Replacing MacBook Air 2014 in 2022

I have a MacBook Air 11-inch 2014. It runs Big Sur and it is stuck there (not Monterey or Ventura) so I can guess I have security updates for another year (to autumn 2023). This means I am beginning to look for a new MacBook, but I am not desperate.

My 11-inch was bough as an outgoing model, discounted, sometime in 2015 so it has given me 7 years of good use so far. When I bought it I paid not so little extra money get 8GB of RAM (instead of std 4GB) but I left it at standard 128GB of SSD. Later I have bought a 256GB minimal USB-key that is constantly plugged in for a total of 384GB of storage.

Looking at Apples baseline today (autumn 2022) that is 8/256 GB, twice as much as it was 8 years ago (where is Moores Law?). Using the same logic as in 2015 I would be buying the M1 Air with 16/256.

Apple Support

Apple typically supports a computer for 7 years, then releasing security updates for another 2 years. But this is no rule. Some models are luckier than others. We may assume the M1 Air will be abandoned before the M2 Air. But it could be different. Maybe Apple will support Apple silicon indefinitely because of environmental reasons. Maybe the M4 will be very different, and M1-M3 will all be dropped with the same future release of macOS. We do not know.

My 2014-Air is approching end of support. But I have to admit that is not the only reason I want to replace it.

Apple Upgrades

Apple computers can not be upgraded when it comes to RAM, SSD or CPU. And Apple charges quite much for upgrades when you order. So it may make more sense to buy a computer that will last you for a few years (and a little longer if you are lucky) than to pay much extra for a computer that may last a few more years (if it is still alive and supported).

Being Cheap Strategies

Assuming you want value-for-money when you buy a new Apple laptop there are a few strategies:

Buy the cheapest (outgoing) model that can support your needs today. Since Apple computers are relatively expensive this gives you all advantages of a Mac and a new computer at the lowest price. This is also a wise choice in the sense that the computer may fail, be lost or be accidentally broken.

Buy a discounted (outgoing) more premium model that can be expected to be useful for longer. The drawback is primarily that the computer will be supported by Apple for a shorter time after you bought it.

Buy a new model just when it shows up. Apple keeps models for 18 months or longer, and rarely lowers the prices much. So it makes sense to wait until they release new models and buy them immediately. This maximizes Apple support time.

Regardless, the best time to buy a Mac is when new models just came out.

Right now, Autumn 2022, is not the best time based on the above. But we have a situation with inflation (and I would guess the upcoming M2 Pro and M3 Air will be more expensive than current lineup) and recession (Black Friday offers may be unusually good 2022).

As the M2 Air was introduced this year I looked at it and decided to keep my 11-inch 2014 until the M3 Air is introduced in the future, but a good enough Black Friday deal could perhaps change my mind.

Apple compters can not be upgraded (RAM/SSD). The problem with future-proofing by buying a very expensive computer (say M1 Ultra, 32/2048) is that it may take several years until you have any need for it, and by that time it may be the wrong thing anyway (or it has broken). Paying for a 2TB SSD today that you will not make use of until 3-4 years, or never, is simply not so smart.

My 2014-Air and Requirements

The status of my 11-inch 2014 is:

  • 8GB RAM is enough for now
  • 128GB SSD is too little, mini USB-key helps
  • Screen 1366×768 is beginning to feel underwhelming (as is webcam)
  • Approaching end of support
  • Can not use my iPad as second screen

So when I bought the 2014-Air I knew these things and I knew it would perhaps last so long. In that perspective, 7 years of service is good.

What are my new requirements?

  • RAM
    • 8GB would currently be ok, but I doubt it is a smart buy
    • 16GB is ok
    • 32GB would be for a need or usecase I am not aware of today (I have a Windows computer for playing games with 32GB of RAM)
  • SSD
    • 256GB – I could squeeze myself down from 384GB, but it feels wrong
    • 512GB is ok for needs as I know them today
    • 1024GB would allow me to not think so much about storage organisation as I do today
    • I have a NAS and other computers, so I can work with less SSD, and I do not really need 1024GB of high-performance storage.
  • CPU
    • I currently do not do any CPU-intensive tasks where M1, M1 Pro or M2 would make a significant difference

The problem with CPU is… that it is currently the most limiting factor of my 2014-Air (i5@1.4Ghz), but no other laptops in 2015 would really have made a difference today anyway. When you are out of SSD, or when you are out of RAM, it really limits you and you need to replace the maching or change how your work with it. When your CPU gets old it is just a slightly degraded experience. What my computer is not capable of is to use my iPad as a second display, and that is just because it is a too old generation.

What options do I have today?

M2 Air 16/1024GB: this would be a convenient choice. However it is so expensive (twice as expensive as the computer it replaces).

M1 Air 16/1024: this would be a reasonable choice at a good discount. But this is a computer that already used 2 years of expected support. Buying it at full price (which is cheaper than the M2 Air) would have made sense when it was just released but not today.

M1 Air 16/256: At a good discount, this is the equivalent decision of buying my current 2014-Air in 2015, which turned out ok.

M1 Pro 14-inch 16/512: This is a machine that I usually consider too expensive (because I can lose it, pour Coca Cola in it, or it may just break after warranty). However at a good discount it definitely seems to give value for money.

M1/M2 Pro 13 Inch: This machine would be a “pro” option if it had SD-slot and Magsafe.

Black Friday Discounts

I live in Sweden so the prices are in SEK. Black Friday season has started and we see lower prices. But given that these are models that are 1-2 years old, to me it looks more like an adjustment for an older product than a real bargain.

The M1 Pro is down to 5/6 of the price. But what if that gives you just 5 years of supported usage instead of 6? Then I basically pay the same per day of usage, but I missed the first year when the model was the best. On the other hand, if the Pro is the right way to go (14-inch, better loudspeakers, SD-slot), this may be the last opportunity ever to pick up a Pro at this price point.

Models and prices

I have to say that Magsafe is something I really want. I am so happy Apple brought it back (otherwise I could considera Dell XP13 at a great Black Friday price). So M1 Air is a bit off the table.

I also like the idea of an SD-slot, not only to import photos now and then, but also to use for extra semi-permanent storage in the future.

Given what this looks like the only thing that tempts me is an M1 Pro.

M1 AirM1 ProM2 Air
16/1024 (10 Core)29990
SD-Slot (and HDMI)Yes
Age / Support-2 years-1 years
Better Display & AudioYes
Faster CPU/GPUYesYes

Switching from Ubuntu to Fedora

I have been using Ubuntu since 6.06 I think, and before that I mostly used Debian. Before that I used Slackware, and I have occasionally tried Red Hat Linux (version 6 or 7, not RHEL) long ago as well.

I have mostly used Xubuntu because it is light, clean, traditional desktop-minded, and somewhat similar to macOS, and my current Linux PC is a Hades Canyon that I installed Xubuntu 19.10 to. That Xubuntu has been updated a few times, lastly from 22.04 to 22.10, and while I like a Debian based system there are somethings that have bugged me:

  • HDMI Audio got noisy after upgrading to 22.10 (this used to be a problem earlier)
  • Audio IN (and Bluetooth Audio) has never worked well with Xubuntu.
  • Some I/O errors/warnings occasionally when booting, no real problems though
  • Background image in Xubuntu sometimes is replaced with a generic background, and a few days later it came back (not feeling 100% solid)
  • Firefox is SNAP, updated separately and manually (so I get a notification to close the browser, but that does not update it, so I have to do a manual update and then restart my browser)

Some of these problems are perhaps caused by a system having been updated for several versions over a few years so it was anyway time for a clean install.

The HDMI noise was something I could not tolerate so I tried a Live Ubuntu 22.10 USB, and that worked fine. But I have recently read some things that made me curious about Fedora so I tried a Fedora 37 Live USB as well, and that also gave me good audio out. Both come with a new version of Gnome (Fedora more standard than Ubuntu).


I have never really been a Gnome fan. Checking out the Live USBs I realise that Windows 11, Gnome and ChromeOS are surprisingly similar. And in a way they are all pretty similar to macOS.

Deep inside I would like to use the Awesome Window manager. But I am not really willing to pay the price of learning and of not having the convenience (of a modern desktop). I have not tried Awesome so I do not really know.

So I am willing to give Gnome a chance instead of lingering on Xfce and Xubuntu. Those people who design Gnome must hate high information density – I have a problem with that.

