I have tried an Abel on the stream that was very sticky, but the owner didn't maintain his equipment very well. The least expensive reel I own has cork discs in the drag system (Okuma SLV), but they are impregnated. I've owned them for several years, and they are easily the smoothest reels I've ever tried. They've made their way back onto my rods as my go to reels, and I don't have to worry about scratching a much more expensive reel.
Actually, the SLV resist scratching pretty well!