What is the Smoothest Whiskey: 30 Whiskies You Must Try!

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Smooth whiskey makes a perfect choice if you prefer aged whiskeys with bold and intense flavors or if you’re a regular whiskey drinker who enjoys plain drinks.

In the US, individuals of all ages enjoy whiskey. The statistics claim that about 75% of whiskey drinkers aren’t older than 50. Moreover, most people prefer smooth over other types of whiskey. If you also like smooth whiskey, you’re at the right place.

Below, I will review some of the best smoothest whiskey you can buy, but first, let’s learn what makes a whiskey “smooth,” so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What Makes a Whiskey “Smooth?”

The term “smooth” doesn’t describe anything specifically in the alcohol industry. It’s a term professionals use for soft, gentle, light, or sweet drinks.

However, what makes a whiskey “smooth?” Well, that’s a whole different subject.

The things that make a whiskey smooth include ingredients, blending, distillation, aging, and temperature. Let’s discuss each factor in detail.

Ingredients

As I already stated, smoothness isn’t easy to define as it can originate from different sources. For starters, a delicate and pleasant taste can result from the grains picked for distillation.

Burbon, for instance, should include at least 51% maize, but this amount is typically much higher. The corn’s delicate flavor offers a milder texture than ingredients such as barley or rye.

Additionally, wheat gives drinks a smoother and more delicate character than wheat or hefeweizen beer, including whiskey, even in small amounts.

Blending

Blending also helps spirits become smooth. Typically, blending provides a delicate whiskey for a pleasant drinking experience instead of causing dizziness.

Moreover, Canada and the US enable the addition of sweeteners, blending agents, and flavoring in some whiskey types, which adds to the smoothness of the whiskey so that you can consume your drink straight.

The Distillation Process

The specifics of the distilling process differ depending on the type of whiskey made, industry, local restrictions, and the distiller’s preferences.

Generally, the distillation process can make a beverage more alcohol-heavy while eliminating features that don’t add to the drink’s sweetness.

So, smoothness can be achieved by distilling to a high proof. Simply put, the higher the proof of a whiskey, the more pleasantly spiced it will be.

Whiskey

Aging

Various things play a part in the aging process of whiskey.

Some factors that set the smoothness of a drink include the type of barrel used for aging, how much alcohol by volume it contains, and how long it’s aged.

If you eliminate the pollutants, heavy oils, and big molecules, sifting spirit through a filter, such as charcoal, can give the drink a soft texture in the mouth.

Additionally, aging in oak casks, which act as a sieve, makes drinks smoother. Also, most believe that the longer the whiskey sits in the barrel, the sweeter it gets.

And that’s true in most cases. However, if a whiskey stays for too long in oak, which is super astringent, it will get a zesty and tannic flavor.

Temperature

Heat isn’t the deciding factor between rough and smooth whiskeys, but reducing the heat can help decrease the sensation of alcohol burn.

If you add a rock or two into your whiskey, you can cool the beverages and save the nerve cells in your mouth from feeling endangered.

Nonetheless, some whiskeys, like single malts, can be drunken neat. Therefore, the ice will only dilute the spirit. 

What is the Smoothest Whiskey: 30 Top-Shelf Whiskey

If you’re ready for your first sip of smooth whiskey, here’s a list of some of the best whiskey for beginners you can try today.

1. Jameson Irish Whiskey

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The renowned Irish whiskey manufacturer, Jameson, makes one of the best smooth whiskey in the world.

It’s a traditional pot-still and grain spirit aged in oak barrels with a floral scent, spicy wood, sweet notes, and freshly cut hay as you drink it neat.

It’s the perfect balance of spiciness and fruitiness with a smooth finish.

2. Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Eagle Rare bourbon is a high-quality beverage aged ten years.

If you consume this drink neat, you will smell a scent of gentle toast, fresh tobacco, and banana, notes of almonds, chocolate, raisins, melons, dried fruits, and a subtle undertone of vanilla.

3. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Know Creek Single Barrel Reserve bourbon has a full-bodied and spicy flavor, with notes of dark chocolate contrasted by rye and cinnamon aromas. There’s also a subtle undertone of toasty vanilla and oak.

The finish of this bourbon is long and rich, reminding you that you’re drinking one of the best whiskey in the world.

4. Knappogue Castle 1995

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Knappogue Castle is a product of the Bushmills Distillery.

It’s a traditional Irish single malt whiskey with intriguing notes of barley sugar, baked apples, honey, and boiled sweets.