Advantage Fedora

Given I want to try Gnome I see some advantages with Fedora:

  • No Firefox-SNAP-situation
  • Standard Gnome
  • Wayland (?) – at least it makes me curious
  • Trying something new

A few days with Fedora

Installing Fedora 37 (BETA) was easy. I few thoughts after a few day:

  • My immediate impression is that Wayland (or Gnome) is faster than X11/Xfce. There is a snappier more immediate feeling to the UI.
  • Pressing the start-button on the keyboard, and the clicking a common application or searching for anything is not so bad (like Chrome OS and Windows 11).
  • Even though the information density is low there is little cognitive noise. When running the browser, the tabs are on top of the window and Gnome itself occupies minimal space, I like that.
  • Settings windows is dead simple, very much like ChromeOS but even more minimalistic. Appearance: I can change background image and light/dark theme. That is it. Change the font or font size of window headers? Nope.
  • Audio Input on the Hades Canyon NUC is still not working properly/easily. Perhaps a USB headset would work, I have none available to try.
  • On shutting down the computer it asks me if I want to install updates before it powers off – this feels like the right thing to do.
  • The new package manager seems nice, I used it to install node.js, and it seems solid.

On my Mac there is an application called Performance Monitor. In Gnome I have System Monitor. This is for a technical audience but System Monitor in Gnome feels underwhelming. This is where I would like higher information density, options to dock it the the menu (or something), and simply a better application. Honestly, Task Manager in Windows NT4 felt more professional.

On my Mac there is the “About this Mac” menu option. I like it much. I can immediately see details about my computer, both hardware and OS. It would make so much (more so than in macOS) sense to have this in Fedora: RAM chips, CPU model, Motherboard model, Installed hard drives, GPU model and VRAM, and so on. And what is my Gnome version? It may sound like a joke, but then you want to install and configure stable-diffusion and you need to know you GPU spec.

In the “Software” application I can see that there is a kernel update from to But it does not tell me I am on Fedora 37. And lsb_release is not available, as it is on Ubuntu.

I suppose it is possible to install more things and configure Gnome to make it a bit more tech-savy.

Stable Diffusion – Playing with parameters

It is fun to make images with Stable Diffusion, but it is also frustrating when the result is not what you expect and it takes long time generate new pictures.

I have been playing with the cpu-only-branch of Stable Diffusion on a linux computer with an 8th Generation Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM and here comes some findings.

Basic prompt and parameters

I wanted to generate a useful picture for my Dungeons & Dragons game. So, as a somewhat qualified start I did:

fantasy art of village house, cliff, well, town square, market and storm, in the style of greg rutkowski

I used

  • seed=2 (bacause I did not like seed=1)
  • Sample Steps=10
  • Guide=7.5
  • Sample Model=Euler Ancestral
  • Resolution=512×512
  • The 1.4 model (the small one)

Not very far from default settings. My performance is about 10s per sample step, thus this picture took 1m40s to generate:

This is the unmodified 512×512 picture. Below I will publish smaller/scaled picture but unless otherwise mentioned they are all generated as 512×512. This picture was not so far from what I had in mind, but I don’t see any well or market, or town square.

Sample Methods

I generated exactly the same thing, only changing the Sample Method parameter:

Three of the sample methods took (roughly) twice the time (200% in the name above). I can at least draw the conclusion that the sampling method is not just a mathematical detail but something that actually affects the output quite much.

Sampling Steps

Next thing was to try different number of sampling steps, from 2 to 99:

I find in fascinating how some buildings disappear and are replaced by others at certain thresholds here. Even if it is more expensive to run 75 steps than 10, if you are looking for results like the 75 stops picture, there is no point in generating multiple images with 10 steps. As an amateur, more steps give more details and more sharpness.


There is a guide parameter (how strongly the image should follow the prompt) and that is not a very obvious parameter. For this purpose i used 30 Sampling Steps and tried a few guide values (0-15 are allowed values):

To my amateur eye, guide seems to be mostly about contrast and sharpness. I do not see that the pictures resembles my prompt more or less.


I generated 6 images using different resolutions. Sampling Steps is now 20.

To my surprise the lower than 512×512 came out ok, I have had very bad results at lower resolutions below. It is obvious that changing the resolutions creates a different picture, like with a different seed with the same prompt. The smaller pictures are faster and the larger slower to generate (as indicated by the %), and the largest image caused my 16GB computer to use its swap (but I think something else was swapped out). My conclusion is that you can not generate many pictures a low resolution, and then regenerate the ones you want with higher resolution and the same seed (there are probably other ways to upscale).

Image type

So far all images have been “fantasy art”. I tried a few alternatives with 20 Sampling Steps:

This changes much. The disposition is similar but the architecture is entirely different. What if I like a drawing with the roof style of fantasy art?


So far I have been using Greg Rutkowski for everyting (at first opportunity I will buy a collection of Greg Rutkowskis work when I find one – so far I have not found any). How about different artists:

Obviously picking a suitable artist is critical for your result. To my surprise, for my purposes Anders Zorn is probably more useful than Boris Vellejo.

Dropping Keywords

So far I have not seen much of wells and markets in my pictures. What about dropping those keywords from the prompt?

The disposition is somewhat similar, and still no wells or markets.

Model Choice

There is a 1.4-model to download, and a larger (full) version. What is the difference. I tried three prompts (all fantasy art in the style of greg rutkowski):

  • old well in medieval village
  • medieval village on cliff
  • medieval village under cliff

Conclusion here is that the result is slightly different depending on model, but it is not like it makes a huge difference when it comes to quality and preference.

Trying to get a well

Not giving up on getting a picture of a well I made 9 pictures, using different seeds and the prompt:

  • fantasy art old well in medieval village, greg rutkowski

None of them contains a well as I think of a well. If I do an image search on Google I get plenty of what I want. Perhaps Stable Diffusion does not know what a well looks like, or perhaps this is what fantasy art and/or Greg Rutkowski would draw wells as.


I did this because I thought I could learn something and I did. Perhaps you learnt something from reading about my results. It is obviously possible to get cool pictures, but what if you want something specific? The prompt is important, but if you are playing with the wrong parameters you may be wasting you time.

Stable Diffusion CPU-only

I spent much time trying to install Stable Diffusion on an Intel NUC Hades Canyon with Core i7 (8th Generation) and an AMD RX Vega (4GB), with no success. 4GB is tricky. AMD is trickier.

I gave up on my NUC and installed on my laptop with Windows, GeForce GTX 1650. That worked, and a typical image (512×512 and 20 samples) takes about 3 minutes to generate.

For practical reasons I wanted to run Stable Diffusion on my Linux NUC anyway, so I decided to give a CPU-only version of stable diffusion a try (stable-diffusion-cpuonly). It was a pretty easy install, and to my surprise generation is basically as fast as on my GeForce GTX 1650. I have 16GB of RAM and that works fine for 512×512. I think 8GB would be too little and as usual, lower resolutions than 512×512 generates very bad output for me.

So when you read “stable diffusion requires Nvidia GPU with at least 4GB of RAM”, for simple hobby purposes any computer with 16GB of RAM will be fine.

Elemental Dice 1-5

I just received 5 new Elemental Dice. Only two of the new ones were metal (Sa,Ce) and three were embedded in resin (S, Mn, Hg). Here is a picture of the complete collection.

As you can see the Ce(rium) die has already started to deteriorate. It came like that, I am not the only one, and we will see about replacement shipments.

I added Ce and Sa to my density table:


All dice have a lower wight than exptected. First, the edge are rounded and text and die-numbers are engraved or carved out of the metal cube so it is expected to not be 100%. Some dice are just plated, for obvious reasons (Rh,Pd,Pt,Au) so most part of those are probably Fe/Ni-something. I do not know what is up with Carbon, I suppose it is another form of pure carbon than Graphite.

Windows 11 22H2, Docker, on Dell XPS 15 7590

I have a Dell XPS 15 7590 that I use for running Docker and Business Central images. I have used Windows 10 for two years experiencing some occational problems with starting the Docker images, so I decided to finally upgrade to Windows 11.

Bad timing. It seems 22H2 introduced a bug for this computer (link to Dell forum).

Automatically updating to Windows 11 failed. Blue Screen on boot: INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. But it recovered from that and booted back to Windows 10.

I decided to make a clean installation of Windows 11 Pro. That was ok, until i installed Docker (4.12.0), then I got the same Blue Screen and this time I found no way to recover. I think the problem has to do with Hyper-V-activation, but there are probably more details I am not aware of.

Eventually, after several installations and restore efforts, things seem to work:

  • BIOS AHCI (not RAID, but I do not think that matters)
  • BIOS Virtualization ON
  • BIOS Virtual Direct I/O OFF
  • Applied KB5017389

I have now learnt to use Restore Points in Windows. Very useful to make a manual restore point before a significant configuration change. When the computer fails to start properly, you can navigate to the option of using a Restore Point, and that has worked several times (and every time) for me now. You need to have a recovery key for the computer (I got mine from, need to log in of course, for a “personal” computer). It is the same key for every restore point so you can write it down and keep it.

Windows 11 impressions

This is the first time I install and use Windows 11. I am actually somewhat satisfied, even impressed. This is the first time using Windows makes me feel inspired and empowered, ever.

Stable Diffusion, GeForce GTX 1650 4GB, Windows 10

I have been trying to get Stable Diffusion working. My Linux workstation has an AMD GPU and that did not work well. I have Dell laptop with a GeForce GTX 1650, with 4GB video RAM, running Windows 10, and I managed to get Stable Diffusion working as expected.

