27 Best Whiskeys In the World

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Made of grains and usually aged for a minimum of two years, whiskey is a spirit dating from approximately 500-600 years ago. 

The distillation process at this time was still in the beginning, and it mainly served for medicinal purposes. Believe it or not, whiskey was first distilled by monks and used as an anesthetic and a disinfectant during surgeries and other medical purposes. 

It wasn’t until a while later that people started using whiskey for drinking, which made them give this spirit a second name, aqua vitae- water of life. 

Considering that the distillation process was still in its infancy back then, the whiskeys back then and the ones made now have little in common. Other than the same base ingredients, grain mashes and water, and the distillation process that is to this day how you make whiskey, the 16th-century whiskeys are incomparable to today’s ones. 

Back then, whiskey had a very rough flavor and an overall coarse dimension. They weren’t left to age, and people drank them very soon after distilling.

However, even as uncivilized as it was, whiskey was a spirit that had a great potential, and the ones who knew whiskey knew what it could become. 

With time, the distillation techniques became more refined and more efficient, new whiskey recipes appeared, and the aging process was introduced.

The aging process turned out to be one of the crucial stages of the whiskey-making procedure. The longer the whiskey aged, the smoother it became. Moreover, the barrels in which it aged were very impactful on the taste as well. 

Today, we have a vast selection of whiskeys varying in alcohol content, flavor, viscosity, age, price, and texture.

Each whiskey brand has its own markings and advertises its whiskey emphasizing the taste, strength, age, or any other feature that dominates as the best. 

So, Jack Daniels is known for its sweet, honey-like flavor, Jonnie Walker Blue Label is famous for its silk-like smoothness, and Crown Royal is well-renowned for its full-bodied flavor. 

Among the infinite whiskey choices there are, you are bound to stumble upon some unfortunate ones that give whiskey a bad name. However, there are some whiskey brands that teach you what whiskey is all about. 

So what are the best whiskeys in the world? 

To the untrained palate, all whiskeys taste somewhat the same, but an educated palate can taste citrus notes, vanilla hints, oak, almonds, toffee, and smoke. Therefore, to be able to enjoy whiskey, you need to know a thing or two. 

In the following article, I will list the best whiskeys in the world and what makes them unique. 

1. Glenmorangie Signet 


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The best way to depict the flavor of this whiskey is by using just two words- chocolate and coffee. From the nose and all the way to the finish, everything about this spirit says chocolate-infused coffee combined with a delightful single malt spirit. 

It starts with a chocolate barley aroma which continues until the end of the sip. Mid-palate, it has a deep mocha flavor, again interlaced with chocolate and alcohol flavors. In the end, it leaves you with a smooth, creamy finish, with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. 

More: 12 Best Whiskey Brands at Costco

2. Bowmore 12-Year-Old


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This 70s classic is a truly unique delicacy enticing the nose, as well as the palate. It has a warm and rich amber color which will feed the eye. Then it will greet your nose with its lemon and honey aromas that will give you a warm sensation, like when you smell a cup of tea. 

It starts with fresh lemony notes and whiffs of honey intertwined with smokiness and oily sweetness. The lemon and honey balance each other out perfectly, balancing the alcoholic sharpness and bite typically for the whiskey spirit. 

The finish is long and smooth, rounding out the entire texture and substance of the drink. 

3. Buchanan’s 12-Year Scotch 


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Winner at the San Francisco best scotch competition, it was voted as the best-blended scotch and best-blended scotch for up to 15 years. Combining orange notes, honey, and dark chocolate from the nose spreading through the palate. 

It invites you with the sweet and tender orange and honey aroma, hinting the dark chocolate, without giving it entirely away. The dark chocolate is most visible on the palate, enhanced with some serious honey and orange whiffs. 

The finish and long, smooth, and fruity, leaving a lingering aftertaste and warm burn.

4. Macallan 12-Year Double Cask


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This smooth whiskey ages for 12 years in 100% sherry casks, where it acquires the sweetness and fruitiness of the sherry, intertwined with the typical whiskey elegance and depth. 

