Elemental Dice – Cerium Problem

After a few months in a box in a close, it is obvious that Cerium has a problem.

I have received a replacement Cerium die, with cerium in resin.

Debian 12 on a 2-drive NUC

After my relative success with Debian 12 on my Hades Canyon I decided to install Debian 12 on an older NUC as well, the NUC D54250WYKH with an i5-4250U. The nice thing with this NUC is that it both has an mSATA slot and room for a good old 2.5-inch drive. So I have:

  • 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD
  • 240 GB SSD

The annoying thing is that the BIOS/UEFI only wants to boot from the SATA drive, and the SATA drive shows up first in Linux. The easy way for me to install this computer would be

  • 240 GB SSD: /, /boot, /swap, /home
  • 1000 GB HDD: /home/sync (for syncthing data)

I could do a simple guided-encrypted-lvm-all-drive on the 240 GB, and a single encrypted partition on 1TB. But Debian 12 installation fails when it comes to installing GRUB, and the installed system does not boot.

Using LVM to make a logical volume spanning a small fast SSD and a large slow HDD makes no sense.

Partitioning in Debian

There is a guided option and a manual option to do Partitioning in Debian. I feel neither is good for me.

  • Guided: fails to lay out things easily on the two drives in a way that works
  • Manual: honestly, too complicated, particularly:
    • LVM and encryption hide few details, requires many steps, and hard to undo half-way
    • I understood that LILO needed to go the beginning of the drive BIOS was set to boot, and that LILO needed to see /boot (whether its own partition or root). However, with GRUB and UEFI, there are two separate extra partitions (/boot and some FAT-partition I think) and I am not allowed to control where the GRUB code goes (if anywhere). So I do not dare to set up this manually.

To make things worse (admittedly, I used the minimal.iso Debian installer which pulls things over the network to make things slower), when restarting the computer/installer there are quite many steps until my drives are detected and I can even erase partition tables and start over.

What I did

After two failed installation attempts, and several more restarts of the installer, I found a working solution.

I first erased all traces of partitions and boot code on both drives to be on the safe side. /dev/sda is the installation media.

  1. # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024 count=10240
  2. # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc bs=1024 count=10240
  3. Guided non encrypted setup of 1000 TB drive, with separate /home
  4. I didn’t even install X/Gnome this time to save time

This gave me working computer that makes no use of my SSD. As root on the console I did:

  1. Backup the home directory of my non-root-user (just in case) to /root
  2. Remove /home from fstab
  3. Restart
  4. install cryptsetup and cryptsetup-run
  5. encrypt /dev/sda4 using cryptsetup (900GB+ HDD partition)
  6. encrypt /dev/sdb1 using cryptsetup (240GB SSD only partition)
  7. add entries to /etc/crypttab:
    sda4enc /dev/sda4
    sdb1enc /dev/sdb1
  8. Restart
  9. Give master encryption password (just once since I used the same)
  10. mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/sda4enc
  11. mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/sdb1enc
  12. add entries to /etc/fstab
    /dev/sdb1enc /home +options
    /dev/sda4enc /home/sync +options
  13. Restart

The result is almost 100% good. A few comments:

  • swap ended up on slow 1TB HDD, which I am fine with since I have 16GB RAM
  • root filesystem (with /usr, /root, /var, /etc and more) is not encrypted now, but I can live with having only my data (/home, /home/sync) encrypted
  • using cryptsetup/luks directly on partitions, not bothering with LVM, is much more simple
  • with /etc/crypttab and cryptsetup-run, encryption is really simple and understandable

As long as I do not run into something strange with X/Wayland/Gnome and drivers for this old NUC, I think I am good now.

What I would have wanted

I hear people have been fearing the Debian installer, up to Debian 12. I have not feared it in the past, but now I kind of do (after having issues installing two different NUCs the same week).

This is the partitioning experience I would have liked. My input/selections as [ ].

You have three drives with multiple partitions. Select all you want to keep, use as is, or delete:

/dev/sda (Debian installation media)
[KEEP] /dev/sda1 ...
[KEEP] /dev/sda2 ...
[KEEP] /dev/sda3 ...

/dev/sdb (1000 GB HITACHI)
[DELETE] /dev/sdb1  200 GB NTFS
[DELETE] /dev/sdb2  750 GB ext4
[/mnt/backup] /dev/sdb3 50 GB (just an example of something to keep

/dev/sdc (240 GB SAMSUNG)
[DELETE] /dev/sdc1  500MB FAT
[DELETE] /dev/sdc2  400MB ext2
[DELETE] /dev/sdc3  239GB ext4

With that out of the way, I would like Debian to ask me:

What device should contain 2 small partitions for boot purposes?
[X] /dev/sdb  -- 950 GB free
[ ] /dev/sdc  -- 240 GB free

Where do you want swap partitions, and what size?
[      ] /dev/sdb -- 950 GB free
[ 16GB ] /dev/sdc -- 240 GB free

