What Is The Best Whiskey To Drink Straight? (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on December 2, 2022 by Lydia Martin

There is nothing better than sipping on a nice glass of whiskey and letting the goodness flow over your mouth, down your throat, and warming you up from the inside out. Drinking your whiskey straight can reveal a lot about your whiskey experience. It allows you to fully appreciate how the whiskey actually tastes. 

Get to know what is the best whiskey to drink straight up!

Top 15 Sipping Whiskeys To Drink Straight (Personal Favorites) 

1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Buffalo Trace on desk

Average Price: Roughly $24.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It:

Aged for almost a decade in new oak barrels at a Kentucky Distillery, Buffalo Trace bourbon shows off a delectable mix of flavors like butterscotch, caramel, and cinnamon. 

With its smooth finish, you can’t go wrong with this delicious sipping whiskey, primarily when used in an old-fashioned. Also, you can drink it neat or on the rocks!

Read: Why Buffalo Trace is Hard to Find

2. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Years Old

Bulleit Bourbon 10 Years Old on desk

Average Price: Roughly $39.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 45.6%

Why We Like It:

Bulleit Bourbon charred American white oak barrels were set aside to mature for ten years.

It results in a perfect whiskey, creating a deep, rich, and smooth sipping experience. 

Deep russet in color with rich, oaky aromas, its long, soft, and smoky finish come with hints of vanilla and dried fruit.

It is an excellent straight whiskey made with corn, rye, and malted barley!

3. Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye

Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye on desk

Average Price: Roughly $271 (Wine Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It:

Aside from rye, this whiskey also contains malted barley. The aroma is full of dried fruits and black pepper with a touch of fresh dill.

With just a small sip, you can get an array of flavors, mainly sweet and savory. 

It has a terrific balance of dark spices with subtle caramel overtones. You’ll love its pleasing finish with an oaky dryness that stays long enough, full of smoothness. 

Read: Recommended Whiskeys On the Rocks

4. Compass Great King Street Artist’s Blend

Compass Great King on desk with box

Average Price: Roughly $40 (Wine Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

This Scotch whisky is a blend containing a higher ratio of single malt to grain. So, whiskey drinkers like you can enjoy its well-rounded complexity, making it a straight drink. 

It has undertones that feature a fruity dessert, where vanilla flavors, spices, and baked apple creates a beautiful, indulgent emulsion.

This is one of the smoothest yet more affordable whiskeys you can find today. But what’s the best liquor you can drink straight?

5. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof on table with glass

Average Price: Roughly $70 (Bourbon Pursuit)

Alcohol Content: 60.5%

Why We Like It:

Sipping Barrel Proof means experiencing bourbon in its purest form. This mouth-filling, deeply satisfying bottle of whiskey is incredibly smooth with an exceptional fruity palate.  

Featuring the taste of the cinnamon spice, it will surely delight many drinkers. The finish is nicely layered, showcasing all flavors – fading slowly and then lingers as it cools. 

6. Forty Creek Barrel Select 

Forty Creek on desk with sour mash cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $22.39 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This Canadian whisky is aged from ex-bourbon barrels and new American white oak, creating a unique and full flavor profile.

Its robust and complex flavor stands with vanilla, honey, and cocoa hints. It completes a smooth, lingering, and memorable finish. 

This neat whisky is also best served over ice or mixed with cocktails with its smokey flavors.  

7. High West Campfire Whiskey

High West on table with glass

Average Price: Roughly $79.99 (High West)

Alcohol Content: 46

Why We Like It:

This non-chilled filtered whiskey is a Scotch, bourbon, and rye whiskey blend. The inside is lots of pepper and smoky aroma, with a high proof of 92.

Moreso, the nose has floral and fruity notes with hints of light smoke and smoldering wood. 

The taste of vanilla, honey, and chai spices, among others, allows you to sip it straight. It also puts a unique taste twist on classic cocktails. 

8. Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Johnnie Walker Blue Label on desk with box

Average Price: Roughly $185.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This smooth, exquisitely blended Scotch whisky is made from the rarest and most exceptional whiskies. You can get velvety breaking waves of powerful flavor.

One of the hidden secrets of this good sipping whiskey is the blend of dark chocolate, hazelnut, kumquats, sandalwood, and sherry, accompanied by hints of pepper and dried tropical fruits. 

The finish is long, lingering, and smooth with a perfectly balanced soft smoke, making it one of our favorites and best Scotch today.

Check out different Johnnie Walker colors here.  

9. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve on table with cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $51.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 75.5%

Why We Like It:

This straight drinking whiskey brings a rich and warm collection of an array of flavors.

As a single barrel bourbon, it showcases a higher proof (60% alcohol content), so add a few drops of water to it. 

If you don’t want to cut the heat of the alcohol, you may feel delighted as you drink Knob Creek straight through.

Its slightly smoky, robust aroma showcases vanilla and caramel notes with a long and full finish.  

10. Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Laphroaig Quarter Cask on desk with cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $58.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 48%

Why We Like It:

This excellent bottle is aged twice in Bourbon barrels and quarter casks.

