Spirits & Liqueurs Other Whiskey

The Best World Whisk(e)y Under $75

(photo illustration: Laura Sant).

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.

  • Hibiki Japanese Harmony (Japan, $74)

    “You’ll find complex flavors in of the best Japanese whiskies for the money.”—Jose Medina Camacho, bar manager at Birmingham, Ala.'s Marble Ring

  • Nikka Coffey Grain (Japan, $57)

    “This is a fantastic introduction to Japanese whisky.”— Mike Strohm, lead bartender at Kansas City, Mo.'s The W

  • Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (Japan, $63)

    “Japanese whisky is incredibly popular right now, and the Taketsuru is affordable and not too difficult to find, which is a rare combination for Japanese whisky these days. You can use this one for sipping and mixing, if you’re so inclined.”—Jamie Boudreau, owner of and bartender at Seattle's Canon

  • Nobushi (Japan, $50)

    “This is for when you can't get Hibiki (and let's be serious, who can these days?).”—Patrick Marran, bartender at New York City's On the Rocks

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • Powers John's Lane (Ireland, $72)

    “It’s a delicious whiskey—chocolate, toffee, coconut and some gingerbread. It's nice and chewy from the time it spent in oloroso sherry casks.”—Brian Means, bartender at San Francisco's Pacific Cocktail Haven

  • Redbreast Lustau (Ireland, $70)

    “A benchmark Irish whiskey for sure and a step above the regular 12-year-old, this has consistently beat out other big hitters that are much more expensive in numerous blind tastings I've held and couldn't agree more with the result. Keep an eye out for this over the holidays.”—Jordan Joseph, bar manager at Raleigh, N.C.'s Centro and Gallo Pelón

  • Redbreast 12 Year (Ireland, $68)

    “This is still the gold standard of Irish whiskey—pot still, smooth, honey, mellow and fantastic. It’s perhaps the best spirit in its category of any in the world.”—Nathaniel David Smith, bartender at St. Paul, Minn.'s Hodges Bend and ambassador for Teeling Irish whiskey

  • Suntory Toki (Japan, $52)

    “It makes the best highball: Toki, Topo Chico and a lemon twist (bitters optional).”—Camacho