It is definitely a complex spirit combining brown sugar, honey, nuts, and orange peels. It starts softly, with soft hints of brown sugar and honey. Mid-palate, it is nutty and fruity, finishing softly and smoothly with a long-lasting and lingering aftertaste.  

5. Monkey Shoulder


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Recognized as one of the best whiskey brands available on the market and winner of the award at “The Scotch Whiskey Masters” in Speyside No Age Statement in 2014, this whiskey has deserved a place on this list. 

This whiskey definitely has one of the most complex flavor profiles, including vanilla notes, marmalade, cloves, and honey notes. It has a medium-long finish, with a much-needed spiciness to spike the sweetness of the spirit. 

6. Oban Distillers Single Malt


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If a single word could describe this whiskey, it is luxurious. Aged twice in sherry oaks, this spirit is full-bodied and well-balanced. 

It is pungent and floral on the nose. Mid-palate, it is tastes soft, at first, before it unravels the mild saltiness, gently transitioning into caramel and fruity notes. 

The finish is medium-long, tasting like dark chocolate, caramel, and toffee. Combining several notes and flavors at each point, this complex spirit is one of the most colorful and playful you will ever taste. 

Related: 10 Best Johnnie Walker Whiskies

7. Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14-Year


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This complex whiskey gets its full body, flavor, and refinement during the 14 years of aging in ex-bourbon casks, followed by charred oak barrels. It is indescribably complex, and the best way to get to know it is to try it. 

On the nose, you can feel cinnamon notes, while mid-palate, it is rich with caramel, toffee, dried fruit, and cinnamon whiffs. The finish is smooth and flavorful, tasting like Mexican vanilla. 

8. Glenlivet-12 Year


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Aged for 12 years in traditional American oak casks, this whiskey is not only a spirit but a token of revolution. There was a period when this drink was distilled underground due to the ridiculously high taxes imposed on the whiskey-makers. 

Today, this spirit is known for its flavor, aroma, and smoothness as one of the best whiskeys in the world. It is commonly referred to as summer whiskey due to its fruitiness and expressive floral notes, which are hard to find in the whiskey spirit. 

The best way to describe its aroma is to say that it smells like summer. It continues with candied nuts, pineapple, and discrete toffee notes. The finish is as smooth as it can be, almost creamy, with hints of vanilla.

9. Balvenie 12-Year Doublewood 


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Made in 1993, this whiskey has skyrocketed to the top and remained there until this day. Aged in American oak ex-bourbon barrels and is then transferred in sherry casks for another nine months. 

It says the first hello with hints of vanilla and spices on the nose. The aroma is well-rounded, whereby neither the vanilla nor the spices dominate the smell, but it is rather perfectly balanced and excellently toned. 

On the palate, there are hints of cinnamon, vanilla, spices, and dried fruits that make this whiskey vibrant and playful. The finish is the star of the show. The visible sherry notes, combined with the smokiness and spiciness of the whole story, make the finish unforgettably smooth, flavorful, and rich. 

Related: What is the Smoothest Whiskey?

10. Ardberg Uigeadail


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This single-malt Scotch whiskey is truly exquisite and the perfect choice for you if you like your whiskey out of the box. It combines several seemingly opposing flavors that are mashed up together in a single bottle, resulting in a delicious and rich whiskey. 

On the nose, this whiskey will seduce you with the aromas of white bread, nuts, pine, and cedar. It then pulls you inside its substance, tasting like roasted marshmallows and almonds and smokiness. 

To top it all off, the finish is smooth and long with subtle smoke and cinnamon notes. Many describe a sip of this whisky as Christmas in your mouth, which is the ultimate recognition this spirit can get. 

11. The Singleton of Dufftown 54-Year-Old


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As the name says, this whiskey ages for a whooping period of 54 years, during which it does not only acquire flavors and smoothness but wisdom too. 