I used this guide.

The key successfactors for this computer are:

  • Use an “optimized” branch, that allows you to generate 512×512 with only 4GB VRAM
  • Dont generate smaller than 512×512 (at least not 256×256)
  • Check [x] full_precision

I wasted a lot of time with non-optimized versions of Stable Diffusion, where I had to go to 256×256 to generate anything, and that anything was always garbage.

It takes about 3 minutes to generate an image with default settings.

Auto-start user service in screen on Debian 11

I have a QNAP with container station. It allows me to essentially have a number of single-purpose simple linux servers running on a single small nice headless computer.

It is annoying to start everything up on each container whenever the QNAP is restarted. It is quite easy to start things automatically, but as usual, a few steps of configuration can take a while to get 100% correct before it works properly.

In my case I have:

  • Debian 11 container
  • A user named zo0ok
  • zo0ok shall run screen, and in screen run the service (in this case sonarqube)

This is what I needed to do (assuming screen and sonarqube are already in place):

Create /etc/rc.local

This is my /etc/rc.local file (it does not exist before):

sudo -u zo0ok screen -d -m /home/zo0ok/

This will run the script as zo0ok (not root) when the Debian starts.

Enable rc-local

Lets not complain about systemd and systemctl, but this shit has go be added to a new file


 Description=/etc/rc.local Compatibility

 ExecStart=/etc/rc.local start


And the service needs to be enabled:

# systemctl enable rc-local.service


Finally, as your non privilaged user, create the file (with your content, of course): 

cd /home/zo0ok/opt/sonarqube-
./ console

Conclusion and final words

This is obvioulsly more convenient than logging in and running screen manually, and obviously if you need any kind of error handling or restart-management that is a different story.

An alternative to systemd/systemctl is to use cron.

It looks very easy, but I had minor errors in all steps above that were a bit tricky to find, before it all worked.

PowerBook Titanium G4 867MHz in 2022

My PowerBook G4 has been in a box for a few years. Last posts on this blog about it are from 2015. It is a special computer to me and I started it up this summer 2022. It is configured as good as possible at 1024MB RAM, SuperDrive and 320GB HDD.

I stopped using my G4 actively in 2015 (kind of, I know I replaced it a few years earlier with a 2012 MacBook Pro, but I kept the G4 alive). There are still people on the internet using Apple PowerPC computer (search for PowerPC challenge on YouTube).

The fastest G4 computers were about 1600MHz, mine is just 867MHz. However my G4 can officially run the last MacOS X 10.5.8 that was ever released for PowerPC (not sure if G5 was somehow supported on 10.6). Released in 2002 and last Leopard release in 2009 it got 7 years of supported life. That is bad, but not horribly bad. Some later PowerPC Macs released in 2005 also turned unsupported in 2009 and that is criminally bad. (I currently write this on a MacBook Air 2014, Big Sur, it still receives updates but can not run latest macOS, so that is 8 years supported and counting).

JavaScript killed it!

Why is it not really useful today? Because internet – a web browser – does not work. The root of the problem is that Googles V8 was never ported to G4, and no modern (optimized) JavaScript engines were. As the internet was modernised with more and more JavaScript, G4 computers simply could not take part of it.

Today, starting up Safari of 10.5.8 is even worse. I can not even connect to my local broadband router. Two problems I think:

  • No support for modern SSL/TLS (old versions are rejected by server for security reasons)
  • No valid certificates

These problems could be worked around, but the JavaScript problem is harder.

TenForFox and InterWebPPC

Official Firefox and Safari are since long obsolete. However there has been a Firefox version: TenForFox (10.4 fireFOX), that was abandoned in 2021 but picked up again as InterWebPPC. That is probably the best browser you can on a G3/G4/G5 computer. It has surprisingly good JavaScript support when it comes to compability/features, but performance is not good on my 867MHz G4. That is, for no/low JS sites (like this blog) it works pretty good (for reading – editing this text was not possible at all with WP 6). For you general news site (like BBC, CNN) it is bad, and Youtube or Facebook are essentially useless.

General impression and useability

Web browing aside, I am quite impressed with both the machine and 10.5.8. To me it feels (kinf of) modern and fast, and there is not much I miss in MacOS X 10.5 itself. However I really have not really tried to download, install and use many standard programs from the time. When I start doing multiple things att the same time though, things get slow.

What I have done is to rip/backup DVDs I own. I have no other computer with a DVD-player. It seems MacOS X up to 10.5 had the best DVD-rip-program ever: MacTheRipper. It is super smooth. And when ripping is done (to a VIDEO_TS folder with MPEG2 data and all the DVD-menues in place) I can use standard unix command line tools to copy the files to my NAS over GBit ethernet. I have little to complain about at all.

Installing it

Just seeing the installation CDs/DVDs almost make me more nostalgic than the computer itself.

Top row is 10.0 (USD 129, essentially a public beta) and 10.1 (USD 19 upgrade), these were never used with this PowerBook. Next row is 10.3 (USD 199). Last row is 10.2 that came with the PowerBook and 10.5 (USD 19 upgrade). The missing disk is 10.4 (USD 199), that I bought together with a friend and he kept the original and I made a copy for myself.

When I took my PowerBook out of the box I found it with Debian. That was perhaps a smart choice in 2015 when Debian was supported and MacOS X was not. Now in 2022 they are equally unsupported and perhaps MacOS X makes more sense. Unfortunately the 10.5 DVD is upgrade-from-10.4-only, so I had to install 10.4 from my DVD-copy and the upgrade to 10.5. This (availability of old and new macOS version) is obviously something that has become much nicer with Apple and MacOS X since the PowerPC days.

Using it for programming

I like to program, and sometimes I find it useful to use an older or a different machine for unit testing and debugging. Occationally problems occur on a slower machine or on a different architecture. Unfortunately, most of my programming nowadays is JavaScript and Node.js, which can not run on the G4.

I downloaded and installed X-code, I suppose I got an old working GCC. The package manager of NetBSD is called pkgsrc and I it can be used on most systems, including MacOS X G4. However, people have given up building and distributing binaries so you either need to use binaries from inoffical archives from 2017, or build from source (which i not that fast on a 20 year old laptop – and perhaps that would eventually kill it). I gave pgksrc a try (to install xz and git, to start with). Those did not compile. pkgsrc does not come with its own compiler, so perhaps if I start downloading and building a more recent gcc, I can use that gcc for pkgsrc. However, the errors were related to structs in this version of darwin not containing expected fields. I guess Mac OS 10.5.8 comes with some version of some C standard library, and that is probably not so easy to get around.


There is a site,, full of MacOS abandonware (for like 8.6 – 10.5, perhaps even older). Now I was never really an application-guy, but this is a treasure and a time capsule to computing 20 years ago. There are many games. The most sensible use for this Powerbook is probably to focus on enjoying native apps from the time it was current.

Other OS than Mac OS

There are some Linux distributions that can be used, and there are top-10-distro list for PowerPC linux found if you Google. Most are abandoned (like Debian and Ubuntu). There is something called Adelie Linux, which could be worth trying. Debian Sid seems to be “supported” (what that means). Also NetBSD is supported (but I would not expect too much laptop-features on NetBSD).

Finally MorphOS can run. That is an Amiga-like OS, that benefits from the fact that it is PowerPC.


This machine is now very old. The fact that I can use it for DVD-purposes, and that it actually is particularly suitable, is cool, and I will probably keep the machine for that purpose as long as it works.

Whisky tasting notes 2022

Links: Previous Tastings , Whisky Ranking

Chivas Regal 18 vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018): Strathmill slighly darker, and with a much sweeter sherry-like aroma. Chivas is rather subtle on the nose in comparison, it has a more classic whisky aroma, but more sweet than salty and malty. I taste Chivas, sweet, round and nice, caramel, somewhat bitter. Strathmill is both more distinct in its sweet fresh sherry character and also saltier and maltier. Since I know what I am drinking it is not hard to explain what I experience with the blend being very smooth and produced while the the single malt tastes more like the raw product. I prefer Strathmill.

Bergslagen Gast vs Longrow 13 Red: Longrow is darker, more red, and Bergslagen is more yellow. Bergslagen has a fruity, slightly salty, peaty smell. Longrow is a bit heavier, sweeter, less peated I think. Bergslagen has a more fire-peat-smell. I taste Longrow, very nice saltiness and sweetness at first, it lingers nicely but unfortunately finishes with what I call sulphur. Bergslagen, well now after Longrow it smells a bit of raw young wood (as many young, especially swedish whiskies do). I add more water to Longrow, that usually help with the sulphur and it does to some extent. Bergslagen is rather thin, a bit sour and bitter. More water and the sulphur is kind of gone. I think Longrow is slighly better, and I guess most people would find Longrow clearly better.

