9 Smooth Whiskeys For Beginners (2023)

9 Smooth Whiskeys For Beginners (1)

Let’s face it – whiskey isn’t for everyone. Sure, it may have some flavor in it, but for the most part, it’s a hard drink, and it doesn’t go down as easily as many other liquors in the market. That's exactly why we're going to talk about smooth whiskeys for beginners.

Many people would prefer other hard drinks over whiskeys, such as tequila or even vodka, crazily enough.

And let’s not forget the alcoholic beverage everyone loves – beer. There’s not much to hate about beer as a whole, and I’d bet you that your average person would, more likely than not, rather have a beer than a whiskey any day of the week.

That’s not to say that whiskey is inferior to beer, or any other alcoholic drinks for that matter. In fact, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to whiskey.

There are different variants of whiskey, based on the country of origin (such as Irish and Scotch) or based on the ingredient in the rye mash (like Bourbon and Rye whiskey). They're all good, and you'll have to try a couple before you figure out which one suits your tastes best.

I used to be really into bourbon. Then it was rye. Now I've only got Scotch in my house.

If I had to choose one single whiskey to recommend for beginners, it would be Maker's Mark bourbon. It's easy to fine, relatively inexpensive, and drinking bourbon sounds cool. It's a smooth whiskey with a little bit of sweetness to it (a common character of bourbon), so a very cool and tasty whiskey for beginners.

These days I'm really into Islay scotch, but that's a very smokey type of whiskey which turns a lot of people off, so I don't recommend it unless you're adventurous.

Actually, the best way I've found to figure out what you like is to try a bunch through Flaviar. It's a club, and you can actually buy little 3-round “tasters” of all kinds of whiskeys.

They always have a theme to each pack, like “peaty scotch” or “whiskey from Japan”, or even featured spirits from a single distillery. Really cool club to join so you don't have to commit to a huge bottle every time you try a new drink.

(Video) Top 10 Whiskeys for Beginners [Crowdsourced From Whiskey Lovers]

In this article we’ve listed some of the smoothest and most flavorful whiskeys in the market today, in a variety of styles. Great for you if you're just exploring, or even better for giving to a friend who wants to join you for a drink but is afraid of entering the whiskey water hole!

Table of Contents

Smooth Whiskeys for Beginners

Because of how varied whiskey can be, we’re going to give a recommendation of each type of whiskey, from Irish to Bourbon whiskey.

Think of what type of whiskey suits your friend the most, and then follow the recommendation on this list, and your friend will be joining your whiskey-drinking sessions in no time.

Scotch Whisky – Auchentoshan 12 Years Old

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If you’re living in the UK, or you’re heading there soon on vacation, then be sure to pick up one of these bottles on the way home. Made in a distillery just outside of Glasgow, Scotland, Auchentoshan 12 is a triple-distilled whisky that, as the name suggests, has been aged for 12 years in oak barrels.

What makes this whisky such a good try for first-timers is that it’s triple distilled. If you don’t know what that means, triple distilled whiskeys usually have a smooth texture to it.

This single malt whiskey should be a great entry whisky to both Scotch whiskies and whiskey in general. At just under £40, it’s not too bad on the wallet either.

(Video) The 10 SMOOTHEST Whiskeys (this nearly broke us...)

Irish Whiskey – Jameson Caskmates

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Alongside Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey is full of rich history in distilling and spirits, as they’re one of the first countries that commercially sold the liquor to the public.

You can really taste the experience of Irish Whiskey in every shot. But we’re willing to bet that the person you’re introducing the whiskey to doesn’t care too much about its history (yet), so let’s focus on the taste for now.

Jameson Caskmates is a great Irish Whisky to get started with. It’s different from the usual Jamesons, as Caskmates batches are aged in ex- beer barrels including stout barrels or IPA barrels..

This provides an added malty, fruity flavor that you normally wouldn’t find in your typical whiskeys. If you want to offer something with extra flavor instead of going for the smoothness, then Jameson Caskmates is a good choice.

Tennessee Whiskey – George Dickel Superior No. 12 Whisky

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Okay, so this whiskey, in particular, may not be the best for beginners, as it does have a relatively high ABV compared to some other whiskeys at 90 proof (45%). But if your pal can get past the alcohol itself, then they’re in for a real treat.

George Dickel Superior is considered as a good entry-level whiskey, not for its ABV level, but its flavors. The flavors of vanilla and caramel are more pronounced than the usual whiskeys, which are always a good thing if you want to ease someone into the whiskey.