There’s also a touch of caramel, pepper, and oak.

Overall, it’s a creamy and sweet whiskey that reminds of tropical fruit, malted barley, berry compote, and biscuits with hints of spices and dried fruits.

5. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Elijah Craig’s small batch bourbon is a smooth and well-rounded drink aged over 12 years.

It’s a whiskey with rich flavor thanks to the long aging process, so it’s a great choice for drinking neat or on the rocks.

The flavor profile consists of caramel, vanilla, and oak notes.

The best part? It doesn’t cost a fortune, so you can enjoy top-notch whiskey without breaking the bank.

6. Ballantine’s 17-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The famous Ballantine’s 17-year-old whiskey has used the same formula for over a hundred years. It’s one of the best-blended Scotch whiskeys on the market.

It’s a toffee-colored liquid with toasted wood and vanilla aromas.

When you first taste this whiskey, you will experience a rich fruity, and earthy flavor with notes of butterscotch, honey, and spice.

7. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Laphroaig whiskey is a product of the Laphroaig Distillery. It’s a unique whiskey with flavors of salt, peat smoke, hints of sweetness, and seaweed.

Overall, it’s a sweet whiskey with a long and rich finish.

Moreover, it’s aged in ex-Bourbon barrels which adds to the unique taste of this drink and makes it a perfect choice for drinking neat or on the rocks.

If you’re new to Scottish whiskey, consider Laphroaig 10-year-old.

8. Old Elk Straight Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Old Elk Straight Wheated Bourbon is made using the Slow Cut Process, which provides a fuller, smoother, and deeper spirit.

When you first taste this bourbon, you will experience vanilla ice cream, toffee, oak, floral, and caramel notes on the nose and cream, vanilla, toffee, clove, and toasted almonds on the palate.

The finish of this bourbon is smooth with milk chocolate and caramel notes.

9. Lot No. 40 Whiskey

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Lot No. 40 whiskey was launched in 2012 by Pernod-Ricard.

It’s a resurgence of a whiskey from the late 1990s that simultaneously presents the grain’s floral, aromatic, and spicy aromas.

Lot No. 40 has a rich, deep flavor and a silky tongue feel. Moreover, it’s a beverage with low alcohol content, so it’s both pleasant and flavorful.

10. Redbreast 12-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re looking for a traditional blend of complex, rich flavors, look no further than Redbreast. It’s a high-quality single-pot whiskey aged in a combination of American and European cask finishes. 

This beverage is also high in alcohol, which adds to the intensity of the overall taste. It’s made of malted and unmalted barley and provides a spicy and fruity palate with wood and toasted barley notes.

11. Heaven’s Door Double Barrel

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Heaven’s Door double barrel is a smooth whiskey with a punch. It’s a 100-proof blend of two straight bourbons aged for about seven years.

This whiskey gets a smooth, well-rounded taste with honey, oak, and vanilla notes, thanks to the long aging process. But here’s the kicker. You will get this whiskey in a unique bottle with distinctive iron gates at a very low price.

12. Laphroaig Quarter Cask

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Laphroaig Quarter Cask comes from the island of Islay in Scotland. This island is known for the production of highly peated whiskeys.

This particular beverage is first kept in bourbon barrels, then in small casks, known as quarter casks, which help the spirit mature by about 30% faster.

This honey-colored liquid has a lovely ashy scent and intense smokey flavor with a cinnamon note, a hint of oakiness, and a smooth finish.

13. The GlenDronach Allardice

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you like fruity notes, you will definitely love the GlenDronach Allardice. It’s a fruity Scotch whiskey aged for 18 years.

This drink has a variety of flavors, including pineapple, brown sugar, and rum. Also, it’s not aged in a Bourbon cask like other types of whiskey. Instead, it’s been kept in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, ensuring a creamy and smooth texture.

14. Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Evan Williams bourbon has a unique flavor profile. It’s a well-known Kentucky Straight bourbon that’s 100-proof and follows the exacting standards of a Bottled-in-Bond product.

Therefore, it’s aged for about four years, distilled in a single season at one distillery, and under US government supervision.

This bourbon has a bright gold color and caramel flavor with hints of vanilla, barley, and oak. You will also catch some citrusy and black pepper notes.

15. George Dickel 13-Year-Old Bottle-in-Bond

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The George Dickel whiskey is made in a Tennessee Whiskey distillery by the same name. It’s a limited edition 13-year-old beverage made and barrelled in 2005.