Available in exceptionally small batches, if you can find it, keep it tight and savory it, as you won’t get it that easily. In a word, this whiskey is deep. In several words, it is deep, smooth, and luxurious, with rich texture and high viscosity. 

It tastes sweet, with fruity notes and mild spiciness. It ends velvety smooth with hints of vanilla. 

12. Highland Park 12-Year-Old


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Aging for an impressive period of 12 years in European and American Sherry oak casks, this whiskey is one of the best on the market. It is full-bodied, deep, and complex. 

It greets you with fresh, clean, and floral aromas, only to pull you in with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves flavors, mixing and intertwining with each other. The individual flavors come to light, each in good time, making this whiskey a genuinely playful story. 

It ends with whiffs of green tea, jasmine, and toast. 

13. Aberlour A’Bundah-Batch #70


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Rich and exotic, this whiskey definitely rings the bells of the new era. Smooth all over, it has the identical citrus and vanilla notes from the nose to the throat. In the middle, it is full, deep, rich, and creamy. 

This single malt whiskey ends with a smooth and creamy finish, lingering long after you’ve swallowed the sip. 

14. Knappoque Castle 16-Year-Old


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Aging for a total of 16 years, 14 of which in bourbon barrels and two in sherry barrels, this is definitely a remarkable spirit. It greets the nose with vanilla whiffs, continuing with a discretely sweet flavors, accompanied by hints of dried fruits and sherry. 

The finish is long and lingering, leaving you with a delicious and warm aftertaste, layering the mouth and throat for the next sip.

15. Johnnie Walker Blue Label


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Even if you haven’t heard of the other brands on this list, you have most certainly heard about Johnnie Walker Blue Label. This is a premium whiskey, smooth as silk, and incredibly tasty. 

It starts gently, seducing you with vanilla and chocolate notes, only to show you its true colors mid-palate, with deep flavors and its full-body complexity. Ending on a velvety finish with a high viscosity, it definitely ends with a bang. 

Aging from 20 to 60 years, this is definitely one of the smoothest whiskeys on the market. 

More: 20 Best Whiskey To Drink Straight 

16. Yamazaki 12-Year-Old


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This whiskey is not just a spirit but a ring of the revolution and expansion of the whiskey market. This is the first Japanese single malt whiskey to make its way on the British market. 

Cask-aged for 12 years before bottling, this whiskey is a pure depiction of the Japanese diligence and devotion to perfection. It has citrus notes, discrete rum whiffs, and an understated but noticeable overall fruitiness.

It ends with a medium-long, spicy, and zesty finish. 

17. Macallan Sherry Oak 12-Year-Old


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With its rich gold color and woody spiciness, this whiskey seduces the eyes and the nose before it entices the palate. It is expressively fruity and flora, with hints of vanilla and smokiness at the finish.

This whiskey ages for one year before bottling, where it acquires the recognizable brown sugar flavor that spreads all over the sip. 

18. Glenfiddich 21-Year-Old Gran Reserva


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This is a traditional whiskey, aged for 21 years before bottling. It is, therefore, smooth, deep, rich, and full-bodied.

Since it ages in rum casks, and 21 years is a long time, this whiskey tastes expressively like rum and is the perfect starting point if you want to become a whiskey enthusiast. 

It is fruity, whereby the flavors of banana and figs dominate the flavor profile. It also includes rich toffee, new leather, and oak, making this whiskey complex and multifold. Ending with a long and smooth finish, this is one of the most impressive whiskeys on this list. 

19. Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye 


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A little aggressive and biting, which is typical for the straight rye whiskeys, this spirit is definitely for those who enjoy the milder and more delicate flavor profiles. 

Strong, full, rich, and authoritative, this spirit is a classic-tasting whisky; it has an expressive rye spiciness at the beginning, continuing with vanilla notes, ending on a smooth but impressive and oak-tasting finish. 

20. Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon 


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Aged in barrels buried underground for eight years, this whiskey has a truly unique flavor, aroma, and texture. Smooth all over, delicious, deep, and rich, this spirit is genuinely one of the most complex ones. 

