Whiskey is one of the most popular liquors in the world. In fact, it’s estimated that over 55 million cases of whiskey were sold in the United States in 2017 alone! And that number is only going to grow as whiskey becomes more and more popular.
If you want to be ahead of the curve, make sure you have some of the top whiskey brands in your liquor cabinet before the year ends. In this blog post, we will discuss the best whiskeys that have won many prestigious awards and are recognized by experts worldwide!
Our Top Picks
Best Scotch: Deanston 18-Year-Old Highland Single Malt
1. Best Scotch: Deanston 18-Year-Old Highland Single Malt
Deanston Distillery was formerly an industrious cotton mill that was transformed into a whisky distillery. It was founded by Brodie Hepburn, the only person who saw huge potential in the old establishment.
Their Highland scotch whisky is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 18 years in a cool weaving shed of the original mill. This shed has meter-thick walls and roofing that ensures steady temperature and maturation.
The Deanston 18-Year-Old Highland Single Malt has been named Whiskey of the Year 2022 by The Whiskey Exchange and gained 95 points in the 2022 International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC). It also garnered a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2021 and a Silver Medal at the World Whiskies Awards 2019.
ABV: 46.3% | Region: Perthshire, Scotland | Age: 18 Years | Aroma: Floral, malty, and vanilla, with American oak notes and hints of tobacco and nutmeg | Palate: Sweet, spicy, gingerbread, Manuka honey, and white pepper
2. Best Irish: Jameson Whiskey
Founded by John Jameson in 1780, the original version of this Irish whiskey has been a best seller in online and physical stores. This liquor only uses the best ingredients and is triple distilled to achieve that notable smoothness. It’s also aged in oak casks for a minimum of 4 years and bottled carefully.
Jameson whiskey’s popularity and rich and deep flavor garnered the Double Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2021. Because of its versatility, this Irish whiskey can be drunk in any way—neat, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails!
ABV: 40% | Region: Ireland | Age: Under 4 Years | Aroma: Clear, mellow pot still with toasted wood and sherry undertones | Palate: Distinctively smooth and sweet with mild woody and nutty notes
3. Best Canadian: Crown Royal Noble Collection Winter Wheat Blended Whisky
The Crown Royal Noble Collection Winter Wheat is a limited-edition Canadian whisky with a unique mash bill of 51% winter wheat, 39% corn, and 10% malted barley.
This 6th expression variant of the distiller’s Noble Collection is carefully matured in American white oak barrels, which help create the buttery quality of winter wheat and complex flavors—a well-balanced and truly delicious spirit!
It won Canada’s Best Whisky, Best Blended Whisky, and Sippin’ Whisky of the Year, awarded by the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2022.
ABV: 45% | Region: Gimli, Canada | Aroma: Praline, banana bread, and toasted oak | Palate: Creamy bread pudding, toffee flavors with cinnamon and toasted oak finish
4. Best Japanese: Suntory Hibiki 21-Year-Old Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki 21-Year-Old Japanese Whisky is an elegant, sweet, and complex dram that has a bronze amber color. This super rare collectible is one of the well-known Hibiki (meaning “harmony”) Series in Suntory’s line of whiskies.
This series was launched in 1989 to celebrate Suntory’s 90th Anniversary and is blended with a harmonious myriad of malt and grain that creates rich flavors and aromas. As Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky, we believe Hibiki 21-Year-Old is a must-have for any whiskey enthusiast.
Some of Hibiki’s awards include Best Japanese Blended Whisky 2020 and the World’s Best Blended Whiskey from 2010-2019 (World Whiskies Awards).
ABV: 43% | Region: Japan | Age: 21 Years | Aroma: Cooked fruit, blackberry, ripe banana, and caramel | Palate: Dried apricot, sandalwood, honeycomb, and Japanese oak (Mizunara)
5. Best Tennessee Whiskey: Jack Daniel's 10-Year-Old
Founded in 1864, Jack Daniel’s is known for producing famous whiskeys for over 150 years. They introduced the popular Old No. 7, their charcoal signature Tennessee whiskey.
Jack Daniel's 10-Year-Old is the first aged-stated whiskey from the brand in over 100 years. It is an evolution of the past whiskey process since this Tennessee whiskey has been aged in their barrelhouse.
