Whiskey is one of the most common alcoholic beverages on the planet. There are numerous flavors and brands of whiskey to choose from. But some go down much easier than others, depending on the smoothness and the number of years they have aged.
Whiskey connoisseurs often know which distilleries produce the smoothest whiskeys. But you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the best whiskey brands out there. Scotland has a reputation for producing the smoothest whiskey brands in the world. However, recent years have seen the United States and Ireland compete with Scotland in the whiskey industry.
You can tell immediately after taking a sip whether a certain type of whiskey is smooth, but trying out each brand will take a lot of time. Luckily, we have curated a list of the top 10 smoothest whiskey brands in the market.
The smoothest whiskeys to drink currently in the market are:
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label
- Auchentoshan 21
- Balvenie 14
- Bushmills 21
- Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- Hakushu Single Malt Whiskey
- George Dickel
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
The Blue Label brand of the Johnnie Walker line is one of the smoothest whiskeys in the world. The bottle ages for at least three years and acquires its smoothness by blending different whiskey brands. Johnnie Walker Blue Label uses a blend of brands that have been aged separately for several years.
The aging process for Blue Label allows the different blends of whiskey to integrate appropriately and achieve a richer taste. The bottle’s alcohol content is 40% ABV, and it retails for about $500 per liter. Produced and distilled in Scotland, Johnnie Walker Blue Label should definitely be on your target list if you want to enjoy a smooth drink.
The Auchentoshan is triple-distilled and aged for about 21 years. Its smooth and rich taste involves discernable flavors, such as honey, vanilla, and oak. You can easily drink this brand of whiskey neat, even if you are a first-time drinker.
The Auchentoshan distillery has been around since before the Second World War. Their experience in distillation has allowed them to create a drink that’s smooth for new whiskey drinkers and those seasoned in the art of drinking various whiskey brands.
The alcohol percentage in Auchentoshan can vary depending on the distillation and maturation process, with some bottles having an ABV as high as 81%. It is also another brand produced and distilled in Scotland, and a bottle retails for about $240.
The Balvenie whiskey gets aged for about 14 years, and the ingredients are carefully selected malt barley. The end product is more refined, but it has a strong rum flavor as well as fruit and toffee.
The production methods that go into creating the Balvenie brand are also part of the reason why the drink is so smooth. For instance, the distillery uses copper stills to eliminate impurities and create a more pure blend.
The Balvenie distillery dates back to the early 1890s, and its current market price is about $92 per bottle. But the price often increases the more the number of years it gets aged. The ABV for Balvenie is 43%, so consider taking it slow when you decide to try it out.
Produced in Northern Ireland, Bushmills is a smooth whiskey created by one of the oldest distilleries in the world. The whiskey gets aged for about 21 years, and it gets transferred to Madeira casks for the final two years in its aging process.
Bushmills taste notes include mint, nuts, and dark chocolate. The casks used in maturing this whiskey give it a great flavor as the different ingredients become more and more integrated. A bottle of Bushmills is quite rare as it is not mass-produced. The ABV for Bushmills stands at 40%, and a bottle of this exceptional whiskey retails for about $280.
You can enjoy this bottle of whiskey and even visit the original distillery in Ireland. Although the smoothness of a whiskey drink can vary, there is no doubt that Bushmills 21-year-old is a great choice if you are looking for depth, flavor, and a strong finish all in one bottle.
You can’t go wrong with Buffalo Trace Bourbon if you want to try a smooth American whiskey. It’s produced in Kentucky, which has gained a reputation as a great bourbon producer. The distillery uses high-quality ingredients that add richness to the whiskey and make it smoother.
The flavor is accurately controlled by the producers, who use various distillation processes. The maturity age for each bottle is at least two years. The barrels used in aging the Buffalo Trace Bourbon also contribute to its smoothness.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon has 45% ABV and sells for about $35 per bottle. The price is quite affordable, making it one of the most accessible whiskey brands in the market. The whiskey is consistently blended and has a sweet taste, and the primary flavors you can detect are dried fruit, honey, and caramel.
Following inspiration from the Scottish, the Japanese began producing their own brand of whiskey. The Hakushu 12-year whiskey is so smooth because of the careful process that goes into production. The distillers use water found in the Japanese Alps, which gives it a strong earthy and herbal flavor.
The casks used in the aging of Hakushu include bourbon, American oak, and sherry. The use of different casks helps accentuate the flavors of the whiskey and makes it much smoother as it ages. Hakushu also produces whiskeys aged 18 years, and the notes you can expect to find when enjoying this whiskey include citrus, honey, mint, and green apple.
A 750ml bottle of 12-year-old Hakushu retails for about $200, and the ABV is 43%. Taste and perception have helped establish Scotland as the home for the smoothest whiskey brands in the world, but brands such as Hakushu are posing significant competition.
Glenlivet is very smooth and has one of the most complex flavors and notes. You will likely get a taste of nuts, pears, and dried pineapples. Unlike most whiskey brands, Glenlivet has a lively profile, and the producers use traditional distillation processes to make it smoother.
The Glenlivet distillery has been around since the early 1820s, and it has gained recognition as one of America’s best-selling single-malt whiskies. The whiskey is ideal as a gift or as an introductory bottle for people trying out whiskey for the first time. The ABV for Glenlivet is 40%, and the retail price is $60.
Aged for 13 years, George Dickel is another American whiskey that has given Scottish brands a run for their money. The alcohol content of George Dickel is 50%, and the main ingredients used in production are barley, rye, and corn.
The smooth texture of this alcoholic brand develops over time in oak barrels. George Dickel also acquires its smoothness by going through a charcoal filtering process. The flavors contained in a bottle of George Dickel are well-balanced, and you can get it for about $46 a bottle.
Glenmorangie’s 18-year-old whiskey is one of the smoothest brands to come out of Scotland. The whiskey gets produced using the best barley and water from the Tarlogie Springs. Glenmorangie’s flavor is thick and creamy, with notes consisting of dried fruits, citrus, and cinnamon.
The rare thing about Glenmorangie is that it gets aged in casks that have never been used. This process allows the brand to become richer by interacting with the wood. The ABV for Glenmorangie is 43%, and the retail price of one bottle is $120. The price is a bit high, but we promise that you’ll never forget the first time you try out this whiskey brand.
Arguably the most popular brand in the world, Jameson is a triple-distilled Irish whiskey with a history dating back to the 18th century. The whiskey is usually aged in American oak barrels after being produced using a combination of single pot and grain whiskey.
The different blends of whiskey used in the production of Jameson allow it to have a richer flavor. The taste varies between nutty notes and some spiciness. The Jameson brand has several bottles in its line, including Jameson Black Barrel. The variety of choices offered by Jameson makes it ideal for anyone wanting to experiment with different levels of smoothness.
The ABV for Jameson is about 40%, and the retail price can range from $19 to $51. Jameson is a highly versatile drink that’s smooth and ideal for use either in cocktails or as a standalone drink.
There is no scarcity of whiskey brands to choose from if you are looking for something to drink. But knowing which whiskey brands are the smoothest can help you understand which ones you should try.
Try out the brands in the above list and appreciate their smoothness and rich taste for yourself. Remember to drink responsibly and have fun trying out different whiskey varieties, as that is the only way to determine which brand suits your taste.