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10 Best Sipping Whiskey For Beginners in 2024

Best Sipping Whiskeys For Beginners

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Lydia Martin

If you are new to the world of whiskey, then you may be wondering what the best sipping whiskeys for beginners are. Unfortunately, whiskey isn’t for everyone. It’s a hard drink and picking the wrong one can be quite upsetting. 

That’s why we’re here to talk about the best sipping whiskey for beginners. Let’s dive in. 

Top 10 Best Sipping Whiskey for Beginners

1. 1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

1792 on desk with glass, Best Sipping Whiskey For Beginners

Average Price: Roughly $25.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 46.85%

Why We Like It:

This bourbon whiskey is distilled and bottled by the Barton 1792 Distillery. The company has been in operation since 1879 and is located in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Many find this whiskey complex and sophisticated, but we find it expressive and sweet. 

The whiskey is made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley, carefully chosen by the Master Distiller. It is aged for eight years in new oak barrels.

The flavor profile of this bourbon whiskey includes notes of vanilla, sweet caramel, and spice.

2. Ballantine’s 17-years-old Blended Scotch Whisky

Ballantine’s 17-years-old with box on desk

Average Price: Roughly $24.49 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This blended scotch whisky is a product of Ballantine’s brand. The company was founded in 1827 by George Ballantine.

It is aged for 17 years in oak barrels, and the longer maturation gives it an extra depth when it comes to character and flavor.

You’ll find subtle notes of fruity yet velvety texture, and a sensation of smokiness, making it great for sipping.

Read: Top Whiskeys For Bartesians

3. Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14-year-old with box on table

Average Price: Roughly 76.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

The Balvenie Carribean Cask 14-year old Single Malt whisky is matured in the traditional oak casks, then finished in Carribean rum casks.

Malt Master David Stewart created this ideal spirit by filling American oak casks with his very own blend of West Indian rums.

He replaced them with the 14-year-old spirit when the casks were ready. The result is a special blend of single malt whisky with the Balvenie smooth character and notes of fruits and toffee for that warm finish that’s perfect for sipping. 

4. Elijah Craig 12-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Elijah Craig 12-year-old on table with glass and banana chips

Average Price: Roughly $33 (Flaviar)

Alcohol Content: 47%

Why We Like It:

Elijah Craig is a balanced bourbon that’s simple yet interesting. We find the oak flavor as the ultimate stand-out among the flavors.

With its classic character, Elijah Craig is perfect for both beginners and veterans. 

5. J&B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky

J&B Rare Blended with box on desk

Average Price: Roughly $29.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This blended scotch whisky is a product of the J&B brand. The brand was founded in 1835 by Johnnie Walker and James Buchanan.

The whisky is made from a blend of more than 40 single malt and grain scotches.

It has a light flavor profile with notes of honey and apple, making it great for sipping. We find it smooth without the harsh bite, but some might not like the aftertaste.

But where was whiskey invented?

6. Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Knob Creek with glass and potato wedge on table

Average Price: Roughly $32.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It:

The Knob Creek distillery is located in Clermont, Kentucky, and has been in operation since 1789.

This whiskey is a great option for those who want something with a little more of a kick. It’s got a bold, spicy flavor that’s great for sipping and in an Old Fashioned. 

The whiskey is made from a mash bill with at least 51% corn. It is aged for nine years in new oak barrels.

The flavor profile of this bourbon whiskey includes notes of caramel, smooth vanilla, and oak.

7. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey

Maker’s Mark with cherry bourbon mash on desk

Average Price: Roughly $21.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

This bourbon whiskey is a product of the Maker’s Mark distillery. The distillery is located in Loretto, Kentucky, and has been in operation since 1805. 

The whiskey is made from soft, red winter wheat, instead of the typical rye, making it easy to drink – never sharp or bitter.

The flavor profile of this bourbon whiskey includes notes of caramel, vanilla, and fruit.

8. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky

Monkey Shoulder on table with glass and finger foods

Average Price: Roughly $29.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch whisky from William Grant is made with Speyside’s finest single malt whiskies.

