10 Best Whiskey Brands
Table of Contents
Finding The Best Whiskey Brands
Whiskey tends to have a masculine air around it. Gentlemen’s clubs, smokiness, and leather all come to mind when the liquor is talked about. It’s considered a ‘man’s drink’ that’s not for the faint of heart, yet, the best whiskey brands make it one of the most approachable alcoholic drinks out there. As a woman, it’s my go-to drink.
Often described as ‘smooth’ with notes of vanilla, peat, and fruits, Whiskey is an excellent choice for those who like complexity in their evening sip. Melding beautifully with fruit juices, teas, and rich flavors, the majority of those who like the liquor tend to drink it straight.
No matter how you like to enjoy yours, you’ll notice the difference the 5 best whiskey brands make in your cup. A quick note before we get started: to avoid health and social implications, to drink alcohol, you must be of legal drinking age in your country—21 in the USA and 18 or 19 in Canada.
10 Best Whiskey Brands
1. Makers Mark
Why does Maker’s Mark sit at the top of this list of best whiskey brands? Because it’s a favorite of those in search of a high–quality, great-tasting whiskey for a decent price. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying this brand, I highly suggest picking up a bottle to see for yourself.
An approachable option, Maker’s Mark blends the smoothness of Kentucky bourbon with the spice of traditional American whiskey. Founded back in 1953 by Bill Samuels Sr., this whiskey has a 170-year-old recipe to thank for its massive success.
With a distinctive taste, the Maker’s Mark bottle is equally as intriguing, shut with a real wax seal, and stamped for a totally regal experience. A 750 ml bottle usually goes for $30.
- Affordable & high quality
- Kentucky made
- 170-year-old recipe
- Bourbon whiskey
2. Stillhouse Classic
This list of best whiskey brands wouldn’t be complete without Stillhouse Classic. Born from a love for American whiskey, they bottle theirs in stainless steel cans, which look similar to the oil cans used back in the ‘50s. Fitted with a screw cap, you can take your whiskey with you anywhere and chill it quickly in the cooler.
Founded in 2016 by rapper G-Eazy and Brad Beckerman, whiskey is Stillhouse’s main product, but they also make bourbon and vodka. Offering original whiskey alongside spiced cherry, peach tea, and apple crisp flavors, all of them are 80 proof and made from 100% estate–grown corn. Why? Because it adds a natural sweetness that wheat just can’t give.
Filtered through charcoal for a clean, pure taste, Stillhouse is a classic American brand with a taste to match. A 750 ml can costs $31.
- Four whiskey flavors
- Stainless steel can (beach and nature-safe)
- Chills quickly
- Sugar maple charcoal-filtered
- Gluten-free & all-natural
- Made in the USA
3. The Balvenie
Technically a scotch whiskey, The Balvenie is a high-end spirit chosen by those who enjoy their whiskey straight. Adding a drop of water to this coveted liquor is considered a sin, as it would only taint its naturally smoky sweetness.
While The Balvenie has several whiskeys in its collection, DoubleWood 12 was officially launched back in 1993 by historic Williams & Son. The Balvenie brand itself got its start in 1892 in the UK. What makes it so special? This featured whiskey is aged in two different oak casks (American oak bourbon & Oloroso sherry barrels) to give it a distinguished flavor.
When you take your first sip, you’ll immediately notice the smokiness, followed by a hint of spice, then smooth vanilla as it flows past your tongue. This is one of the more expensive picks on this list of best whiskey brands. A 750ml bottle costs about $100, though this brand’s prices range up to $50,000.
- Smooth, sweet & smoky
- Premium quality
- Aged 12 years
4. Johnnie Walker
This wouldn’t be a list of the best whiskey brands unless it included Johnnie Walker. Aside from being an iconic name, famous for its scotch whiskey, it also has a fantastic selection. If you’re searching for award-winning liquor, you’ve found it, and it’s no surprise that this brand is one of the most popular in the world.
Here’s an example of why: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve blends the best of the best, bringing together light, smoky, and fruity malts from the Highlands, Speyside, and Scottish islands to create a perfectly balanced drink. Offering premium, aged, and easy go-to’s, this brand has something for every type of whiskey lover—and every occasion.
With a 200–year history, this iconic Scottish scotch whiskey brand is a great pick. Spring for a 750 ml bottle of King George V blended whiskey for $566 or stick to the classics with the Red Label for $32.
- Wide range of whiskeys
- Premium & everyday options
- 12 & 18-year aged
Macallan is said to produce single malt whiskeys that are everything they should be. A highly popular brand, its scotch whiskey has bold, stand-out flavors.
For example, the Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old is seasoned with sherry. Made from malted barley, this whiskey is then aged for 12 years. What’s the final product? A sweet flavor with notes of brown sugar and nuts, the taste is lifted with orange peel, and then mellowed by savory malt.
Macallan has a wide selection of single malt whiskey and its prices range from $100–$38,000. It’s a higher-end brand and one of the best single malt whiskey options out there.