You can even mix some water in the whiskey to lower the overall concentration of alcohol and get the drink to a milder level.

Bourbon Whiskey – Wild Turkey 101

9 Smooth Whiskeys For Beginners (5)

If there’s one kind of whiskey that beginners will love, it’s bourbon whiskey. The unique sweetness of bourbon that’s brought about by the corn mashes its made up of makes for a great first experience at whiskey.

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That’s why for the most part, any batch of Bourbon whiskey will do if you’re introducing someone to whiskey, though there are some that are better than others for this.

One good example of a “starter” Bourbon would be Wild Turkey 101. Wild Turkey 101 only comes in at a somewhat mild 50.5 ABV, and like other whiskeys, you’ll taste a lot of toffee and vanilla in every shot, combined with the already sweet undertones that Bourbon is prized for.

This is definitely a whiskey that any beginner should try out at least once.

Japanese Whiskey – Hibiki Japanese Harmony

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While not as popular as its Scotch and Irish counterparts, Japanese whiskeys are a strong competitor to the already existing variants of the whiskey family. Originally, Japanese whiskeys took heavy inspiration from Scotch whiskies, and have since evolved to become a class of its own.

The great thing about Japanese whiskeys is that they aren’t as complex as other whiskeys, like many Scotch whiskies. Because of that, it’s great for beginners who don’t really care too much about the flavor, but are sensitive to the body of the drink itself.

We recommend Hibiki Japanese Harmony as one of your go-to Japanese whiskeys, should you choose to go for this new yet interesting variant of whiskey with an approachable price point.

Indian Whiskey – Paul John Classic Select Cask

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Like Japanese whiskey, Indian whiskey has a different take on whiskey compared to some of the older and more traditional variants.

In fact, because of how lax regulations are in India, the local whiskey can end up having very different flavors to that of what most people are used to, as they add other elements (such as molasses) in production.

If you’re fine with trying something a little different, though, then Paul John Classic Select Cask can be a good place to start. The flavor of their Classic Select Cask whiskey is pulled off really well, and it’s one of the better brands of whiskey produced in the subcontinent.

(Video) 4 Best Whiskies For Beginners 2020 (affordable)

Speyside Whisky – The Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years

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We know, we know, Speyside whisky is just a sub-variant of Scotch whisky, along with Highland and Islay.

Popular brands such as The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are considered Speyside whiskies, a testament to the level of quality that the Speyside area is home to.

For Speyside whiskies, we recommend The Balvenie Caribbean Cask. This whisky is especially great for those who’ve already tried and enjoyed rum. That’s because they’re finished in Caribbean rum barrels, giving the whisky a really sweet flavor that’s both fruity and vanilla-like. It’s great if you need a familiar taste to ease into drinking whisky.

Blended Whisky – Ballantine’s 17-years-old

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Instead of starting off with single malts, why not go for a blended whisky right off the bat? Sure, they might not be as pure as the single malts, but blended whisky can be really flavorful.

Just look at the success of Johnnie Walker as a prime example of how enjoyable blended whisky can be. We’re not going to recommend ol’ Johnnie, though – chances are that you or your friend have already tried it out, and it didn’t really click.

So instead, we recommend Ballantine’s 17-years-old to try out. It’s really smooth but has some complex flavors, so keep that in mind before sipping so you can prepare for it.

Canadian Whiskey – Dillon’s Rye

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Canadian whiskey tastes great and offers a different taste from the restrictive flavors of Scotch and Irish.

Try out Dillon’s Rye if you plan on going for a Canadian. It’s spicy so it may not be for everyone, but the licorice undertones may be enough for a beginner to enjoy (or at the very least, tolerate). Other Dillon whiskeys are also worth trying out if you can’t get your hands on their “Rye” whiskey.


Many people find that whiskey is difficult to get into. It isn’t as mild as beer (or even wine) and isn’t as sweet as other spirits like rum.

(Video) A Beginner's Guide to Whiskey!

But with so many different variants of whiskey, and even more distilleries that make their own unique batches, there’s bound to be some bottles that are easy to drink for almost anybody.

So whether you really want to convince your friend to get into whiskey, or you’re exploring whiskey by yourself for the first time, this article should help you find the ideal bottle that’ll kickstart your hobby in drinking and enjoying the wonderful flavors of whiskey.