We like that it’s smooth, malty, and creamy to the taste. Aside from sipping it neat, you can also add some ice or use it in cocktails.

It has fruity aromas and mild vanilla notes. 

9. Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye

Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye on desk with cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $131.99 (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It:

Colonel E.H. Taylor straight rye whiskey is from Buffalo Trace.

This Bottled-in-Bond whiskey comes in at a proof of 100. Bottled-in-Bond [1] means that the rye is produced in one distillation season of a particular distiller and aged in a federally-bonded warehouse for at least four years. 

The rye used in the production makes it a bit spicier than other whiskeys or bourbons, but it won’t overwhelm the whiskey’s unique character.

We think you’ll find the peppery bite a bit interesting. 

10. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Woodford Reserve with whiskey highball cocktail on table

Average Price: Roughly $35.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45.2%

Why We Like It:

Another great option for beginners is a product of the Woodford Reserve distillery.

The distillery is located in Versailles, Kentucky, and has been in operation since 1812. 

The whiskey is made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and barley. It is aged for seven years in new oak barrels.

Woodford Reserve has more than 200 tasty flavor notes ranging from wood and bold to fruity and floral. The balanced taste makes it perfect for sipping. 

Read: 15 Best-Selling Whiskeys in the US

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do beginners start liking whiskey?

There are a few things that beginners can do to help them develop a liking for whiskey. One approach is to start by mixing it with other beverages, such as cola or ginger ale.

Another approach is to try different types of whiskey until you find one that you enjoy.

How do you sip whiskey?

The best way to sip whiskey is to start with a few minutes of nosing. Next, take a sip. Hold the whiskey on your tongue and taste it throughout your mouth. Lastly, swallow it and let the aroma out through your nose.

What is the best whiskey type for beginners to sip?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some people may prefer bourbon whiskey, while others may prefer scotch whisky. Beginners may want to try different types of whiskey until they find one that they enjoy.

Which whiskey is best for first-time drinkers?

For first-time whiskey drinkers, it’s advisable to start with lighter and milder options to ease into the world of whiskey. Some suitable choices include:
Jameson Irish Whiskey: Known for its smooth and approachable taste with a touch of sweetness.
Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old: A single malt Scotch with fruity and floral notes, providing a gentle introduction to Scotch whisky.
Bulleit Bourbon: Offers a balanced flavor profile, making it accessible for beginners.
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky: Known for its smoothness and versatility, often enjoyed neat or in cocktails.

What is the easiest whiskey to drink straight?

Easier-to-drink whiskies straight often have a smoother and more approachable flavor profile. Some options include:
Buffalo Trace Bourbon: Known for its well-balanced and mellow character.
Glenlivet 12-Year-Old: A smooth and light single malt Scotch with floral and citrus notes.
Redbreast 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey: Offers a pleasant and rounded flavor with a hint of fruitiness.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon: Recognized for its sweetness and smooth finish.

What is the best whiskey for sipping?

The best whiskey for sipping depends on personal preferences, but some popular choices for sipping include:
Macallan Sherry Oak 12-Year-Old: A rich and complex single malt Scotch with sherry influences.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon: Known for its depth of flavor and smoothness, ideal for sipping.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon: A premium bourbon with a distinctive flavor profile, often enjoyed neat.
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon: Highly sought-after and aged, offering a luxurious sipping experience.

Is Jack Daniel’s good for beginners?

Yes, Jack Daniel’s is often considered good for beginners. Its flagship expression, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, has a smooth and mellow profile with notes of caramel and vanilla. Additionally, the iconic brand is widely available, making it accessible for those new to whiskey.

What is the smoothest whiskey to drink?

Determining the smoothest whiskey is subjective, but some options known for their smooth character include:
Glenlivet 18-Year-Old: A well-aged Scotch with a smooth and silky texture.
Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey: Offers a smooth and approachable taste.
Angel’s Envy Bourbon: Finished in port wine barrels, contributing to a smooth and rich profile.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony: A blended Japanese whisky known for its smoothness and balance.

How do you pick a whiskey for beginners?

