Top 10 Best Light & Smooth Whiskeys

Top 10 Best Light & Smooth Whiskeys

No matter how refined your tastes are, sometimes everybody just needs an easy drinking whiskey. When you are not in the mood for something full-bodied and complex, that is when the time comes to grab a light and smooth whiskey. Generally, the best light and smooth whiskeys are lower in ABV, older in age, and have straightforward barrels used in the aging. Do not confuse any of that with quality, however, as all of these whiskeys are some of your favorites!

Do you reach for any of these dangerously easy to drink bottles, or do you have a different dram that just goes down smooth? Drop a comment with your favorite and be sure to leave your full tasting review in the Abov App! Want even more smooth whiskey recommendations? Check out this list of the Smoothest Bourbon Whiskeys!

10. anCnoc 22 Year Old

In an ironic twist, the list of the best light and smooth whiskeys starts with the oldest of the bunch; the AnCnoc 22 Year Old. Knockdhu Distillery  is the home of the AnCnoc brand.

Once again falling into that classic combo of Bourbon and Sherry aging, a balance of oak a fruits, with a somewhat smokey finish stands out with this 22 year old bottling in AnCnoc’s core range.


9. Auchentoshan 17 Year Old

17 years seems to be the sweet spot when it comes aging single malt scotch to achieve the right balance of light and smooth flavor, as this will not be the last on our list. Coming from the Lowlands we have a delightful expression from Auchentoshan.

Distinctly aged in Bordeaux Wine casks, the fruit flavors are more dark fruit and berry driven, with a layer of vanilla sweetness. Unfortunately, this was a limited edition release, so definitely worth grabbing a pour if you are lucky enough to come across a bottle.

8. Hazelburn 12 Year Old

Fruits, honey, flower, and caramel lead the way for this classic from Campbeltown. Hazelburn is a brand distilled at the historic Springbank Distillery, which is one of the oldest surviving family owned distilleries in Campbeltown and in Scotland in general.

Hazelburn 12 is a relative new-comer to the Springbank range, first bottled in 2009. It is triple distilled and un-peated, lending to its very smooth and light flavor.

A special dram from Glenmorangie, the Astar is uniquely aged in American Oak, and specifically Missouri Ozark Oak that has been open air dried for two year.

Sweet, bright, and clean are the recurring terms that are used by Abov users to describe this single malt. Be warned, however, as although most whiskeys on this list sit between 40-45% ABV, this bottling comes in at a much higher 57.1% meaning it packs a punch. A few drops of water may serve you well to dilute it a bit and enhance the fruit-forward malt.

6. Old Pulteney 17 Year Old

A bottle from the Highlands and Old Putney with a sherry influence to bring more of that full, rich, dark fruit flavor. This is balanced with oaky, vanilla, and almond notes from the bourbon barrels.

Every whiskey on this list is different, creating a vast range of flavors that drinkers perceive as smooth and light. It appears this dram made the list mainly due its silky mouthfeel, which ups the experience of smoothness.

Shifting gears once again, this time back to Japan. The Hakushu 12 is a light single malt once again from fabled Japanese distillery, Suntory.

Reviewers have shared a very light palate on this one, with and equally light and short finish.

While the sweet fruit and mild malts may not appeal to the more experience whiskey drinkers with more robust tastes, this easy sippin Japanese single malt is perfect over ice or in a highball.

The next bottle on our list of the Top 10 Light and Smooth Whiskeys is this 18 year old single malt scotch from Highland Park. While the extra time in the barrel tends to mellow out the scotch, resulting in the perceived smoothness, this dram is a bit more complex.

Highland Park scotches offer up hints of smoke, tobacco, and leather, and tend present other more savory flavor notes.

3. Macallan 17 Year Old Fine Oak

We will up the age and price point a bit with this 17 year aged expression from Speyside staple, the Macallan. The triple cask maturation does wonders for the 17 Year Old Fine Oak bottle. These bottles feature a unique combination of sherry seasoned European and American Oak, with the third cask being a bourbon seasoned American Oak.

Scotches from the Macallan are notably sweet and smooth whiskeys, and this bottling is no exception.

Heading back to the Highlands region with the second of two entries on the list from Glenmorangie, we have the Quinta Ruban 12 Year Old. This single malt scotch is finished in Port Pipes, and is many Abov users favorite Glenmorangie bottle.

As may be expected, the port finish imparts a lot of sweetness and dark fruit characteristics offset by notes of cheese, honey, and spice ending in a very long smooth finish.

Rounding the list off in the land of the Rising Sun with a blend from Japanese powerhouse Hibiki, distilled by Suntory. Many of Hibiki’s products, as well as many Japanese whiskeys in general, are coveted for their light and delicate palate. 

As the name implies, Harmony achieve a balance of mellow fruity, floral, and chocolatey notes imparted from the American and Mizunara Oak and ex-Sherry casks.

While every whiskey drinker has their own personal preference, “Light and Smooth” is a flavor profile that many seem to seek out. Whether it’s because you are just starting to grow your palate for whiskey, or you are just looking an easy whiskey to relax with, there is no wrong way to enjoy a dram.

While the flavors won’t overwhelm, these aren’t exactly cheap pours either. Have another recommendation for whiskey to try? Leave a comment!

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