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7 Smoothest Bourbons to Sip

When looking for a whiskey to sip neat, bourbon seekers will often use the adjective “smooth” to describe what they want. Smoothness in bourbon is usually characterized by ease of sipping — a dram that goes down effortlessly, delivering sweet flavors without leaving a wince on the imbiber’s face.

The smoothest bourbons will typically have relatively low proofs — between 80 and 100 — and low rye content, as rye typically imparts a bite of spiciness.

If you’re looking for a smooth bourbon to sip neat or add to an easygoing cocktail, we’ve got you covered with seven great options spanning multiple price ranges.

1792 Bottled in Bond

Smoothest Bourbons

Distilled by Barton for the 1792 line, this release is a smooth sipper due to its lack of heat on the palate despite its 100-proof status. While the label doesn’t bear a discrete age statement, we know it’s at least 4 years old, due to the bottled-in-bond designation. This bourbon is a banana bomb, with additional notes of caramel, honey and almond.

1792 Bottled in Bond can be a bit tough to track down in some parts of the U.S., but keep your eye out for it.

Woodford Reserve

Smoothest Bourbons
Woodford Reserve’s flagship bourbon brings notes of sweet cream, honey and vanilla with a thin to moderate mouthfeel. This is a solid bottling without much complexity. It does have a bit more heat than some of the other bourbons on this list, but it’s a pretty easy sipper nonetheless.

Find Woodford Reserve Bourbon for $44 on ReserveBar.

Maker’s Mark

Maker's Mark
Maker’s Mark is an affordable, easy-to-find bourbon that’s great in any bourbon-based cocktail and makes for a good sipper.

Bottled at 45% ABV, Maker’s Mark is a light bourbon with minimal heat. This isn’t an exceptional bourbon, but it doesn’t perform poorly and certainly won’t disappoint for its price.

Find Maker’s Mark for about $23.49 (price varies by location) at Total Wine or ship it from ReserveBar for $37.

Old Elk Wheated Bourbon

Smoothest Bourbons
Old Elk Wheated Bourbon, distilled by Greg Metze for MGP in Indiana and bottled by Greg Metze for Old Elk in Colorado, is aged 5 years and bottled at 46% ABV. This expression has tons of character and is a well-balanced orchestra of oak, sweetness and light fruit. This is a lovely bourbon. If you’re going to try one bourbon on this list, it should be this one.

Find Old Elk Wheated Bourbon at Total Wine.

Driftless Glen Bourbon

Smoothest Bourbons
This bourbon comes to us from an unusual source: Baraboo, Wisconsin. Distilled and matured entirely on the Driftless Glen campus, this whiskey pulls water from a natural aquifer and is distilled using local grain. It’s aged in standard barrels and bottled at 48% ABV. This bourbon is sweet on the nose, with moderate viscosity, brown butter, toffee, honey and peppercorns on the palate. But the finish is where this bourbon shines, with a dry, clean close.

This is one of the more overlooked bourbon whiskeys on the shelf, likely due to its Wisconsin heritage. Despite coming from a newer distiller (founded in 2014), it drinks like a mature whiskey with no shortage of great character.

Find Driftless Glen in retail locations in more than 20 states for about $35. See where you can find it here.

Old Forester Signature

Old Forester
This is a 50%-ABV release from Louisville distillery Old Forester. It features vanilla, cinnamon and banana bread on the nose, followed by more vanilla and banana and some mild heat on the palate. The finish is short but well-blended. For the price, this is a great bourbon, and at 50% ABV, it’s great neat as the core of your favorite whiskey cocktail.

Find Old Forester for $37 from ReserveBar.

Angel’s Envy

Angel's Envy
Angels Envy is a port-finished bourbon whiskey produced by Louisville distillery Angel’s Envy. Angel’s Envy is best known for finishing its bourbons in port wine casks. The result is an interesting bourbon with jammy wine flavors. This expression is thin on the palate but jammy and sweet. Notes of toffee, nutmeg, strawberry jam and cinnamon are present on the palate.

Find Angel’s Envy Port Finished Bourbon for $58 from ReserveBar.

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