You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.
Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.
Kavalan Concertmaster (Taiwan, $76)
“It’s a port-finished malt—can't go wrong!”—Patrick Marran, bartender at New York City's On the Rocks
Midleton Dair Ghaelach (Ireland, $249)
“The woodiness of this whiskey puts it a head above many other whiskeys, regardless of category.”—Marran
Nicolas Palazzi Overseas (Spain, $98)
“Distilled in Scotland and finished in sherry casks in Spain, this is an extremely unique take on a classic production method. Keep your eyes on Nicolas Palazzi. Everything he does has incredible purpose.”—Michael J. Huebner, beverage director at Denver's Zeppelin Station
Paul John Peated Select Cask (India, $80)
“For people to ease their way into smoky scotch, this whiskey imports the peat from Islay for a very smooth and drinkable success.”—MarranContinue to 5 of 8 below.
Suntory Hakushu 12 Year (Japan, $200)
“It’s one of my personal favorites for sipping on the rocks but also for some delicious twists on an Old Fashioned (celery, salted green matcha, honey, Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6 and Hakushu 12 Year). This whisky has some amazing green notes and is very crispy. Salud!”—Mcson Salicetti, CEO and co-founder of New York City's Salicetti Cubed Consulting
Suntory Hibiki 17 Year (Japan, $795)
“This is my favorite whisky. It hits every region of the palette, with very slight smokiness.”—Mike Strohm, lead bartender at Kansas City, Mo.'s The W
Suntory Yamazaki 25 Year (Japan, $6,720)
“I Iove the elegance of Japan’s whiskies and the amazing aesthetics of its packaging, and the rare Yamazaki 25 Year is no exception. This bottle is great for the consumer and collector, as this bottle is known to jump in price given some time.”—Jamie Boudreau, owner of and bartender at Seattle's Canon