Hibiki Harmony vs Springbank 15 Rum PC#629: Springbank is much paler, really pale. I find rather desert wine than rum in the Springbank aroma, but it is also rather heavy oily smelling. Hibiki is more mellow, balanced, caramel, perhaps flowery. Back and forth with the nose, Springbank is the one that benefits from the comparison. Hibiki tastes really nice, soft, malty, a bit salty, caramel and nuts, it lingers, very easy to enjoy. Springbank is a different beast, salty, not so little peat, a bit rougher. The difference between japanese craftmanship and scottish raw tradition is obvious. Back to Hibiki, it is a bit thin after Springbank, with some bitterness. Springbank has a more full and powerful body. I think Springbank is better, head to head, but Hibiki is the safe choice. Springbank wins.

Nevis Dew Deluxe 12YO vs Chivas Regal 18: Nevis is paler yellowish, Chivas a more amber color. On the nose Nevis is very subtle, it smells fine whisky but not much. Chivas is a bit heaver, a bit sweeter, and the sweetness is more fruity than caramel. I taste Nevis, it has a fine nutty, malty flavour that is rather light, but there is also something blend-alcohol about it. Chivas is a bit softer and sweeter. Nevis is on the brink between a very nice maltiness and a rather lousy blend. Chivas wins, a quite narrow victory.

Bergslagen Gast vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Bergslagen a little paler, with a rather raw woody peatiness. Glen Scotia is so much bourbon on the nose, but also a bit fruity. Bergslagen is more powerful on the nose, but if I had to pick a winner without tasting it would be Glen Scotia. I taste Glen Scotia and even if I have added a splash of water to it I find it too strong, quite sweet and some sulphur. Bergslagen has a gentle peatiness. I taste Victoriana again, and att more water again. Bergslagen is quite easy to enjoy. Glen Scotia is trickier. Enough water now to get rid of the sulphur but I can not say what Glen Scotia tastes like, it is just bitter-sweet without balance or complexity. Victory to Bergslagen.

Longrow vs Raasay 1st Release: Raasay a bit darker, more powerful on the nose, more peated, and more young raw wood. I taste Raasay and it is both sweet and fire-smoke type of peat, quite typical for a young whisky. Longrow is a bit more malty, delicate, balanced, though peated. I find a hint of sulphur in Raasay. Raasay goes to the peated list, losing to Longrow.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Raasay 1st Release: Mackmyra lighter in color and on the nose. In a way they are quite similar on the nose, Raasay is just more heavy, a bit sweeter, and more peated. Mackmyra has some fruitiness. It tastes quite good though Mackmyra, quite fresh and with some balance. Raasay is much more in the mouth, but with some sulphur. Without the sulphur Raasay would definitely win so I add plenty of water to it: most everything about it disappeared. I prefer the more dry, light spirited, Mackmyra.

For Peat’s Sake vs Raasay 1st Release: Raasay is more pale. For Peat’s Sake is a bit thinner, more alcoholic, on the nose. Raasay is heavier, dirtier. Tasting For Peat’s it is a bit synthetic, artificial. Not entirely convinced I give victory to Raasay.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Raasay 1st Release: Longrow is much darker, it smells older, saltier and more powerful than Raasay. Raasay is very little to compete with, except less sulphur. Longrow wins.

Glen Moray Peated vs Raasay 1st Release: Glen Moray much paler. Also the aroma is pale… it is like getting in to an old underground warehouse and just smelling dust and emptiness. Raasay is sweet and young on the nose. I taste Glen Moray and think there must be something wrong with it, it is like medicine – flouride for your teeth (?) – but then there is some maltiness and peat there. So I am about to write that Raasay is another experience richer and more complex, but I cough with the sulphur. I add more water to Raasay, it gets better, and at least it has some depth. Raasay wins.

Bowmore 18 vs Longrow 21: Bowmore is more red and Longrow more brown. Bowmore has a balanced malty peated aroma, very nice. Longrow is more sour. I taste both, Longrow is more powerful and rough, Bowmore softer and more balanced. On this occation I am not so impressed with either of them, though I prefer Bowmore.

Dalwhinnie 15 vs Glenlivet 18: Dalwhinnie much paler. On the nose Dalwhinnie is a bit like white wine, fresh, fruity. I do not find much cask aroma in Dalwhinnie. Glenlivet is darker, sweeter, more powerful, raisins, dadles that kind of red fruitiness. Tasting Dawhinnie it is very fresh, reminding of yellow fields of barley. It has a nice complexity, lingers for a while, and leaves a good feeling. Glenlivet is more powerful and more sweet. I assume there is some sherry and there is more cask flavours in Glenlivet. And it is more bitter. I came to prefer Dalwhinnie. It tastes very nice, it is more open and has a bit more complexity, I think. What should not quite decide the winner is that I find Dalwhinnie a more interesting and pure expression of scotch speyside whisky.

Lagavulin 12 Distillery Single Cask vs Lagavulin 16: 12YO is much paler. On the nose 12YO is more fire and hints of raw wood. 16YO is more soft, balanced on the nose. Tasting 12YO it is crisp, burnt, peated and quite flawless. Not heavy at all. Also in the mouth 16YO is more soft. Clearly, 12YO is the more spectacular whisky here and 16YO is more safe play. 12YO wins.

Lagavulin 12 Distillery Single Cask vs Laphroaig 16: Perhaps Laphroaig is a bit darker. Lagavulin is more raw, Laphroaig is more oily, on the nose. Laphroaig is rather salty, quite perfect. Alcohol is a more dominant flavour of Lagavulin so I add a splash of water. Laphroig again, it is a bit sweet, some caramel and even bourbon there. Before I tasted Lagavulin for the last time I was leaning towards Laphroig, but the extra water more out of it, and it got really difficult. I pour up a little bit more of both, and settle in favour of Laphroaig.

Mackmyra Reserve Förlagrat Refill Gravity vs Old Pulteney Vintage 2006 (11YO): Very similar color. Old Pulteney is very classic malty, hint of bourbon and caramel. Not so much salt and see as I would like to think. Mackmyra is more strange, it tastes ok, but the Mackmyra signatory pear-smell and flavour is there, and it also tastes a bit of anis. And bourbon, it is not all bad. But Old Pulteney is better.

Chivas Regal 18 vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Glen Scotia is slightly paler, at least after adding some water to it (it was much stronger in the first place). These whiskies are ranked similarly, but I have a better feeling about Chivas. Lets see. Chivas has a soft sweet classic whisky aroma, hint of smoke, and a hint of chemical blend. Victoriana is surprisingly similar, I would say a bit more sherry-sour and a bit more raw, perhaps. Chivas tastes nice, it tastes like it smells, nothing more to say. Victoriana has a more authentic and crude sherry touch, it tastes less crafted. Back to Chivas it is less impressive and more dull now. Victoriana is a bit more challenging, a bit more of an acquired taste, but I think it is worth it. Glen Scotia wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Springbank 15 Rum Private Cask #629: Both are pale, yellow (as in no greenish at all). Deanston slightly darker. I put my nose in Deanston and find a dry, slightly burnt, fresh grain type of whisky – not a lot of bourbon. Springbank is much sweeter, thicker, heavier, also a bit sour and peated. Deanston is first light in the mouth, it grows though, with a gentle sweetness. Springbank has more different flavours, a sweet and sour fruitiness. Back to Deanston it is less flavourful, but very fine. I add a bit water to both. Springbank has a slightly peculiar flavour, a little bit for good and for bad. But the milder Deanston does not quite have enough to offer to stand up against Springbank, even if Deanston is an excellent 15 YO highland expression.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Tobermory 12: Tobermory is darker in color, sweeter and richer in both aroma and flavour. Deanston is rather pale and thin, a bit blend/industry-alchol tasting. Tobermory wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Glenfarclas 17: Glenfarclas is darker in color, and a bit sweeter on the nose, more Bourbon aroma in Glenfarclas. Deanston has a light smell, of some wood, but not so bourbon-like. I taste Deanston and find a simple and straight whisky, some lingering bitterness. Glenfarclas tastes more bourbon-sweet, and that comes with more bitterness I think. I would think Deanston is matured on old bourbon casks that are more or less depleted, and that it would have benefited from more maturation. The easy choice is to go with Glenfarclas, it is a bit softer and sweeter. Deanston not being sweet, salty or peated is very pure whisky-like at it heart, somehow reminding of a blend. I must prefer Glenfarclas.

Mortlach 13 2021 Special Relaease vs Mortlach 20: 13YO is much paler (and cask strength). On the nose 13YO is very classic, 20YO is a more powerful on the nose, more sweet but not the sherry-way. Tasting both, 13YO has a bit more bitterness, but it does not taste less powerful as was the case with the nose. 13YO is more interesting as it has more different flavours, it is more undeveloped and has more potential (to develop). 20YO tastes like it is done maturing, perhaps by a year or two, very very soft, with a nice sweetness and no bitterness. Perhaps 13YO is more interesting, both are rather flawless, but in the end 20YO is the better whisky.

