My preference would be bamboo, 2 piece, 7-1/2 foot for a 5wt, a Dickerson, Payne, or Powell maybe? But have an Orvis bamboo Far & Fine thats fun to use.
If limited to a 9 foot 5wt, then graphite Winston IM6s, in the under 43,000 s/n range where Tom Morgan had Loomis make IM6 blanks to Winston's specifications. These felt better than the 2 piece Sage LL Gen IIs that I've had. IMO the 8-1/2 foot 5wt IM6 or the WT is better for drys than a 9 foot.
I probably shouldn’t have commented back a page or two. My knowledge is out of date on dry fly specific graphite. I’ve gotten into glass the last few years and even sold the beloved WT. Fantastic as it was, seems like I always reached for something else. Now it’s usually glass unless I’m heading to the beach or fishing out of the pontoon. I am interested in some of the Burkheimer single hands, and I’d like to test drive an Epic graphite 5wt too.
You can put me in the NRX-LP camp. It really is that nice! But probably the smoothest casting is an older Orvis Superfine. It is also surprisingly versatile. I really love casting my midge tip line and stripping small nymphs on lakes. Plus, it is fun to fight fish, and the tug is the drug! Just a fun rod.
Dry fly rods should not be stiff. You won’t beat a Sage Light Line in a 4 weight or a Tom Morgan Rodsmith rod in either 4 or 5 weight. I used 5 weight rods for years, but have graduated to mostly 4 weights and found them to be more than adequate for good fish on bigger water like the Madison or Bighorn rivers...