What is the smoothest easiest to drink whiskey? ›

Smoothest Whiskies & Whiskeys
  • Auchentoshan 21 Year Old.
  • Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask.
  • Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
  • Bushmills 21 Year Old.
  • George Dickel 13-Year-Old Bottle-in-Bond.
  • Glenlivet 12 Year Old.
  • Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Extremely Rare.
  • Knappogue Castle 1995.

What is the smoothest type of whiskey? ›

What's The Smoothest Whiskey To Drink? 15 Best For 2023
  • George Dickel Bottled In Bond.
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey.
  • Knappogue Castle 1995.
  • Laphroaig 10 Year Old.
  • Redbreast 12 Year Old.
  • The GlenDronach Allardice.
  • Tomintoul 14 Year Old.
  • Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Feb 7, 2023

What is the number 1 whiskey? ›

Johnnie Walker Blue Label: Best tasting whisky

A popular choice for whisky novices and experts alike, Johnnie Walker takes the crown again and again for its unrivaled spirits. It's the world's most widely distributed brand of Scotch, which means it'll be a success no matter what occasion you bring it out for.

How should a beginner drink whiskey? ›

Sip and Savor

This is best achieved by taking small, slow sips. Taking a small sip and letting your palate adjust to the whiskey with as little alcohol in your mouth as possible will slowly allow your mouth to adjust. Then you sip again, slightly larger, and keep tasting for the specific flavor notes.

What is the smoothest whiskey without burn? ›

Redbreast 12-Year-Old is one of the smoothest whiskeys you can find. It's a single-pot, Irish still whiskey that is triple-distilled in copper stills. The producer – Irish Distillers in Dublin, Ireland – ages Redbreast for 12 years in bourbon, American Oak, Oloroso Sherry, and Spanish Oak butts.

What whiskey is not harsh? ›

“Speyside in particular is a great starting point as the whiskies here are beautifully accessible with notes of fruits and fresh floral aromas. It's home to half of Scotland's distilleries and brands such as The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Strathisla, Chivas, Glenburgie and Ballantine's. Cask type is another option.

What whiskey does not give you a hangover? ›

Jameson Irish Whiskey

When it comes to the kind of whiskey for the least amount of hangovers, Irish whiskey is the way to go. This is because Irish whiskey is triple distilled.

Is Jack Daniels a good beginner whiskey? ›

Reasonably enough, Jack Daniels is an excellent whiskey to start with, as it mixes up well with other beverages to enhance their taste for your palate.

What is a smooth whiskey to drink straight? ›

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.

Is Crown Royal a good sipping whiskey? ›

If you enjoy a smooth, sipping whisky with just the right amount of bite, Crown Royal delivers. Crown is an elegant Canadian whisky and it's readily apparent why Crown drinkers are such a devoted group.

Is Crown Royal smooth? ›

Rich and robust, delicately smooth and creamy with hints of oak and the sweet flavor of vanilla.

What is America's favorite whiskey? ›


Maker's Mark returns to the number one spot for the first time since 2019, beating Bulleit by the narrowest of margins.

What are the top 5 whiskeys in America? ›

American Whiskies
  • Westland Garryana 5th Edition / 2020 Release. ...
  • Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Straight Rye. ...
  • New Riff Single Barrel Proof Bourbon (51.35%) ...
  • Jeptha Creed Straight Four Grain Bourbon. ...
  • Eagle Rare 10 Year Old. ...
  • Michter's US*1 Original Sour Mash Whiskey / Gift Box. ...
  • FEW Bourbon. ...
  • Maker's Mark Cask Strength (55.05%)

What are the top 5 whiskey brands? ›

The World's Best Whiskey
  • Best Bourbon: Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon.
  • Best Rye: Frey Ranch Straight Rye Whiskey.
  • Best Single Malt Scotch: The Glen Grant 15 Year Old.
  • Best Blended Scotch: Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky.
  • Best Irish Whiskey: Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.
Jan 26, 2023

What is a sipping whiskey? ›

Jun 27, 2022. “A small mouthful of a drink” is a sip in formal terms. To be considered a great sipping bourbon, the spirit must be something special on the palate, not just one note. It must be complex and resonate throughout the sip. The build-up from the smell, taste and lingering finish should complement each other.

Do you sip or chug whiskey? ›

A huge part of the flavor of food and drink comes from the way it smells – and whisky is no exception. Take a moment to enjoy the aroma. Take a sip and allow the whisky to roll over your tongue, before letting it slip smoothly down.

