, this whiskey is for you if you like drinking whiskey but don’t like it harsh and aggressive. The intensive vanilla smoky flavor of this whiskey will amaze you with the fruity notes at the end and the smooth, tender finish, and the mild burn slowly touching your throat. 

Four Roses ages for at least five years in oak barrels which is where it gets its slightly burnt and smoky dimension. Affordable at $35 per 750 ml. bottle, the best thing about this spirit is that it is widely available and easy to get.

19. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Smooth, honey-like, sweet, and with a subtle chocolate dimension, this whiskey is among the best-known and best-sold whiskeys on the market worldwide. It is incredibly smooth and easy to drink, with a delightfully smooth burn and a very noticeable honey aftertaste. 

It ages for at least four years in new American oak charred barrels, where it gets the irresistible smokiness and refinement. Priced at a very affordable price of about $24 per 750 ml. bottle, this whiskey should definitely be on your must-try list. 

20. Best Peated Scotch: Bowmore 12 Year Old

Containing notes of honey and vanilla, this whiskey is recognizable for its smoky flavor, which it acquires through its 12 years long aging process in oak barrels. 

It starts slowly with a vanilla whiff, continues with expressive notes, and it ends with a smooth and long smoky finish. Costing about $37, this whiskey is affordable and available, and it is an excellent value for the money. 

Best Whiskey To Drink Straight for Beginners

If you are new in the whiskey department and are just dipping your toes with no substantial knowledge, you need a soft whiskey to start you off. It also needs to be flavourful and aromatic to let you know that this is not just alcohol you are drinking, but it involves a wide variety of flavors and aromas. 

I would recommend you start with Four Roses, Elijah Craig, Buffalo Trace, Larceny Bourbon, and Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-in-Bond as some of the best whiskey brands to start exploring.

Related: 23 Best Bourbons for the Money

What To Look for in a Good Whiskey?

The definition of a good whiskey is different for each whiskey enthusiast. Some prefer their whiskeys sharp and aggressive, and some prefer them mild and flavourful. In general, a good whiskey is an aged whiskey with a smooth burn and a lingering aftertaste. 

The best-selling whiskeys have a strong honey and smoky aromas and flavors, which many people seem to like very much. In essence, a good whiskey is toned down on the aggressiveness and has a few distinct flavors included. 

Resources: 

  • https://www.liquor.com/best-whiskeys-4846748
  • https://vinepair.com/articles/wa-bartenders-whiskey-for-beginners/

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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