13 Best Whiskeys You’ll Find at Any Liquor Store—Ranked

For when the small-batch bourbon just isn't available

13 Best Whiskeys You’ll Find at Any Liquor Store—Ranked
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There’s never been a better time to be a whiskey drinker than right now. Limited-batch releases. Bottles featuring world-class art. Imports more difficult to track down than Carmen Sandiego. No two ways about it: we’re in the golden era of golden liquid. (Think of it like the craft beer renaissance, but with a bit more burn and a way, way higher APV.)

Thing is—and don’t get us wrong for a second, we’re huge fans of the trend—sometimes you don’t want something fancy. Sometimes you just want Burger King.

Well, that’s where these whiskeys come in. No, they’re by no means the best of the best. (Sorry, Jack Daniels.) But they are the best of the rest, the type of stuff that won’t let you down, the type of stuff you can find at any liquor store in any town in America. If you need a bottle on the quick—for a party, for a gift, for an end-of-a-rough-day balm—you won’t go wrong with any below. Cheers.

13
Kessler American Whiskey

best whiskeys

Back in the 1880s, Julius Kessler himself deemed his whiskey “smooth as silk” and today the brand still stands behind that claim. They also use the exact same production method as the company’s founder did, which results in a gorgeous golden blended option that has earned its place among the top selling whiskeys in the country. Fun fact: Mr. Kessler supposedly used his sharp skills as a salesman while visiting one saloon at a time to sell more whiskey than any other man during his prime.

12
Jura 18-Year-Old

best whiskeys

From $149, buy now on drizly.com

When sampling this unique 18-year-old rosewood gold whiskey from Jura—which is not only the brand’s name, but also the remote island off the West Coast of Scotland that the company calls home—the first thing you’ll notice is a rich aroma of tropical fruits, cinnamon, and toffee. However, when you take a sip, you’ll also notice hints of black forest fruit, cocoa, and coffee, followed by cedar, nutmeg, and even white pepper. Not your average whiskey, Jura will no doubt make an intriguing addition to your tasting party. And for that, it’s one of the best whiskeys to include. 

11
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

best whiskeys

From $39, buy now on drizly.com

The first Canadian contender to earn recognition as the World Whisky of the Year in “Jim Murray’s Annual Whisky Bible 2016,” Gimli, Manitoba’s Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye not only boasts oak and vanilla notes, but also butterscotch and peppery hints that end with an almost creamy finish. In the aroma, you’ll pick up woody spices and even cereal surely due to the distinctive flavor of the area’s rye grain that’s used to produce this popular whiskey.

10
Buchanan’s Scotch Whiskey

best whiskeys

From $49, buy now on drizly.com

Back in 1898, James Buchanan officially became the man responsible for providing the British royal household with Buchanan’s Whiskey for the enjoyment of Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. If it was good enough for the palace, then surely it’s good enough for your next tasting party. The company currently offers a stellar range of whiskeys, including Buchanan’s Deluxe 12-year-old, Buchanan’s Special Reserve 18-year-old, and Buchanan’s Master, which uses a combination of malts from each of the country’s renowned whiskey-producing regions.

9
Sullivans Cove French Oak Cask

While many of the other options on this list are relatively affordable, Sullivans Cove French Oak Cask leans on the pricier side at around $350 per bottle. But if you’re going to splurge on at least one whiskey, then you’ll surely want to spend your money on one that’s highly regarded and highly awarded. Taking in more honors than it’s possible to mention, the company describes its single malt whiskey as “a legend in its own right, one of the most sought-after whiskeys in the world, and the bottle that put the Australian whisky industry on the map.” Big words that are backed up by bold flavors made up of oak, chocolate, dried fruit, and Christmas spice (think fruitcake and dark toffee). 

8
Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky

best whiskeys

From $59, buy now on drizly.com

If you’re eyeing Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, then you need to know a little more about both the red and black labels. The first option offers powerful and vibrant spicy flavors that lead to softer hints of vanilla as well as a smoky finish. The black label is a smoothly balanced whiskey (or technically “whisky” without the ‘e’ since it hails from Scotland) that is aged for at least 12 years.

7
Maker’s Mark 46

 

From $39, buy now on drizly.com

Maker’s 46 was the brand’s first new major whiskey created at their distillery since the company’s founding family first started production back in 1953. The smooth taste and bold flavor notes of vanilla and caramel that make up this whiskey’s character are apparently due in part to the toasted, charred, and seared French oak staves (or wood planks) that are used as part of the casks during the aging process.

6
Balvenie 12-Year-Old DoubleWood Scotch Whisky

best whiskeys

From $69, buy now on drizly.com

The Balvenie uses a multi-cast process to produce their scotch whiskey. That means the DoubleWood spends its first 12 years in traditional American Oak ex-bourbon barrels and hogsheads whiskey casts before being transferred to Spanish oak ex-Oloroso sherry casks for nine more months. The whiskey then spends another three or four months in massive oak tuns. In the end, tasters are left with a smooth nutty, cinnamon flavor with a warm finish.

5
Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

best whiskeys

From $35, buy now on drizly.com

Another whiskey that’s aged for 12 years in order to reach the point of perfection, this single malt whiskey from one of the industry’s most awarded leaders, Glenfiddich, matures in American bourbon and Spanish sherry oak casks before mellowing in oak marrying tuns. While the result will allow you to enjoy the subtle oak flavor that you expect from a fine whiskey, you’ll also notice a somewhat surprising and pleasant hint of pear.

4
Lagavulin 16

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From $79, buy now on drizly.com

If you’re not able to get your hands on a Laphroaig whiskey (sorry, friend!), then you should definitely consider picking up a bottle of Lagavulin for your next tasting party. Their amber gold 16-year-old offering has a comparable sweet flavor that also has a salty hint thanks to seaweed, peaty smokiness, and woody touches. 

3
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

best whiskeys

From $35, buy now on drizly.com

Jack Daniel’s is undeniably one of the most popular and recognizable American whiskeys around and is the perfect classic option for any tasting party. To achieve the hints of vanilla and caramel as well as an oaky edge, Old No. 7 is first mellowed by using 10-feet of sugar maple charcoal before being matured in handcrafted barrels until experts deem that the whiskey is ready, based on its appearance, aroma, and taste. The company suggests you take note of the same aspects when tasting Old No. 7 for yourself.

2
Bulleit Rye Whiskey

best whiskeys

This award-winning straight rye whiskey which was first released to a competitive yet eager market in 2011 continues to earn accolades and gain recognition thanks to its smooth flavor. Dominated by hints of vanilla, honey, and spice, your guests will also appreciate the clean finish that allows the fine taste to linger.

1
Laphroaig 10-Year-Old

best whiskeys

From $49, buy now on drizly.com

This 10-year-old option—which is the base of the brand’s full range—hails from Scotland and has a rich and full-bodied smoky flavor thanks to malted barley which is dried over a fire that is fuelled by peat which comes from the Islay area. If that’s not unique enough, this whiskey also offers a sweetness that is combined with a hint of salty seaweed. Yes, seaweed.

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