How much whiskey is safe for first time? ›

Well, in fact, the liver has an immense capacity to regenerate. Hence, the 'safe limit' for alcohol consumption is said to be 21 units per week (1 unit is approximately 25 ml of whiskey) in men, and 14 units in women. No more than three units in one day, and to have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

What is easier to drink bourbon or whiskey? ›

Generally speaking, you'll find bourbon to be a smoother drink than whiskey. For those new to whiskey drinking, bourbon is a great place to start. Rye, barley, or wheat-based whiskey can be slightly harsher, whereas corn used to make bourbon helps to make it sweet.

What is a light tasting whiskey? ›

These are cask-strength spirits with high ABV. The “light” in the term does not refer to the proof. Rather, it references the flavor. This style tends to be smoother, easier-drinking; not a punch of flavor in the mouth.

What is the sweetest smoothest whiskey? ›

Bourbon is the sweetest whiskey type. Since the dominant grain of bourbon is corn and due to its maturation in charred oak barrels [2], it has a sweet flavor profile. Bourbon has rich caramel notes with vanilla tones which makes it the sweetest of the whiskey family.

What is the hardest whiskey to drink? ›

Bruichladdich X4 Quadrupled Whiskey

184 (92% alcohol). Made in: ScotlandBased on the 17th-century method of quadruple distilling, Bruichladdich's X4 is billed as the most alcoholic single malt ever made.

What is the most drank whiskey? ›

Jack Daniel's

Once again, Jack Daniel's takes the top spot in the world's biggest-selling world whisky contingent. The Brown-Forman-owned American whiskey brand saw volumes grow by 2.7% last year to reach 13.4m cases, up from 13.3m the previous year.

Is whiskey harder on the liver than beer? ›

"Hard liquor contains more alcohol than beer or wine, making it more dangerous for your liver," continues Coleman. "A single shot of 80-proof hard liquor contains about 15 grams of alcohol and most shots contain even more alcohol than this." Another alcoholic beverage also takes a considerable toll on your liver.

What alcohol gives you the worst hangover? ›

The worst types of alcohol to prevent a hangover
  • Brandy (≤4,766 mg/L)
  • Whiskey (≤328 mg/L)
  • Fortified wine (≤329 mg/L)
Mar 15, 2022

Which whiskey has highest hangover? ›

The alcohol with the most congeners (i.e. the ones that will cause you the worst hangover) from lowest to highest are:
  • Whiskey.
  • Dark rum.
  • Bourbon.
  • Red wine.
  • Brandy.
Jul 29, 2015

What alcohol is least likely to get you drunk? ›

Clear spirits in general

Other colourless drinks, like rum, sake and gin, are similarly low in congeners (although not as low as vodka), and thus less likely to leave you feeling ill. No wonder artisan gin is having a moment.

Is Jim Beam a good sipping whiskey? ›

Jim Beam is smooth enough to drink straight (which I do) as a sipping whiskey and equally good on the rocks or a mixer.

What is smoother Scotch or bourbon? ›

Bourbon tends to have sweeter, more mellow characteristics, with vanilla, oak, caramel, grain, nutmeg, and cinnamon notes. Scotch has a sharp, distinct flavor that's more of an acquired taste than bourbon. You'll find that blended Scotch is smoother and maltier with a spicy finish.

Is Jack Daniels smoother than bourbon? ›

Both are made from corn, and both have a strong, distinct flavor. However, there are some key differences between the two brands. Bourbon is typically sweeter than Jack Daniels, with a fuller body and a smoother finish. Jack Daniels, on the other hand, is a bit spicier and has a more pronounced oak flavor.

What are the top 10 brands of whiskey? ›

Top 10 Whiskey
  1. Angel's Envy Rum Cask Finished Rye Whiskey. ...
  2. Crown Royal Blenders' Mash. ...
  3. WhistlePig Whiskey Homestock. ...
  4. Jameson 18 Year Old Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey. ...
  5. Orphan Barrel Fable & Folly 14 Year Old Whiskey. ...
  6. Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Aged Cask Strength Whisky. ...
  7. Brenne Estate Cask French Single Malt Whisky.

Is Crown Royal a whiskey? ›

Crown Royal was released in the United States in the 1960s and has since become the top selling Canadian whisky. To this day, every drop of Crown Royal is crafted to meet the same uncompromising standards, making it, to many discerning palates, the finest whisky of all.

Is Crown Royal considered top shelf? ›

Is Crown Royal top shelf? Crown Royal is a top shelf whisky; their finer varieties are as fine as any other whiskys in the world.