Dufftown 18 vs Mortlach 13 2021 Special Release: Dufftown is much darker, both rather classic aroma, Dufftown a bit sweeter. Tasting Mortlach it is dry, slightly salty, quite classic flawless. Tasting Dufftown, I find it thinner and not so refined. Mortlach wins with a more solid experience.

Highland Park Cask Strength vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: A little bit more color in (the stronger) Highland Park. Springbank is deep and mellow on the nose, not really peated, a bit woody in a nice way. Highland Park is less heavy, less sweet, more sour. I taste Springbank without water, very solid. HP is more burnt, peated. With water, HP softens up a bit, surprisingly sweet and rich. Springbank didn’t respond quite as good to the water, a bit thin at first taste. I taste Springbank again, not so impressed, a bit raw wood and a bit sour. HP is less sweet, but more balanced and complex. Quite surprised here, I prefer the NAS HP to the 12YO Springbank (which is probably more than twice the price).

Longrow vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: Very similar color. Longrow has a rather dry aroma with some peat. Springbank is less peated, more sweet and winey. I taste Springbank, quite balanced with some woodiness, like its been bourbon for too short time on those casks. Longrow has more saltiness and a bit more freshness to it. Back to Springbank I am just not so impressed with the flavour. Longrow wins, being both softer, saltier and richer.

Glen Scotia Victoriana vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: Glen Scotia is darker, on the nose some peat and some sherry. Springbank is more neutral, honey and caramel, on the nose. I taste Victoriana (cask strength), a bit of a firework of different flavours (peat, salt, oldish, sherry), more interesting than balanced (and good). I also taste Springbank cask strength, and it is more balanced than interesting. Some water to Springbank and it has a nice sweet and fresh combination. I was about to write that the safe conservative choice is Springbank, but I have a hard time finding arguments. Glen Scotia wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: Deanston is paler, with a light almost blend-like aroma. Springbank more solid, a bit more sweet, on the nose. Deanston is quite thin in flavour, not bitter, but bitter-ish. Springbank is more solid, powerful, some peat, sweeter and it lingers nicely. Back to Deanston, it just does not taste very nice. Springbank wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Both rather pale, I can not say for sure there is any difference. On the nose, after a while Mackmyra is fruity, classic Mackmyra pear, but it smells whisky too. Deanston is more chemical, thinner, and less sweet – like a typical cheap blend. I taste Deanston and it is quite light, some maltiness, some bitterness in the end. Mackmyra is immediately sweeter, then immediately more bitter, and that is kind of the lingering impression. Back to Deanston it is softer, more complex, more salty and more malty. Deanston wins, better taste. If it was just up to the nose it would perhaps be different.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Johnny Walker White Walker: Deanston is paler. JW has a smell of sour blend. Deanston even more so, back to White Walker it is kind of a bit sweet and fruity. White Walker has an unusual sweetness (like some liqeur, punch), not so much whisky flavour. Deanston has some saltiness and maltiness that is a bit nice. Hard to pick a favourite. JW kind of stands out in an original way. Deanston is more mediocre in an average way. Victory has to go to JW.

Springbank 11 Madeira vs Springbank 15 Rum PC#629: Madeira is much darker in color, och more like a desert wine on the nose: sweet with some classical Springbank notes. Rum has a more dirty, soil-like, raw Springbank character with just a hint of rum. Tasting Madeira, it is a good balance between desert wine and Springbank whisky, not very complex and overwhelming but rather soft and easy to enjoy. Springbank Rum is more of an acquired taste, and a bit metallic, and in this case I can not see myself prefer it. 11 Madeira wins.

Bushmills 21 vs Springbank 11 Maderia: Bushmills is very slightly darker. Bushmills is a ridiculously soft whisky with desert wine, fruit, bourbon and even some flowery notes. Springbank is more two-fold, first sweet, then more raw. It is also more powerful and a bit metallic. I think it is safe to say that this is really down to preference. Those who like very soft and easy to drink (yet rich and complex) chose Bushmills. Those who like to be challenged more, and who enjoys the duality of Springbank will chose it. Tonight, I pick Bushmills.

Arran Quarter Cask CS vs Deanston Oloroso Finish 9YO: Arran is paler, with a fruity aroma, not so little bourbon. Deanston, also surprisingly much bourbon on the nose, given the name. I taste Arran at cask strenght, and the sweet fruitiness dominate, and I add water. I taste Deanston and it has more Sherry (sulphur unforunately – but that may go away with water). Back to Arran with water, nice malty caramel flavour. Deanston is a bit more raw, still some sulphur unfortunately. I think Arran is really nice, better than Deanston.

Arran Quarter Cask CS vs Bushmills 16: Bushmills is darker, richer and sweeter on the nose. Arran is more dry and raw in the mouth, Bushmills more sweet and even a bit flowery. Arran a bit bitter now. I prefer the softer Bushmills, but Arran is close.

Mackmyra Första Utgåvan vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Mackmyra is paler, lighter and more fruity (typical pear) on the nose. Mackmyra is quite balanced, a bit burnt, not very complex. Ukraina is quite thick, complex, a bit raw (wood). Back to Mackmyra, a bit sharp and bitter. Ukraina wins.

Glenlivet 21 Archive vs Mortlach 20: Very similar, quite dark red color, if anything Glenlivet is darker. Glenlivet is a on the nose, like ripe red fruits. Mortlach a bit more malty. Tasting is a little the other way around. Mortlach is sweet, soft, burnt sugar and balanced. Glenlivet a bit saltier, maltier and some more complexity. Both are very good, as in flawless and easy to drink, but a bit boring. Glenlivet wins.

Redbreast 12 vs Tobermory 12: Similar, not so pale color. At first quite similar nose, but Redbreast is more bourbon and Tobermory more malty. This becomes more apparent when drinking them. Redbreast has a bit of the genuin bourbon rawness and almost like perfume. Tobermore, is more wine-like, softer and maltier. Tobermory wins.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Longmorn 16: Bladnoch is darker, somewhat sweet and quite mature aroma. Longmorn is a bit lighter, more dry hay on the nose. I taste Longmorn and find some burnt caramel and a bit of bourbon. Bladnoch has a quite nice sherry flavour, also a bit burnt and slightly bitter in the end. Longmorn is softer and maltier, and I prefer Longrow but it is quite close, and those who generally prefer sherry would probably pick Bladnoch.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Glendronach Batch #9: Bladnoch a bit darker, with a bit dark-sweet mellow aroma. Glendronach is more sherry-in-your-face, and a bit more raw. Tasting Glendronach, yes I find it a bit raw and not quite so balanced. Bladnoch is softer, more complex.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Longrow 13 Red: Similar color, equally dark but Longrow is more brownish. On the nose Longrow is rather salty and peated. Bladnoch also a bit raw, but more fruity. I taste Bladnoch and it has a nice friendly sherry-flavour, which is not too much. Longrow is interesting and has much quality, unfortunately also some sulphur, so it is easy to say that Longrow is both better and worse. I try to water it down, and it helps. Bladnoch is still more sweet and soft and Longrow more salt and peated. With enough water, Longrow wins.

Andalusia Tripled Distilled vs Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso: Bladnoch a bit more red. Andalusia a bit bourbon-sweet on the nose. Bladnoch (of course) more sherry, and a bit dirtier. Andalusia tastes a bit burnt, dry, but also with some sweetness, a bit thin but also complex. Bladnoch is more one thing, its sherry thing, and it is perhaps more powerful. Andalusia is good, but it fails to quite know what it wants to be, and it simply is not so… appealing… Bladnoch wins.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Very similar color, Macallan surprisingly dark and perhaps the darker one. Similar sherry aroma as well, Bladnoch a bit dirtier and more mellew, Macallan a bit fresher. Macallan, soft and balanced but without too much character. Bladnoch has a bit more raw sherry character. Back to Macallan it is really smooth and quite rich, very balanced. Bladnoch is more the-real-sherry-thing but Macallan is more the-real-smooth-whisky-thing. Very similar quality here. I am no sherry fan, but to me Bladnoch has does its thing better, it is more interesting.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Longrow 11 Sherry Society Bottling: 14 is much darker, and also heavier on the nose, more sherry. 11 is a bit dry, some sherry notes but not very dominating. 14 is a thicker experience, unfortunately quite much sulphur/margarine in the sherry and I try to water it down more to see what happens. Actually, the bad flavours almost disappears. I anyway prefer 11, less sherry and less questionable flavours.