The full and rich flavor makes this whiskey popular among drinkers.

The palate of this beverage consists of strong marshmallows, butterscotch, Crème Brule, maple syrup notes, and hints of spices, grass, oak, and mint.

16. Tomintoul 14-Year-Old

If you seek a smooth experience, consider Tomintoul. It’s a mellow and gentle drink with a sweet aroma.

The aroma has hints of crème Brulee and orchard fruits, while the palate consists of chopped almonds, Danish cinnamon, oat biscuits, and citrus oils.

Furthermore, you will enjoy the toasty layers of mocha, hazelnuts, and fresh grassy highlights at the end.

17. Five Brothers Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Fiver Brothers bourbon is a solid choice for beginners and experienced whiskey drinkers. This bourbon has a good alcohol content, so it’s perfect for drinking neat.

You can also drink this bourbon with ice or mix it in cocktails.

It’s not a complex whiskey. However, it’s still a flavorful and interesting bourbon. So, if you’re looking for a tasty, all-purpose bourbon, look no further than Five Brothers.

18. West Cork 8-Year Single Malt

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I would describe the West Cork Single Malt as a silky smooth and mildly fruity drink. It’s a smooth whiskey with a traditional Irish texture and sweet palate.

The palate consists of butterscotch and chewy malt flavors, which provide a nougat-like dessert flavor with hints of almonds and salted crackers.

What I enjoy the most about this whiskey is the smooth finish. I’m sure the aftertaste of baking cinnamon and roasted nuts will make you love this whiskey.

You can either drink West Cork Single Malt neat or mix it in a cocktail.

19. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Woodford Reserve Kentucky straight bourbon is one of the smoothest whiskey on the market.

It’s a unique combination of over 200 flavor notes, including wood, fruit, bold grain, and sweet aromatics. 

The finish of this bourbon is silky smooth with a creamy aftertaste. 

20. Auchentoshan 21-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Aged in Spanish and American sherry barrels for over 20 years, Auchentoshan is a single malt whiskey.

This whiskey has been triple-distilled and filled with many flavors, including creamy vanilla, honey, and gooseberry.

When you first taste Auchentoshan, you will experience a green fruit and chocolate taste with hints of sweets and old oak.

21. Balvenie 14-Year-Old Caribbean Cask

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Balvenie Caribbean Cask is a single malt whiskey.

This whiskey was first aged in oak barrels, then finished in other barrels previously used for Caribbean rum, which gives this whiskey a creamy, rich, and sweet taste of toffee with hints of delicious and fresh fruits on the nose.

The smooth finish consists of vanilla and sweet oak notes.

22. Bushmills 21-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The popular Bushmills whiskey was first aged for at least 19 years in former Oloroso Sherry casks and Bourbon barrels. Then, it gets moved to Madeira casks for the last two years.

It’s a high-quality Irish whiskey with tasting notes of toffee, dark chocolate, nuts, and raisins. The smooth finish consists of sweet, syrupy, and mint pipe tobacco.

The only downside is that it’s hard to find.

23. Glen Moray Elgin Classic

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Glen Moray Elgin Classic is a medium bright gold drink with fresh, fruity, nutty, and light aroma, whereas the palate consists of oak, walnut, citrus, and grist.

The smooth finish includes a spicy fruitcake and tangy citrus notes.

I suggest adding water to your whiskey; water will make all these flavors pop even more. It’s one of the smoothest whiskeys for drinking straight and just relaxing.

24. Crown Royal

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Crown Royal beverage is a classic Canadian whiskey.

So, consider Crown Royal if you’re searching for a traditional smooth whiskey. You can drink this whiskey neat, with ice, or mix it in cocktails.

The scent consists of light vanilla and caramel notes, while the palate offers pound cake and lemon zest notes.

You will also notice the toasted oak, chocolate, and spice at the end.

25. Glenlivet 12-Year-Old

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Glenlivet double-matured single-malt is a Scotch whiskey aged in American oak barrels. It’s a product of the Glenlivet distillery with notes of sweetness and a unique taste.

This high-quality beverage has a creamy palate with a deliciously smooth finish. The palate includes notes of pineapple and dried apple.

26. Glenmorangie 18-Year-Old Extremely Rare

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Glenmorangie is a super rate Scotch whiskey aged in Oloroso sherry casks and American white oak. I highly recommend this whiskey to everyone because it has a creamy, thick, and fruity flavor.