You can expect a deep, complex Scotch whisky with hints of smoky peat and mild sweetness. The aroma has hints of coconut and banana. 

Then, the finish is really long and dries appropriately with spice and smoke. You can drink this Scotch neat or pour it with ice. 

11. Redbreast 12 Years

Redbreast 12 Years on table with sour cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $70.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

This Irish whiskey is a single pot still triple-distilled drink from the Midleton Distillery in Ireland.

The undertones of sherry with blends, including differently aged whiskeys from American Bourbon barrels to Spanish oloroso sherry casks. 

The more this Irish whiskey matures, the more sherry flavors come through. Due to light hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, this Irish whiskey is smooth and very easy to sip, making it a good whiskey for drinking straight!  

12. Rittenhouse Straight Rye

Rittenhouse on desk with sidecar cocktail

Average Price: Roughly $22.99

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It:

This straight drinking whiskey brings the spiciness you expect from a 100-proof whiskey.

What’s more interesting is that Rittenhouse is an affordable whisky, but it doesn’t mean it’s inferior in any way. 

It carries a distinct, spicy flavor with light plummy notes. You can enjoy it over ice, but it’s best to serve neat! 

13. Westland Peated Whiskey

Westland on table with box and glass

Average Price: Roughly $72.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 46%

Why We Like It:

Matured for three years in oak casks, you’ll get some smoky flavors with hints of coffee. And the finish brings up unique chocolatey notes.

Made from peated malts and other kinds of malts, the smoke coming from it makes this drink special. 

You can get the aroma of nuts, blood-orange peel, and roasted plantains. Also, the palate features roasted pistachios and herbs.  

14. Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Bourbon on desk with glass

Average Price: Roughly $39.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45.2%

Why We Like It:

This Kentucky bourbon is triple-distilled and matured in two varying barrels. We recommend Woodford Reserve when you start drinking whiskey.

It gives a strong, delicious bourbon that will surely appeal to any whiskey enthusiast. 

Its unique aging process creates the best bourbon in Woodford Reserve Distillery. It blends 200 savory flavor notes from bold grain to sweet spices and floral notes. 

15. Yamazaki 12-Year-Old Whisky

Yamazaki 12-Year-Old on table with box and glass

Average Price: Roughly $192.49 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

This single malt Japanese whisky brings exotic flavors to the glass, which is perfect for those palates looking for something more distinct.

You can get the flavors of ginger, coconut, and pineapple as you sip through this whisky. 

Known as the nation’s premier single malt whisky, Yamazaki 12 Year boosts complex aromas, making it a superior drink straight whiskey.

Aside from its rich flavors, it has a long finish with spicy notes of cinnamon and ginger. 

Related Posts:

What’s A Sipping Whiskey? 

Sipping whiskey is a drink enjoyed by many for its smoothness and mellow finish on the palate and throat [1]. In fact, not only bourbons are the best sipping whiskeys, like most of us know–  there are Scotch and rye, too. Check out the best whiskeys in the world here


What’s the best whiskey to drink for beginners?

The best whiskey to drink for beginners is the Buffalo Trace bourbon. It is a sipping whiskey with enough smoothness on both palate and the finish. This whiskey is smooth, well-balanced, and easy to drink with sweetness, perfect for beginners not accustomed to strong tastes. 

What is the best whiskey type to drink straight?

One of the best whiskeys to drink straight is the Redbreast 12 Years. It is matured in sherry casks and made from unmalted barley. It also boosts the flavor complexity with a silky smooth and balanced taste of spicy, fruity, sherry, and toasted barley. 

How do you drink whiskey straight?

To drink whiskey straight, choose your glass and pour the whiskey first. Then, inhale the scent; take a moment to enjoy its aroma. Take a sip and allow the liquor to flow over your tongue before letting it slip smoothly down your throat. Go slowly, and don’t add too much water (optional).[2]

So, What’s the Best Whiskey to Drink Straight?

The best whiskeys to drink straight should have ultimate smoothness and no complex aftertaste. Drinking whisky should be fun, meaningful, and relaxing. One of the best ways to experience its aroma and savor is by drinking straight.  

However, there’s no estimation for taste when it comes to whiskeys, and there’s no substitute for tasting. Every bottle listed above is best served neat, so you can enjoy them as much as you want.

Narrow down your options and come up with the smoothest whiskey as you get to try every bottle on our list. 



9 thoughts on “What Is The Best Whiskey To Drink Straight? (2022 Updated)”

  1. So Redbreast 12 is a single pot still whiskey and as such is distilled from a mix of malted and unmalted barley not just unmalted barley.
    Also I’m guessing the authors experience is predominantly with American whiskey as there are far better sipping whiskeys out there than the bourbons on this list. I’m particularly surprised that Buffalo Trace makes the list.

  2. I started drinking whiskey made by my Grandfather and it was very smooth. When I got older I tried Jack D variety. Very good but milder than Gramps. I was surprised to not see it on your list of sips !! COMMENT?


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