It is sweet, caramel-tasting, and tobacco-scented from the beginning up until the very end. The smooth is expectedly smooth and long. 

21. High West Campfire Whiskey


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This whiskey is delicious floral, fruity, and sweet. It is a combination of rye bourbon and scotch, acquiring the best from both worlds. Nevertheless, it is sharp, and it has a certain bite about it. 

Still, it is as smooth as silk which somehow tones down the rye sharpness. It is overall enveloped in smokiness and gentle spiciness. 

22. Dewar’s Double Double


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What makes this whiskey so unique is that you can smell how smooth it is. It entices you with the chocolate raisings, cigarette smokiness, dried fruit, licorice, and charred oak. It starts on a chocolaty note, continuing with a smoky and fruity dimension, and ending with a smooth oak-flavored finish. 

23. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 


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Tasting like caramel and butterscotch, this whiskey fairly deserves the title of a candy in a bottle. Sweet and irresistibly smooth, it is a great starting point and an excellent first lesson if you are just dipping your toes in the whiskey world. 

Known as one of the purest bourbons, this spirit ends with a smooth, creamy, gentle, and vanilla-flavored finish, lingering on a while after you swallow your sip. 

24. Wild Turkey 101 Rye


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Recognized as the best rye whiskey, you will be amazed at the sweetness and gentility of this spirit, which is very uncommon for the rye whiskeys. Nevertheless, it has a bold and spicy flavor, starting gently with vanilla notes and ending with a smooth and creamy finish and warm burn. 

Mid-palate, you can feel the rye and spices dancing around the vanilla and oak notes. 

25. Henry Mackenna Single Barrel 10-Year-Old


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Winner of the “Best in Show Whiskey” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019, this is definitely a remarkable specimen in the bourbon whiskey category. 

Aging for ten years, this bourbon whiskey is indescribably smooth, with just a hint of the typical bourn bite. It is flavorful and playful, depicting a different story in each section. Delicious, combining vanilla and smoky notes, it is definitely one the best-quality affordable spirits in the bourbon department. 

26. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye


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One of the world’s best-known whiskeys and famous for being smoother than silk, this whiskey is indeed of the highest quality, but it is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Although it is complex, versatile, colorful, and playful, with a sweet honey flavor intertwined with spiciness and smoke, it can be a little too much on the nose and the palate. 

Ideal for diluting with water, or ice, you will definitely enjoy it if you don’t push yourself too much.

27. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey 


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One of the biggest stars in the whiskey industry, this spirit, although last on this list, is definitely not the least. With intense alcoholic flavor, interlaced with genuine honey notes and vanilla, and ending with a spicy, pepper-dominated smooth finish, this is one of the most delicious spirits out there. 

What Is the Number 1 Whiskey In the World?

Glenmorangie Signet is considered to be the number 1 whiskey in the world. Aged in bespoke casks, mixed with a blend of the brand’s rarest whiskeys, this is definitely an ultra-premium spirit. 

Tasting like genuine chocolate due to the chocolate malt barley, this is indeed a spirit of superior quality. 

However, I must stress that there are many other high-quality whiskey brands that some would consider even better than the Glenmorangie Signet, as taste is a very personal thing. 

What Is Top-Shelf Whiskey?

For a whiskey to be considered as top shelf, it needs to meet specific criteria. It needs quality grains, pure water, a good distillation, and a good amount of aging time in high-quality barrels. 

A top-shelf whiskey is a smooth and high-viscosity beverage, creating a bearable burn, retaining its alcoholic flavor but ending with a smooth and smoky finish. The classic whiskey starts with a vanilla note, continues with honey and brown sugar sweetness, and ends with a long, smooth, and smoky finish. 

Still, there are many whiskies retaining this flavor profile and adding their own mark, making the spirit unique and even more complex. 


  1. https://luxe.digital/lifestyle/dining/best-whisky-brands/
  2. https://bgr.com/guides/whats-the-best-whiskey-in-the-world-2022/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisky#History

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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