The best part? You will get this whiskey in a lovely bottle. Therefore, it’s also perfect for gifting.

This popular whiskey’s creamy palate consists of peaches, butterscotch, and yogurt notes. Lastly, the smooth finish includes hints of grapefruit and tangy oat, all topped with caramelized dark sugar.

27. George Dickel Bottled-In-Bond

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The George Dickel is a Tennessee whiskey ideal for drinking neat.

It’s a bottled-in-bond with a deep flavor, thanks to the long aging process. The drink is filtered with maple syrup and maple charcoal for creaminess.

After the aging process, this whiskey gets a unique smell of candied pecans.

When you take your first sip of this whiskey, you will notice the combination of blood orange, cinnamon spice, and honey.

28. Larceny Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Larceny bourbon whiskey uses wheat as the secondary grain instead of rye. It’s made by Heaven Hill and has a smoother flavor than your ordinary bourbon.

Moreover, this is a small batch drink, made using about 100 barrels and bottled at 92 proof. The final product is a smooth, delicious whiskey with a slightly sweet taste ideal for sipping neat or mixing in a cocktail.

29. Russell’s Reserve 6-Year Rye

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Russel’s Reserve is bottled at 90-proof and has a rich flavor. The palate of this whiskey includes allspice and almond notes.

The high-proof rye consists of a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. It’s also aged for about six years in American oak battels.

Most drinkers assume that all rye is hard to enjoy and spicy, but that’s false. If you buy a high-quality rye whiskey, such as Russell’s Reserve, you will have a pleasant experience.

30. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Buffalo Trace distillery has been producing whiskey by the same recipe for over two centuries.

Their high-quality Buffalo Trace bourbon is a rich amber whiskey with mint, vanilla, and molasses notes.

Thanks to spice and brown sugar notes, this beverage is sweet with a long, smooth finish.

Most drinkers claim it’s one of the best whiskeys in the world, thanks to the lush and long finish. So, if you’re looking for a top-notch and reasonably-priced whiskey, give Buffalo Trace a try.

What is the Meaning of Drinking Straight?

Drinking straight has different meanings in the alcohol industry. In other words, the answer depends on what you’re drinking.

For instance, if you have a straight whiskey, you’re drinking it near (without ice and other ingredients).

However, if you have straight vodka, you’re drinking chilled vodka.

Therefore, you have a straight drink if you enjoy bourbon or whiskey without adding ice or other ingredients.

Related Questions

What is the Smoothest Easiest to Drink Whiskey?

Some of the smoothest, easiest to drink whiskeys include George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond, Jameson Irish whiskey, Knappogue Castle 1995, the GlenDronach Allardice, Laphroaig 10-year-old, Redbreast 12-year-old, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight bourbon whiskey, and Tomintoul 14-year-old.

What is the Smoothest Top-Shelf Whiskey?

Whiskey experts claim that Laphroaig is the smoothest top-shelf whiskey. It’s a soft, Scotch whiskey with a smoky taste that’s not overpowering and works well with the flavor notes of the whiskey.

Other smooth top-shelf whiskeys include Mreso. It’s a blended scotch that’s easy to consume. So, if you’re looking for smooth top-shelf whiskey, you should consider these two brands.

Related: 20 Best Whiskey To Drink Straight 

What is the Least Harsh Whiskey?

Some of the least harsh whiskeys include Bushmills 21-year-old, Auchentoshan 21-year-old, Glenmorangie 18-year-old extremely rare, Balvenie 14-year-old Caribbean cask, Redbreast 12-year-old, Knappogue Castle 1995, and Tomintoul 14-year-old.

So, What Whiskey is the Smoothest?

Overall, blended whiskey is smooth because it’s made by combining grain and malt whiskey. The outcome is a smooth spirit that most whiskey lovers recognize.

However, you must remember that a beverage’s smoothness isn’t a definite quality; it’s a perception. So, I suggest you try different brands, including those above, and decide which one works for you.

You can determine if whiskey is smooth or harsh by how much burh you get when you drink it.

If you’re new to the whiskey world and looking for smooth whiskey, I suggest you try the Woodford Reserve Straight bourbon or Auchentoshan 21-year-old.

They’re both high-quality and smooth whiskey with a character.

I prefer the Auchentoshan 21-year-old over the Woodford Reserve because it’s rich in flavors. The main notes include chocolate, oak, and fruits instead of strong spices like other whiskeys.

What’s your pick? Comment below, and let’s discuss smooth whiskeys.

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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