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!
1. Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Starting 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, Japanese Harmony achieve a balance of mellow fruity, floral, and chocolatey notes imparted from the American and Mizunara Oak and ex-Sherry casks.
2. Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Year Old
Heading to the Highlands region with the first 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.
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.
4. Highland Park 18 Year Old
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.
5. Hakushu 12 Year Old
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.
6. Old Pulteney 17 Year Old
More Bourbon and Sherry aged malt from the Highlands, this time from Old Pulteney. Another bottle that ups the complexity a bit, the sherry influence definitely brings 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.
7. Glenmorangie Astar
Another 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.
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.
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 marks the third on this list. We will also continue to make our way across Scotland to the Lowlands for this bottle 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.
10. AnCnoc 22 Year Old
We will go ahead and finish of the list of the best light and smooth whiskeys 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.
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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