- Single malt whiskey
- 12 & 18+ years aged
- Distinct flavors
- Premium options
6. Henry McKenna
From Heaven Hill Distillery, Henry McKenna is a bourbon whiskey that comes highly recommended by whiskey buffs. Based in Kentucky, the whiskey is named after an Irish immigrant who made his way to America and used Kentucky grains in his family’s whiskey recipe. A bottle ranges from $40 to $160.
- Irish recipe
- Single barrel bourbon
Considered a top-shelf whiskey for a surprisingly affordable price, Glenfiddich is often described as the perfect spirit. Specializing in single malt whiskeys, the brand has been pumping out balanced, consistent whiskies since 1887, you’ll find both low cost and top-tier bottles in its collection. A 15-year old single malt is $59.
- Made in Scotland
- Wide range of single malt whiskeys
- Aged for 12, 15, 18+ years
- Clean & sweet taste
8. Knob Creek
Knob Creek might just be the youngest name on this list of best whiskey brands. Making bourbon whiskey, it’s an easy go-to for those who like the classic taste of the spirit. Created by Booker Noe in 1992, the Kentucky-based brand has won multiple awards and is known for its spicy, smoky, and sweet blends.
A splash of water is recommended to bring out its robust flavors. 9-year old bourbon ranges from $26–$41.
- Affordable options
- Kentucky made
- Bourbon whiskey
9. Glen Moray
There are quite a few “Glen”-based whiskeys in the game. This one is a must-try. Making Speyside scotch whiskey, Glen Moray has been an expert in its craft for over 120 years. The final product is said to be balanced and consistent and the 18 Year Old scotch comes highly recommended. Grab a 750 ml for $31
- Affordable & high quality
- Made in Scotland
- Scotch whiskey
- Balanced & consistent
10. Chivas Regal
An award-winning brand, Chivas Regal makes scotch whiskey in Scotland’s oldest Highlands distillery. Founded all the way back in 1801 by James and John Chivas in Aberdeen, the brand is known for its 12, 18, and 25 year old blends. Depending on your preference, you can grab a bottle for $33-$125.
- Blended scotch whiskey
- 100 year-old brand
- Top shelf & everyday options
How To Shop For The Best Whiskey Brands
Whether you’re familiar with high-end whiskey or not, choosing your next pick from the best whiskey brands requires a bit of thought. Consider these points while browsing.
You’ve probably heard of most, if not all, of the best whiskey brands before. And more likely than not, you’re partial to one over another. Are you looking for American-made whiskey? If so, a few here fit the bill. Or do you want something with a long history? I’ve got you covered.
With higher quality often comes a higher price tag. While some of the everyday options on this list of best whiskey brands are still high quality, I’ve included many with exceptional quality too—after all, we’re talking about the best here.
All prices quoted here are for 750 ml bottles, but if you shop online, you’ll find some brands that offer larger and smaller sizes—though, not all of them do. So, figure out your preferred size and go from there. More affordable brands tend to have options for smaller bottles of whiskey.
Many of the names on this list of best whiskey brands age their spirits for 12–18 years. However, some don’t. Also, many use double casking methods, while some use single. If you’re not sure what you’d like, I recommend reading up on what these processes mean for flavor.
A few of the best whiskey brands offer flavored whiskeys—for example Peach Tea—while others stick to developing flavors through casking (i.e. using sherry casks). If you’re looking for a flavorful traditional whiskey, all of the names mentioned here make them.
With that said, their flavors differ greatly. If you’re a fan of sweet whiskey, go for one made from corn. If you love the depth malt brings, opt for single malt.
Aging whiskey helps to lessen harsh flavors normally experienced with alcohol. The longer something is aged, the smoother in taste it will be. Brands often use aging as an opportunity to give their whiskeys unique tastes, and they use bourbon or sherry barrels to add subtle flavors over time.
Looking for an everyday whiskey? If so, I have a handful of options for you here, though I made sure to include some higher-end whiskeys for special occasions.
What Is Considered The Best Tasting Whiskey Brand?
This is a tough one. It seems that no whiskey expert comes to an agreement, though I saw The Balvenie at the top of lists frequently. Maker’s Mark is also highly rated—especially considering its price.
What Is The Smoothest Brand Of Whiskey?
Macallan is said to be an exceptionally smooth whiskey. Also, a name that wasn’t on my list of best whiskey brands that still popped up frequently was Auchentoshan 21-year-old, which is said to be fruity, sweet, and chocolaty—so it’s a great choice for those new to whiskey.
What Is the Best Whiskey To Sip?
The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 is a joy to sip straight. With pronounced flavors and a smooth taste, it’s made to be enjoyed as is. So, please don’t mix it with Coke.
Is The Best Whiskey Better With Age?
Since aging mellows the harsh flavors of raw alcohol, aged whisky will, by nature, taste smoother. This process also gives makers the chance to add special flavors gently over time for a more distinguished taste.
Thinking of upgrading your whiskey? If so, any of the best whiskey brands are sure to please. With both everyday and premium options, there’s a bottle that will suit anyone’s preference.
Whether you’re looking to make a casual Friday night cocktail or sip yours on special occasions, I hope you enjoy the smooth, distinct flavors that these top whiskeys provide.
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