It is then regularly relocated to the lower floors of several barrel houses to lengthen the aging process for 10 long summers. Along with the aging process, this method creates an exquisite, rich, and special character for the whiskey.
ABV: 48.5% | Region: Tennessee, USA | Age: 10 Years | Aroma: Red, dark fruit with oak notes and cinnamon | Palate: Dry, spicy flavor with hints of tobacco and chocolate
6. Best Single Cask Single Malt: Stalla Dhu Caol Ila 11-Year-Old
Stalla Dhu, owned by the CGar Ltd., is a unique and limited collection of single cask and single malt whiskey from Scotland’s finest distilleries. Stalla Dhu is a Scottish Gaelic name that means “Black Cliff,” while Caol Ila (pronounced as “cull-eela”) is the distillery’s name located on the Northern Eastern shores of Islay.
Made and distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2020, CGar only released 287 bottles of Stalla Dhu Caol Ila. To achieve the unique flavors of this top-quality scotch whisky, CGar gives a lot of value to the housing where these liquors are aged by letting it sit in carefully-made wood casks, then selecting the appropriate ABV fitting for their taste profile.
This process creates intense flavors that made the Caol Ila win numerous awards, such as a Silver Award in the London Spirits Competition 2022, World’s Best Best Single Cast Single Malt 12 Years & Under 2022, Silver Award Spirit (94 points) in the International Whisky & Spirits Competition 2021.
ABV: 60% | Region: Islay, Scotland | Age: 11 Years | Aroma: Citrus, tropical, fruity notes with slightly burnt wood embers | Palate: Lightly salted sweetness, white pepper notes, citrus, with toasted almonds notes
7. Best Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon: Blanton's The Original Whiskey
Colonel Blanton discovered that metal is an insulator and transfers heat faster than traditional brick warehouses. This material accelerates the aging process, which is how Blanton’s whiskeys are made.
To fully enjoy the flavors of this Kentucky straight bourbon, we recommend drinking it neat or on the rocks.
ABV: 46.5% | Region: Kentucky, USA | Age: Under 12 Years | Aroma: Nutmeg, butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel, banana, and spices | Palate: Dry, rich notes of vanilla, caramel, and corn
8. Best Rye: Millstone 100
As a multi-awarded rye whiskey brand, Millstone 100 believes in creating the finest spirits using purely natural and raw ingredients. Zuidam Distillers ensure that all flavors come together perfectly without artificial tastes, colors, or aromas.
This top whiskey brand is distilled from the Netherlands and is made with 100% rye grain. Distilled using the small pot method, this liquor is matured for 100 months in 100% new American oak barrels and then bottled at 50% alcohol (100 proof).
ABV: 50% | Region: Netherlands | Aged: 8 Years | Aroma: Rye grain, floral, and spice with butter and cinnamon | Palate: Light, spicy, and buttery flavor with cinnamon hint
9. Best Pot Still: Teeling Wonders of Wood Irish Whiskey
This limited-edition single pot still whiskey is made from 50% malted barley and 50% unmalted grains, which have been triple distilled at Dublin’s distillery for extra quality control. Plus, it is matured in virgin Chinkapin American white oak casks and produced without chill filtration.
Teeling’s Wonders of Wood series won the Best Single Pot Still Whiskey Award in 2022 and the World Best Single Malt in 2019. In addition to the brand’s achievement, their global ambassador, Rob Caldwell, was named the “World’s Best Irish Brand Ambassador.”
ABV: 50% | Region: Dublin, Ireland | Aroma: Sweet toffee and butterscotch with caramel and wood tannins | Palate: Ginger spices and banana bread with a velvety cream soda taste
10. Best Flavored: Whiskeysmith Co. Blood Orange Whiskey
Created and produced by the Old Elk Distillery, the Whiskeysmith Co. Blood Orange won the World Whiskies Awards’ Best Flavored Whiskey.
Its inception was inspired by the creators’ love for whiskey and sweets. Aside from the Blood Orange variant, the other available whiskey flavors are Chocolate, Banana, Pineapple, Salted Caramel, Peach, and Coconut—there’s something for everyone!
This flavored whiskey is best consumed straight and is a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts who love Whiskey Sours, Hot Toddy, Old-Fashioned, Sazerac, Manhattan, Bloody Negronis, Blood Orange Margarita, and the like.