Longrow 13 Red vs Longrow 11 Sherry Society Bottling: Red is darker than sherry, and it has a fruitier aroma with more bourbon, sherry is more malty and peated. I try the sherry cask strenght and it is rather dry, not many sherry notes there. Red tastes a bit of sulphur and I add more water. 11 Sherry is quite ok, but it is not very interesting or tasty, uncharming. Red, with more water, still sulphur. Finally I get Red down to below sulphur warning, and then it is a more rich, smooth and complex whisky than 11 sherry. So Red wins, if correctly watered down.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Longrow 11 Sherry Society Bottling: Bladnoch is darker, and with a softer more bourbon-aroma, and a bit sherry. Longrow is much more like rough and raw Longrow, and less sherry. Bladnoch, at first, quite much bourboun flavour, nice. Longrow tastes more raw – it is stronger too. I like the bourbon-sherry balance in Bladnoch, but overall there is something missing. However, it beats Longrow nevertheless.

Glen Scotia Victoriana vs Longrow 11 Sherry Society Bottling: Longrow more brownish, Victoriana slightly darker, with a quite nice bourbon-sherry aroma. Longrow is drier, no bourbon and some sherry. Victoriana is not bad, and I like that sherry-kick. It beats the more dry and bitter Longrow.

Chivas Regal 18 vs Longrow 11 Sherry Society Bottling: Chivas is redder and darker. Chivas is sweeter and much softer on the nose, and Chivas is softer on the mouth, boring though. There is a freshness and vitality to Longrow that I prefer to Chivas. Quite close in quality, but Longrow wins.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: I have really no idea what this Ichiro is, but it is slighly paler than Macallan. Ichiro has a quite light fresh and clean aroma, some bourbon. Macallan is more sherry, more sweet and a bit more flower/perfume than Ichiro, on the nose. I taste Ichiro, and I have no idea what this Mizunara wood is but I can feel it is different from what I am used to, tastes good, surprisingly sweet and a bit like syrup in the mouth. Macallan is lighter in the mouth first, more refined and balanced, but with a hint of sulphur in the end (I add water and see if it goes away). Back to Ichiro, quite intensive this (I guess tropical) wood. For the curious enthusiast Ichiro is more interesting, and for the careful casual drinker Macallan is the safe choice. I taste both of them and think… but it is not quite good enough to win. I find Macallan better after the water. To me, Ichiro is too intense and not only in a good way. Narrow victory to Macallan.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Bushmills Black Bush: Quite similar color, perhaps Ichiro is more orange but Bushmills more intense. Bushmills has a kind of grassy aroma, that could be really sweet vanilla or white chocolate or something. Ichiro is more sweet and bourbon. Tasting Bushmills, I first find the aroma fruity (almost candy), the flavour is soft caramel and a coffee finish. Ichiro is a bit more intense, more locked in (as the complexity of the flavours not quite developed) so I add water. Black Bush, not being very sophisticated or advanced, is at least tasty and easy to enjoy. Ichiro, it is harder to understand what it is, what it wants to be, or what it is about to become. I prefer Bushmills.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Jameson Black Barrel: Ichiro a bit paler. Jameson has a sweet aroma, making me think of some desert cake drowned in alcohol. Ichiro is less open, harder to pick out different aromas. Jameson is like coffee and cream in the mouth. Ichiro a bit more pepper and intensity. After Ichiro, Jameson smells and tastes a bit cheap, chemical and artificial. I prefer Ichiro, quite close though.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Deanson Kentucky Cask Matured: Ichiro is more bourbon than wine on my nose, so I take out a bourbon scotch. Deanston is much paler, and on the nose it is lighter and maltier (like hay, mint). Ichiro is thicker and sweeter. I taste Deanston, it is soft, light, with a mild bourbon flavour and some caramel finish. Ichiro is a bit stronger and I taste some sulphur so I add water, which helped, but I now find it not quite bitter and metallic, but in that direction, a bit sharp and not so tasty. Back to Deanston I love how it smells before I drink it, and it is in no way perfect but it is softer, more open and complex, and tastier to me. Deanston wins.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Johnny Walker Gold Label: Ichiro a bit paler. On the nose JW is more old scottish dirty, Ichiro is sweeter. In the mouth JW is interesting first, almost peated, somewhat complex, but it fades away quickly into a blend-thin-experience. Ichiro is a more narrow experience, with focus on this sweet cask an young (I assume) malt. The old-school me could prefer JW (compared to sherry-lovers who will always choose Ichiro), but JW is not just quite good enough.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Oban Distillers Edition: Very similar color, Ichiro slightly more red. Oban has more of a raw sherry smell on the nose, Ichiro is softer. There is more complexity in Oban, but it is also a bit less balanced with more odd flavours (and more sulphur, both have a bit, so I add even more water). I taste again, Ichiro is better.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs 7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve: Mizunara very slightly darker. I also think Mizunara is a bit sweeter and heavier on the nose, Wine is more light and bourbon. I taste both and I fine Wine to be the better, tastier, more whisky-like Ichiro. Mizunara is more experimental.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Similar color, perhaps Macallan i slightly paler. Mars Cosmo has a very nice sherry aroma, more like actual sherry than whisky on sherry cask. Well, perhaps I am just in a good mode because Macallan smells even better. Tasting Mars Cosmo, quite sweet, tastes young, not raw but undeveloped. Macallan is softer, a bit muddy in my mouth. Macallan wins.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Glenallachie 12 PX: Glenallachie slightly darker, and on the nose more caramel and bourbon. Mars Cosmo more just sherry. Tasting both, Glenallachie is softer and richer, Mars Cosmo a bit bitter. I prefer Glenallachie.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Glenmorangie slightly darker. Quite similar aroma, a bit more vanilla in Glenmorangie. Now I taste some sulphur in Mars Cosmo, and not in Glenmorangie as I had expected. Glenmorangie wins.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban: Quinta Ruban is darker, browner, and has a more raw aroma. Tasting Quinta Ruban, it is a bit harch with some sulphur finish. Cosmo Sherry is more elegant and balanced, and it wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban: Deanston is very much paler, with a light blend-like aroma. Quinta Ruban has a raw kind of desert wine aroma. Deanston, quite thin malty flavour with a blend-like finish. Quinta Ruban tastes like desert wine whisky, but none of the really nice flavours are present. Deanston is very classic, neutral, simple, with a bit chemical alcohol to it. But I prefer Deanston to Quinta Ruban nevertheless.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Jim Beam Rye: Same color. After putting the nose in Jim Beam, Mars Cosmo is rather thin. Jim Beam Rye is not exactly a smooth experience, but Mars Cosmo is rather boring and without much quality. I prefer Jim Beam.

7 dlight Three ships vs Glenfarclas 12: Glenfarclas is darker. Three ships has a rather clean, light somewhat malty aroma, more classic then the previous 7 dlight whiskies. Glenfarclas is more sweet and malty and back to Three ships it is more dirt and leather. Tasting Three ship is rather bitter and immature. Glenfarclas is saltier, more complex, more smooth and simply better.

7 dlight Three ships vs Deanston 15 Organic: Same pale color. Deanston is more light and clean, Three Ships a bit dirty or chemical. Deanston has a quite thin, somewhat bitter flavour, with some softness and complexity at its heart. Three ships, now I think there is some exotic (or very young) wood involved after all, has a chemical/perfume flavour that kind of resembles experimental whisky. Deanston tastes like a quite cheap blend. I prefer Deanston.

7 dlight Three ships vs Johnny Walker Red Label: JW is darker, and more classic and easy on the nose. Tasting both, I prefer JW.

7 dlight Three ships vs J&B: Quite similar color, J&B may be darker. J&B as a light fruitiness and maltiness that resembles whisky. Three ships is more powerful, more raw young wood. J&B has a very light flavour, soft whisky and pure alcohol. Three ships is more powerful, unrefined, raw and interesting. Back to J&B, it is very thin, it does not taste very good and it has nothing to offer. Three ships is arguably more of an acquired taste, but I prefer it to J&B.

7 dlight Three ships vs Dalmore 11 Rare Find Oloroso: Dalmore is darker, with a quite classic aroma, not so much sherry as i expected. Three ships is more raw wood on the nose, and rather chemical and harsch in the mouth. Dalmore, also surprisingly little sherry… and other flavours, a bit unclear what it tastes. Compared to each other, none of them is so bad. I find it hard to believe but I prefer the more complex and interesting Three ships.

Svensk Whisky för Ukraina vs Glenfarclas 12: Glenfarclas a bit paler. Ukraina has a more raw and sour aroma, Glenfarclas more malty almost minty. Tasting Glenfarclas, it is classic speyside with something I can not describe better than mint. Ukraina is more powerful and more complex (it is a blended malt). Back to Glenfarclas, it is rather uninteresting and not very tasty. Despite its raw aroma, Ukraina has a quite decent flavour, but is it enough? Yes, I prefer Ukraina, but it is not an obvious choice. Glenfarclas is probably the safe choice to offer someone who doesn’t drink whisky often.