Choosing a whiskey for beginners involves considering factors such as flavor preferences, alcohol content, and ease of drinking. Some tips for picking a whiskey for beginners include:
Start with Milder Options: Opt for whiskies with lighter and smoother profiles to ease into the experience.
Consider Blends: Blended whiskies often offer a balanced flavor profile that can be more approachable.
Explore Different Types: Try a variety of styles, including bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey, and Canadian whisky, to discover personal preferences.
Read Descriptions: Look for whiskies with descriptors like “smooth,” “mellow,” or “approachable.”
Ask for Recommendations: Seek advice from knowledgeable staff at liquor stores or bars to guide your selection based on your preferences.
By exploring different whiskies and gradually expanding your palate, you can find the perfect introductory whiskey for your taste preferences.

Which whiskey has no smell?

All whiskies have some degree of aroma due to the volatile compounds present in the spirit. However, some whiskies may have less pronounced or subtle aromas.
Lighter and milder whiskies, such as some blended Scotch whiskies or certain Irish whiskies, may have less intense scents compared to heavily peated or smoky whiskies. The perception of smell is subjective, and individual preferences vary.

How do you drink whiskey straight for beginners?

Drinking whiskey straight for beginners involves a few steps to enhance the experience:
Choose a Mild Whiskey: Opt for a mild and approachable whiskey, such as a blended Scotch or an Irish whiskey, to ease into the flavors.
Use a Tumbler or Neat Glass: Pour a small amount (about 1-2 ounces) of whiskey into a tumbler or a neat glass to allow room for swirling and nosing.
Take Small Sips: Take small sips to allow your palate to adjust to the whiskey’s flavors. Focus on savoring the taste and aromas.
Add a Few Drops of Water: If the whiskey is high in alcohol content, adding a few drops of water can help open up the flavors and make it more approachable.
Sip, Don’t Shoot: Avoid shooting or gulping the whiskey. Sip it slowly to appreciate the nuances and complexity of the spirit.
Experiment with Temperature: Some people prefer whiskey at room temperature, while others may enjoy it slightly chilled. Experiment to find your preferred temperature.

What is a beginner whiskey?

A beginner whiskey is typically a mild and approachable spirit with flavors that are not overly intense or complex. Some examples of beginner whiskies include:
Jameson Irish Whiskey: Known for its smooth and slightly sweet character.
Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old: A light and fruity single malt Scotch suitable for beginners.
Bulleit Bourbon: Offers a balanced flavor profile with notes of vanilla and spice.
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky: Recognized for its smoothness and versatility.

Is Chivas Regal a good whisky?

Chivas Regal is generally considered a good whisky, particularly in the blended Scotch category. It is known for its smooth and approachable character, making it suitable for both sipping and mixing in cocktails. Chivas Regal expressions, such as Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old, are often well-received for their balance of flavors, including fruity and malty notes.

Is Glenfiddich a good whisky?

Glenfiddich is widely regarded as a good whisky, especially for those new to single malt Scotch. It is known for its consistent quality and approachable flavor profile. Glenfiddich offers a range of expressions, including the popular Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old, which has fruity and floral notes, making it a good choice for both beginners and experienced whisky enthusiasts.

Which whiskey has the smoothest taste?

Determining the smoothest-tasting whiskey is subjective, as individual preferences vary. However, some whiskies are often noted for their smooth character, including:
Redbreast 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey: Known for its smooth and well-rounded flavor.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon: Recognized for its sweetness and smooth finish.
Glenlivet 18-Year-Old: A well-aged Scotch with a smooth and silky texture.
Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey: Offers a smooth and approachable taste.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony: A blended Japanese whisky known for its smoothness and balance.
Exploring different whiskies and paying attention to personal preferences can help identify the smoothest-tasting whiskey for individual tastes.

In Closing

Some of the best sipping whiskeys for beginners include 1792 Small Batch, Woodford Reserve, and Knob Creek. If you’re new to the world of whiskey, start with one of these, and you’re sure to find a new favorite.

There are so many different types and brands out there, and it’s hard to know which one will be best for you. With the pointers we’ve given you, it’s now time to go out and try all these awesome whiskeys. Cheers!

Reference:

  1. What Is Bottled In Bond?
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