Is whiskey or bourbon better for sipping? ›

Bourbon tends to be smoother than whiskey, with a softer mouthfeel and an overall sweet-presenting flavor, making it a good entry-level sipper for those new to whiskey. Wheated bourbons have a mash bill with a high concentration of wheat, which creates an even sweeter taste.

Is Crown Royal or Jack Daniels stronger? ›

If you enjoy the uniqueness of flavor you get by blending whiskeys together and a milder taste, go with Crown Royal. If you are one to prefer a bolder taste and stronger flavor, go with Jack Daniel's.

Do people drink Crown Royal straight? ›

Sure, you can sip on it neat: but this Canadian whisky is at its best in mixed drinks! The vanilla, brown sugar and oaky notes of Crown Royal work perfectly in cocktails of all kinds, from classic cocktails to modern mixed drinks.

What grade of whiskey is Crown Royal? ›

Crown Royal, also known as Seagram's Crown Royal, is a blended Canadian whisky brand created by Seagram and owned by Diageo since 2000. Production of Crown Royal is done at Gimli, Manitoba, while the blending and bottling of the whisky are done in a facility in Amherstburg, Ontario.
Crown Royal.
TypeCanadian whisky
Proof (US)80
6 more rows

What is top shelf whisky? ›

Top-shelf whiskeys are high-quality distilled spirits that taste way greater than mass-produced and baseline whiskey products. It is sold at a higher price because of its premium quality and taste.

What state drinks the most whiskey? ›

In 2021, Kentucky had the highest per capita consumption of straight whiskey at over 293 9-liter cases per one thousand adults. Straight whiskey is whiskey created by distilling fermented cereal grain mash, creating a liquor not exceeding 80 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and aged for a minimum of two years.

What whiskey did cowboys drink? ›

In many saloons of the old west, the most popular whiskey was bourbon and rye. The popular straight rye whiskey was Old Overholt that was widely available throughout the West.

What whiskey do Americans drink? ›

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey, distilled from a mash made primarily of corn. Despite it's popularity, the spirit remains a mystery to many.

What whiskeys are worth money? ›

Bowmore 'Black Bowmore' The Last Cask 50-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($133,118) Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($55,165) Karuizawa Ruby Geisha 38-Year-Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky ($47,904) Murray McDavid Mission Macallan 36-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($3,192)

What is the best whiskey with no hangover? ›

Jameson Irish Whiskey

When it comes to the kind of whiskey for the least amount of hangovers, Irish whiskey is the way to go. This is because Irish whiskey is triple distilled.

What is the sweetest whiskey? ›

Top 10 Best Sweet Whiskeys
  • Auchentoshan Three Wood. ...
  • Nomad Outland Whisky. ...
  • Widow Jane Decadence. ...
  • Mackmyra Skördetid. ...
  • Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or. ...
  • Compass Box Orangerie. ...
  • Deanston 18 Year Old Cognac Matured. ...
  • Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask.
Dec 13, 2022

What alcohol is best to drink all day? ›

The (Definitive) #List of the 20 Greatest Day Drinks
  • Fernet & Coke. ...
  • (Tie) Mojito/Caipirinha. ...
  • Sangria. ...
  • Gin & Tonic. ...
  • Margarita. ...
  • Moscow Mule. ...
  • Aperol Spritz. ...
  • Pimm's Cup. For my money, the Pimm's Cup is the absolute best day-drinking cocktail.
May 15, 2015

Why does cheap whiskey give you a hangover? ›

With more impurities (mainly congeners and trace alcohols), low-quality spirits will act as more of a toxic/poison that most people are unable to metabolise quickly. This leads to longer and more severe hangovers as you spend the next 24-48 hours trying to flush these chemicals from your body.

Is Crown Royal whiskey good? ›

Generally speaking, Crown Royal is a Canadian whiskey that we strongly recommend to anyone out there who's looking for a smooth classic spirit. This whiskey is great for cocktails and may be used in all those cocktail recipes that don't specify a certain type of whiskey.


1. My Top 10 Scotch Whiskies for Beginners (2022)
(Whisky Riffs)
2. 9 GREAT Whiskeys You've Never Heard Of... (probably)
(Whiskey Tribe)
3. Tennessee whiskey (9 year old taj farrant) chris Stapleton
(Taj Farrant)
4. whisky review 277 - Three best malt whiskies for beginners
5. 9 Whiskeys to Hunt Right Now
(Drew P Whiskey)
6. The Super Simple Beginner Corn Mash Recipe
(Still'n The Clear)


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