Andalusia Triple Distilled vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Andalusia is more red and with an unusual sweet aroma. Ukriana is more, pepper, and less sweet. Andalusia is quite sweet, has a taste of some unusual wood, not so much bourbon as I could have expected and it tastes fine but not very complex. Ukraina is saltier with a more unclear taste profile (it kind of tastes like the funny mix of different casks that it is). Back to Andalusia, a little rum I think. To me Andalusia wins, it more knows what it wants to be, it does that, and it does it better. Ukraina is more experimental.

Old Pulteney 12 vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: Springbank slightly darker, but also stronger. Old Pulteney has a salty, malty aroma with caramel. Springbank is thicker, thicker and peatier. I taste Old Pulteney and find it quite soft with some complexity and good balance, hint of bitterness, and classic flavour. Springbank is more leather, dirt and peat. Old Pulteney is not quite as good as Springbank.

Chivas Regal 18 vs Springbank 12 Cask Strength: Chivas is darker, with a kind of mellow, sweet fruity aroma. Springbank is more sour peat, more powerful but less complex perhaps. Chivas has a soft rich flavour, balanced. Springbank is sweet with light peat, more powerful but more single minded than Chivas. Springbank is obviously a more unique whisky, and it is good too, but Chivas is very well crafted. I can see people prefering Chivas, but I must personally say I prefer Springbank.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera: Arran is paler with a honey-like aroma. Glenfiddich more subtle on the nose, surprisingly similar actually. Arran is quite nice, quite sweet, mostly bourbon flavaour. Glenfiddich is more light, fruity and soft. Impressive in different ways. Glenfiddich is a bit more classic whisky, not that sweet. Arran just tastes quite good for someone who likes bourbon. I have to pick Arran as winner.

Glenlossie 22YO Cadenhead vs Imperial 21 Auld Rare: Imperial slightly darker, both rather pale. Glenlossie on the nose, dry, white wine, a bit of bourbon, fresh, rather dry, more caramel after a while. Imperial, slightly peated, more dirty. In the mouth, Glenlossie is surprisingly sweet, has an oily texture, very soft and lingering nicely. Imperial is more rough, a bit bitter and burnt, not quite peated but a bit peat feeling. Glenlossie wins.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Ichiro a bit darker and redder, with a quite soft creamy fruity nose. Nikka has a more caramel and nutty nose. Tasting Ichiro I find quite subtle wine notes and also a bit of bourbon I think. Over to Nikka, before drinking it the smell reminds me of irish whisky, and tasting it I find much caramel and quite much spiceyness. Adding some water to Ichiro, after Nikka I am less impressed, a bit metallic and bitter. Back to Nikka, it is a somewhat strange whisky but it is soft, and tasty with much flavour. Nikka wins.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Bushmills 12: Ichiro slightly paler, but with a bit more aroma. Bushmills has a softer, dirtier and more fruity flavour. Ichiro is more sharp and less complex. Quite similar quality, I prefer Bushmills.

Mortlach 13 2021 Special Release vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Mortlach is much paler, with a light, much lighter aroma. Springbank has an aroma of both peat and desert wine. Back to Mortlach, fresh green pears. Very different. Both are cask strength, I add water and the impression remains. Mortlach, at first it tastes pear and fruity, but more traditional whisky flavours follow. Springbank is heavier, sweeter, at first more impressive but with a more rough and unbalanced finish. Back to Mortlach, even if it is light and fruity, it has much to give after the heavier Springbank. I appreciate both. The more I taste them, the more I enjoy and prefer Mortlach.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special release: Arran is a bit paler, and sweeter on the nose. Glen Ord is more malty and fruity, Arran more like a desert wine. Tasting Glen Ord, classical, complex and balanced and a bit oily in the mouth. Arran is much sweeter, to the point that it is a bit too much compared to Glen Ord, it tastes a bit like a desert. Glen Ord wins.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Glenmorangie paler, with a light fruity nose. Ukraina is a bit salty, almost peated and rougher on the nose. Tasting Glenmorangie, it is light and soft, to me a bit hay or mint. Ukraina is more powerful and more interesting (or is it), but does it taste better? It is quite close, I could pick any winner, but I prefer Glenmorangie.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special release) vs Old Pulteney Vintage 2006 (11YO): After adding some water to the stronger Glen Ord, very similar color. Glen Ord is dry and fruity on the nose, Old Pulteney more sweet bourbon and caramel. Tasting Glen Ord it is rather light and complex, fruits and a bit of pepper. Old Pulteney is more bourbon casks all they way, which is not bad, but it is less complex and more bitter than Glen Ord. Quite comfortable victory for Glen Ord.

Hudson Manhattan Rye vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Hudson much darker. Mackmyra has a light fruity aroma, Hudson sweeter and thicker. Mackmyra, it resembles whisky, but it has many somewhat bitter somewhat chemical flavours, and not so many other things. Manhattan resembles bourbon, but it is more raw, more undeveloped. Back to Mackmyra, it makes me think of Grappa or something. Hudson wins.

Hudson Manhattan Four Grain Bourbon vs Hudson Manhattan Rye: Four Grain is a bit darker and more reddish, and it has more of that perfumic bourbon aroma. Four Grain tastes more like a bourbon too, more sweet and more fruity. Manhattan Rye has no characteristic flavour that is good or interesting, it tastes like a chemical diluted bourbon with little charm. I prefer Four Grain.

Hudson Manhattan Rye vs Paul John Classic Select: Similar, rather dark color. PJ a bit more powerful on the nose, Hudson has a sweeter more natural aroma, PJ a bit more chemical and raw. Tasting both, Paul John is more dry and Hudson has more flavour. Obviously Hudson leans towards bourbon while Paul John leans nowhere. However, Paul John may be easier to, accept. It is hard to pick a winner. The defensive choice is PJ and the more progressive choice is Hudson. Often in this case I would give victory to PJ because it is easier to drink, but in this case I think Hudson tells something about young “rye-bourbon”, Paul John tells me nothing.

Hazelburn 10 vs Tobermory 12: Hazelburn is paler, and a bit lighter and dryer on the nose (both have surprisingly little aroma. I taste Hazelburn and find a clean classic whisky flavour. Toberymory a bit sweeter and softer, more bourbon. Hazelburn reminds of a peated whisky, without the peat, a bit bitter finish. Not easy to pick a winner. I pick Hazelburn today.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) Sherry: Both rather amber dark, Strathmill somewhat darker. Bladnoch lighter, more bourbon and something nasty chemical about it. Strathmill is heaver and deeper sherry sweet. Bladnoch, quite rich and nice sherry flavour, some sulphur perhaps, adding water. Strathmill is a bit saltier, more classic old whisky character. Strathmills stands out as simply being better.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Bladnoch more red, Glen Scotia more dark though. Bladnoch has a bourbon-sherry aroma with some sulphur. Glen Scotia is more dirty and raw. Tasting, Bladnoch has a more distinctive clear character, Glen Scotia leaves me more wandering what it wants to be. Bladnoch is softer, more balanced and just tastier.

Bergslagen Gast vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) Sherry: Strathmill is more brownish. Bergslagen has a peculiar light peated and exotic aroma. Strathmill very classic complex soft sherry aroma. Bergslagen is rather plain and dry, lingers with some nice peatiness. Strathmill is softer, easier to drink, but it does not taste remarkably old in comparison. I did not decide immediately, but on the second round it is no doubt that the more balanced Strathmill wins.

Bergslagen Gast vs Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso: Bladnoch is more dark and red. Bladnoch smells old radiator water, Bergslagen a bit peated. But I let flavour decide, I prefer Bladnoch.

Bowmore 18 vs Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand filled: 18YO is darker. The Hand filled is from a secrets vault tour in the distillery, I have hand filled it myself directly from the bourbon cask. Somewhat surprisingly the Hand filled whisky is a bit more sweet and bourbon, 18YO is more ash-dry. None feels so heavily peated, but that is compared to each other. I taste 18YO and it is a very stable peated whisky, dry, peated, balanced, complex. I taste the hand filled, it is probably cask strength (doh, I took it from a cask), but probably closer to 50 than 60. I think it is to strong anyway and I add water. I find it more bourbon sweet, and a bit lighter, less complex perhaps, than 18YO. Back to 18YO, it is salty, and a bit malty too. 18YO wins, hand filled from secret vault can not compete.

Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand filled vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig a bit darker, with a more peated nose. Bowmore is more careful bourbon sweet. Laphroaig is salty, peated and complex. Bowmore is much sweeter, much less peated. If you like peat you will prefer Laphroaig, but I think this Bowmore tastes very good even if it less peated – very nice bourbon touch, so victory to Bowmore.

Bulleit Rye vs Crown Royal Rye: Similar color, perhaps Bulleit is a bit darker. Crown Royal has a fruity, almost flowery, caramel aroma. Bulleit is heavier, more oily bourbon. Tasting Crown Royal it tastes more bourbon than it smells, not too rough and not too flowery. Bulleit is a more raw, powerful experience for the devoted bourbon lover. Back to Crown Royal, it still tastes bourbon, just milder. I prefer Crown Royal.

Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand filled vs Longrow 21: Quite similar color, but the similarities end there. Bowmore is a bit peated but it is a light, fresh and malty whisky, both on the nose and in the mouth. Longrow is a heavy, oily whisky, a bit bitter and almost a bit like petroleum. Those who prefer a more powerful peated whisky will go for Longrow, but I enjoy Bowmore better.

Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand filled vs Talisker 10: Talisker a bit darker. Bowmore has a more fresh bourbon aroma, Talisker a bit more heavy. Tasting Talisker it is rather balanced and complex, a bit pepper to it. Bowmore is less peated, even fruity. As a peated whisky, Talisker is better, but also overall I think talisker has more to offer and a better taste.

Bowmore 12 vs Longrow: Bowmore a bit darker and more red. On the nose Longrow is more peated, not particularly sweet. Bowmore is more sweet, but a bit unrefined and raw. Both taste fine. Bowmore is sweeter, a bit undefined and chemical, and less peated than Longrow. Longrow is quite dry, with a nice peat flavour, and not so much else – salty and fresh. I prefer Longrow, but Bowmore is probably the softer choice for the not so experienced peat drinker.

Ardbeg 10 vs Longrow 21: Ardbeg is much paler. Longrow has a rich heavy, sweet and sour nose, with a bit of peat of course. Ardbeg is lighter and fresher, more smoke, less thick body. Also when tasting Ardbeg is light, as in not thick oily and sweet. Longrow is rather sour in its oilyness. I prefer Ardbeg.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Tobermory 12: Same quite pale color. Glenfiddich has a more light and fresh, like a white wine, aroma. Tobermory more bourbon sweet. Glenfiddich tastes surprisingly dry and malty, a bit salty, good but not overwhelming. Tobermory has a more soft and sweet flavour, more bourbon, a bit nut and caramel finish. Back to Glenfiddich, a bit bitter. Tobermory is better.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Old Pulteney Vintage 2006 (11YO): Very similar color. Glenfiddich is a bit more dark fruit aroma, Old Pulteney more wine fresh. Tasting Old Pulteney, it is rather salt, a bit pepper, nice malty finish. Glenfiddich more bitter and harsch. Old Pulteney wins.

Ballantines 17 vs Old Pulteney Vintage 2006 (11YO): Ballantines slightly darker, but with a more subtle aroma. Old Pulteney a bit salty and nutty. Ballantines a bit salty first, then surpisingly a bit dirty almost peated. Old Pulteney more salty, quite fresh, perhaps not the complexity of Ballantines. Back to Ballantines it is very balanced, a bit complex, somewhat boring. I prefer Ballantines.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Tobermory 12: Arran much paler, despite being cask strength. Arran has a caramel, almost liquer aroma and Tobermory is more salty and malty. Tasting Arran it is like bourbon and cream, Tobermory has a hint of peat and a more classic character. Arran is quite tasty, a bit odd, and I prefer Tobermory.

Deanston 12 vs Highland Park Cask Strength: Without water HP is slightly darker. HP has a slightly peated fresh aroma. Deanston, not being peated, matches the power on the nose and is more malty. Back to HP the peat is even more obvious now. Deanston has a mild, caramel, nut and cream flavour. Nice. HP obviously tastes more peated, and that comes with some dirtiness, sourness and bitterness. Back to Deanston, it is very soft and easy to enjoy. I prefer Deanston.

Bowmore 15 vs Longrow: Bowmore is darker. Longrow not so very peated on the nose at first, dry. Bowmore more sweet, thick, and the peat is a bit hidden. Bowmore a bit exotic wood. Longrow is surpisingly sweet in flavour, balanced peatiness well integrated in the whisky. More smoke than heavily petroleum. Bowmore tastes good, well produced, both peat and sweet in a mix that makes me think of blend, soft, somewhat bitter. Longrow nice and salt, more solid experience.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Glendronach Batch 9: Glendronach is darker, really golden red. Ichiro has a quite nice, somewhat sweet aroma. Glendronach really has a smell of desert wine, not bad, and I add quite much water to it but not quite enough to neutralise the sulphur. Ichiro tastes somewhat bitter and even though it is not particularly bad there is not so much to like either. I think I got Glendronach down below the sulphur threshold and it is sweet and fruity indeed – a sherry bomb. Now they actually taste quite similar. I think Glendronach is marginally better.

Dufftown 18 vs Mannochmore 1984-2004: (Helen Arthur) Very similar color, Dufftown maybe slightly darker. Dufftown has a fruity maltiness on the nose. Mannochmore a bit sweeter, could be a hint of sherry there. Dufftown has a quite dry classic speyside flavour, a bit bitter and metallic but overall decent. Without knowing what the bottle says I am quite certain Mannochmore is sherry matured, also decent (I add some water). A bit burnt, a bit raw, a bit sweet. Dufftown is lighter, less complex with less flavour. I prefer Mannochmore.

Mannochmore 1984-2004 (H-A) vs Tobermory 12: Mannochmore slightly darker. Tobermory is more bourbon on the nose, Mannochmore more sherry. Tobermory is balanced, sweet vanilla caramel in the mouth. Mannochmore tastes more like a small batch unique whisky, hint of sulphur. Tobermory wins.

Mannochmore 1984-2004 Helen Arthur vs Johnny Walker Blue Label: Similar color. JW is a bit peated, Mannochmore more in the sherry direction. Hard to pick a winner, there is some depth and smoothness in JW that I will let decide. JW wins.

Highland Park Valfather vs Longrow: HP very slightly darker. Longrow more peated on the nose, HP lighter and fruitier (when I tried the HP alone a few days ago I found it quite peated, now, not so much). I taste HP and it is quite balanced, in the peated direction but no dominant peat. Longrow is drier, a bit more bitter finish. Back to HP it is quite soft, some sweetness, easy to enjoy but with a kick. Longrow is more burnt and sour, and salty. I think Longrow wins.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Hudson Baby Bourbon: Hudson slightly paler, and more powerful on the nose. Hudson is more vanilla and less perfume, than bourbon sometimes can be. Cosmo has both a malty and a sherry aroma, and it tastes like a quite decent sherry whisky. The bourbon is stronger in flavour, less soft. Cosmo wins.

7 dlight Mars Cosmo Sherry vs Balcones Peated: Balcones is darker, with a very sweet, sligthly peated aroma. Cosmo is less in your face, more classic. Balcones (with plenty of water) tastes better than it smells – quite rich soft flavour. Cosmo has a hint of sulphur, so I add water. I actually prefer Balcones.

Mortlach 13 2021 Special Release vs Old Pulteney 18: Mortlach is much paler (and CS), with a very clean classic whisky aroma. Old Pulteney is more sweet and dirty on the nose. Back to Mortlach it is fresh fruit like green grapes or apples. I taste Mortlach and find it surprisingly salty and malty – not as light as the aroma indicated. Old Pulteney has a creamy soft kind of sweet flavour. Both have a bit of bitter finish. I think most people might not agree but I prefer the lighter and cleaner Mortlach, and I find it easier to enjoy head to head.

Highland Park Valfather vs Johnny Walker Gold Label: HP is paler and has a more peated aroma. JW has a quite mild and balanced flavour. Highland park is less soft, but more salt and peat. Back to JW it is quite dull and not so tasty. HP is better.

Highland Park Valfather vs Johnny Walker Black Label: JW is darker, and sweeter on the nose, HP is more peated, but these are quite similar. HP is more distinct. I taste both, not so different. This is a bit like listening to the same song on better and worse loudspeakers: HP gives you a more crisp experience with contrast and details, JW is more smooth and blurred. HP is better.

Bowmore 18 vs Talisker 10: Bowmore is darker, and on the nose it is peated, a bit sweet and caramel, very balanced. Talisker is more peated and a bit more salty and dry. Back to Bowmore it is less impressive. Tasting Bowmore this is a very well manufactured and easy to access yet peated whisky. Talisker also tastes more peat and dry salt, more sea to it. Unfortunately for Bowmore, it just can not compete with Talisker which offers a near perfect Islay expericence (from Skye).

Highland Park Valfather vs Super Nikka: Similar color. I try my nose, HP is quite light, on the fruity side, yet peated. Nikka a bit sweeter, more bourbon and vanilla, HP a bit peatier. Tasting Super Nikka it is a solid soft whisky with mature flavours. HP is saltier, peatier, and a bit bitter. Back to Super Nikka I immediately notice the vanilla aroma, and it is still quite soft in the mouth. I would say from a quality perspective these are quite comparable, but the style is rather differnent. I usually consider Super Nikka a bit dirty and Valfather is not at all peated enough to be on the peated list, but head to head it is almost like salt-and-peat vs bourbon-and-softness. Yet, a peat lover will find HP underwhelming and a soft whisky lover will find Super Nikka too rough and heavy. Trying to separate them, I think HP is a more interesting whisky being somewhat peated it fills a niche, if you tolerate the peat. Super Nikka is more forgettable.