ABV: 30% | Region: Colorado, USA | Aroma: Zesty and citrusy with warm vanilla and spicy undertones | Palate: Caramel, glazed orchard fruits, and red licorice
11. Best Bourbon: Redemption Barrel Proof 10-Year-Old
This American high rye bourbon got its creative inspiration from the bold, spicy “rye-forward” whiskey of the Pre-Prohibition era. Its distillers, the Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits, wanted to bring back the flavors of what was once known as America’s #1 spirit.
Redemption Barrel Proof 10-Year-Old Bourbon flexes a smooth, warm, and rich taste bursting with rye flavors. Plus, it boasts a dark gold color with a touch of beautiful crimson specks. It is also an award-winning non-Kentucky whiskey that Indiana is proud of.
It has won several accolades, including Best Bourbon, and is a Category Winner in the 2022 World Whiskies Awards and Double Gold in the 2021 New York International Spirit Competition. In addition, this American rye bourbon gained 94 points in the 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
ABV: 57% | Region: Indiana, USA | Age: 10 Years | Aroma: Vanilla oak with seasoned balsamic and violets | Palate: Honey, toffee, and roasted nut with a spicy rye backbone
12. Best Blended Malt: Yamazakura Asaka Sherry Wood Reserve
Asaka Distillery, owned by Sasanokawa Shuzo Co., is the oldest Japanese Whisky manufacturer which obtained its license to produce this spirit in 1946—after World War II.
Located in Fukushima Prefecture in the Tōhoku region of Honshu, this distillery is the producer of the prestigious blended malt whiskey, Yamazakura Asaka, which won the 2022 World Whiskies Awards.
This limited edition blended malt only produced 440 bottles worldwide, making it perfect for those who enjoy collecting highly sought-after Japanese whiskies. Also, this alcoholic drink is not chill-filtered or colored.
ABV: 50% | Region: Honshu, Japan | Aroma: Honey, apple, and lemon | Palate: Wood-forward finish with toasted oak and malt notes
13. Best Blended Shosho: The Akkeshi Whisky
The Akkeshi Blended Whisky is one of the few Japanese whiskies that made it to the Top of the World’s Best Whiskies.
Inspired by the ancient Asian calendar with 24 solar seasons, Akkeshi Distillery released its fourth edition, shosho, which involves bottling the whisky at the end of the summer when temperatures start to drop.
This shosho series is limited to only 10,000 bottles and is distilled meticulously with Akkeshi malt and imported grains that are aged from scratch. It also uses the fresh water from the nearby river, Homakai, that runs through a marsh where water crowfoot grows (flowers that grow only in pure waters).
The spirit is then aged in rare and difficult-to-find ex-bourbon, sherry casks, and Japanese oak cases, giving this spirit its intense, unique flavors that Japanese whisky connoisseurs love.
ABV: 48% | Region: Hokkaido, Japan | Aged: Under 4 Years | Aroma: Manuka honey, butter fudge, marmalade, and bonfire | Palate: Citrus acidity and sugar sweetness with hints of white pepper, dry salt, and citrus bitter
14. Best Tasmanian Whisky: Sullivans Cove French Oak Single Cask
One of the world’s most sought-after whiskies, the Sullivans Cove French Oak Single Cask Tasmanian Whisky became a world-renowned legend when it coveted the Best Single Cask Single Malt in 2019 and World’s Best Single Malt at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards.
This liquor is made using 100% pure Tasmanian water (one of the cleanest waters in the world) and 100% Tasmanian barley (one of Australia’s best barley-growing lands).
A lot of passion is poured into brewing, distilling, aging, cask selecting, and bottling this small batch of whisky, creating only rich flavors of spices, chocolate, dried fruit, and intense oak notes—it’s like Christmas in a bottle!
ABV: 47.5% | Region: Tasmania, Australia | Aroma: Rich dark chocolate, cinnamon, and raisins | Palate: Lingering herbal oak and Christmas pudding finish
15. Best Straight Malt: Spirit Hound Whiskey
As a flagship product of Spirit Hound Distillers, this Colorado whiskey is made entirely from Alamosa-grown malt. It uses fresh Rocky Mountain water with an added amount of peated malt, giving it a Scottish twist.
This straight malt whiskey is aged for a minimum of 2 years in new, fresh, full-sized, charred American oak barrels. It was named Whisky of the Year at the 2022 London Spirits Competition, won Gold at the 2020 Rocky Mountain Craft Spirits Competition, and gained 88.5 and 91 ratings at the 2020 and 2019 Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Contest, respectively.
ABV: 45% | Region: Colorado, USA | Age: Minimum of 2 Years | Aroma: Butterscotch molasses and sweet caramel | Palate: Caramel and butterscotch flavors with spicy notes
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the world’s most highly acclaimed whiskeys for you to try this year. Whether you like bourbon, rye, blended, single cask, single malt, or scotch, we’ve got something for everyone!
Did we miss any of your favorite whiskeys? Let us know in the comments below. Cheers!
Top Whiskey Brands Buying Guide
When it comes to buying whiskey, there are a lot of different brands out there to choose from. We've put together this guide to the top whiskey brands, so you can make an informed decision when shopping for your next bottle.
Don’t Judge the Whiskey Base on Price
Award-winning bartender Laura Reidy notes that choosing the best whiskey is two-fold.
“First, don't let an expensive price tag convince you the juice is worth it. Sometimes the price is absolutely fair for what you're getting, either because it's from a smaller producer, has been aged for an extended period, or another variety of reasons. Sometimes you're paying for marketing. The second piece of advice is to take chances. See a bottle at the store you've never seen before? Give it a try,” she says.
Lydia Martin, Founder of Liquor Laboratory, says, “When choosing whiskey, invest wisely, and don’t be afraid to explore. We are all aware that quality whiskey comes at a price. And although it’s good to get a taste of popular and common whiskey brands, nothing beats the satisfaction of sipping the best whiskey of your preference. Only you can tell what type, brand, and/or a mix of whiskey is the best one for you.”
Learn the Types of Whiskey
According to Bobby DeMars, CEO of Blind Barrels, it always helps to know what you’re in the mood for.
“Looking for something spicy? You can’t go wrong with a Rye. Feeling sweet, head for Bourbon. Fruity and floral equals Irish, smokey Scotch, or American single malts. I typically try to find a balance between price and age statements,” he says. “If you have a favorite brand or style of whiskey, ask an expert for a comparable and give it a shot. When buying a bottle, I usually try to stay close to what I know I will like. When I’m at a restaurant or bar, I will explore more and try different things. And, most importantly, have fun!”
Know the Profile You Want and Need
Mike Campbell, Head Bartender at Bar Calico, says, “Best advice for buying whiskey is to know what you want it for before you buy it. Knowing ahead of time if you want to sip it straight, stir up spirit-forward cocktails, or shake up summer slammers will help you make the right choice.”
“Knowing what profiles you like can help you narrow down your search!” says Nadya Khoja, Resident Mixologist at Sunnyside Co. For instance, if you want to make an Old-Fashioned, a Manhattan, or Boulevardier, reach for a bottle of bourbon.
If you want a cocktail leaning a bit more on the sweet side with a balanced flavor, Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden's, or rye bourbon are great options. On the other hand, if you’re craving a smoky and peaty flavor, opt for a scotch like Laphroaig.
When you’re hosting a party with guests who aren’t fans of whiskey, the options could be Crown Royal, Canadian Club, or Bulleit Rye. If you want to pair it with cigars, perhaps choose varied scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. Some good ones are Lagavulin, Glenmorangie, and Laphroaig.
Best Whiskey FAQ
1. What is the No. 1 brand of whiskey?
Jack Daniel's remains the world’s most popular whisky, with 13 million cases sold annually. While Johnnie Walker is one of the top scotch whisky brands in the world.
2. What are the smoothest whiskey brands?
The Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Scotch Whisky is often cited as the smoothest whiskey in the world because it is intensely smoky, but not so much so that it overpowers the other flavors.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is another top choice. It's a bit sweeter than Laphroaig, with notes of vanilla and caramel. And finally, Crown Royal Blended Whisky is a fantastic option. It's light and easy to drink, with a slightly sweet flavor.
3. Which whiskey is great for beginners?
Why Trust Advanced Mixology?
We believe that our readers should have access to unbiased, well-informed reviews when deciding which products to buy, and we work hard to provide that type of content. Our editorial team is experienced and passionate about mixology and bar equipment. In addition, we often consult with industry professionals when gathering information, which gives us an insider's perspective on the products we're reviewing.