Where do you want /, and what size
[      ] /dev/sdb -- 950 GB free
[ 30GB ] /dev/scd -- 224 GB free

Do you want a separate /home, and what size
[       ] /dev/sdb -- 950 GB free
[ 194GB ] /dev/scd -- 194 GB free

Do you want a separate /var, and what size
[       ] /dev/sdb -- 950 GB free
[       ] /dev/scd --   0 GB free

Do you want to set up extra non-standard mounts?
[ 950GB ] [ /home/sync ] /dev/sdb -- 950 GB free

Now it is time to choose encryption and format options:

UEFI-BOOT    500MB   [ FAT ]
/boot        500MB   [ ext2 ]
/             30GB   [ ext4 + encrypt ]
/home        194GB   [ ext4 + encrypt ]
/home/sync   950GB   [ ext4 + encrypt ]
/mnt/backup   50GB   [ KEEP ]

Finally, choose encryption password (the same, or separate).

This would have been a much better experience for me. I understand there can be more cases:

  • Computers with multiple disks may want to use LVM for to make logical volumes spanning several physical volumes. That would probably be a question between (1) and (2) above.
  • Multiple filesystems could live on a common encrypted volume, with a common encryption key, making use of LVM. That could be a question in the end:
    /usr and /var are on the same disk, do you want them to share encryption key on a common volume


I would guess that the use cases are:

  • 80% Simple 1-drive computers (Guided, automatic, defaults)
  • 10% Multi-disk servers with specific requirements (Manual, expert mode)
  • 10% 2-3 drive computers (not well supported today with Debian 12)

I am just making 80/10/10 up, of course. The unsupported 10% can be made up of:

  • Laptops or desktops that come with a small SSD and a large HDD (it happens)
  • Desktop computers with extra drives installed
  • Simple servers

Perhaps in Debian 13!

Debian 12 on Hades Canyon NUC

I have a Hades Canyon NUC (NUC8i7HVK) that I have been running Ubuntu and later Fedora on. Ubuntu has been fine for years but I didn’t want Snap (especially not for Firefox) so I tried out Fedora and that was also fine.

I realize that I did not leave Ubuntu because I did not want to have Snap, I left it because I want 100% apt. So in the long run I feel a bit alienated with Fedora and with Debian 12 out and getting good reviews I thought about giving it a try.

This desktop computer is a bit like your typical laptop when it comes to Linux, not sure everything works out of the box. I used to struggle a bit with Bluetooth and Audio, but I don’t do those things on this machine anymore. Ubuntu and Fedora are kind of already configured with proprietary non-free drivers for this NUC, but Debian is not.


I am running Debian 12 now, installed from the “minimal.iso” debian image, and with a number of extra packages installed. The InstallingDebianOn-page for this machine is ok. All I actually did was to add non-free and contrib to sources.list and install the extra packages recommended:

I have done no extra configuration or tweaking on Debian 12, but I am not using Audio-IN, Bluetooth or Wifi so I have not tested.

Broken Live Image

I didn’t throw Fedora 38 out without doing some testing first, so I downloaded the Live image for Debian 12 and successfully tried it. Then I installed Debian 12 from the Live image (choosing install immediately at the Grub menu), which was 99% successful. But it left some Raspberry-Pi packages and some stuff in /boot, resulting in that apt could not finish rebuilding the ramdisk. Computer started, but error remained. I searched on forums, it is a known problem with the Live image, there are solutions and when I tried I just got more errors. So I ended up reinstalling Debian 12 from scratch.


I downloaded the minimal.iso, convenient so I did not have to use a large USB-key, and installed from it. What a nice text/curses based installation! Then I got a non booting system!

I had to disable “Intel IGD” (I think that was how it was called) in “BIOS” (it is not BIOS anymore), becuase this machine has an Intel GPU that is not connected to any output, and with this rudimentary Debian install, somehow the system would not start.

When that was done, and I started Debian and logged in, Gnome (and neofetch I presume) reported GPU=Software. I could watch Youtube with high CPU load. That was when I installed the extra packages listed above, and since then I have been happy.


Debian 12 is fine on Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK. The InstallingDebianOn-page linked above tells you more than you need. It was written from Debian 10.7.

Trying tmux

It seems screen is old and tmux is what I should use. Here are some findings and notes.

Cheat Sheet

I found a decent Cheat Sheet.

macOS backspace issue

There seems to be a problem with backspace in tmux on macOS. I installed tmux via pkgin, so if you use brew or something, perhaps the situation is different.

The simple fix I found here was to create a ~/.tmux.conf and add one line:

set -g default-terminal "screen"


set -g default-terminal "screen-256color"

Other solutions fixing tmux-256color with infocmp and tmp failed for me. I probably just didn’t use the right versions of the commands in the right way.

macOS resizing panes

As I understand it, panes are resized with CTRL+B+ArrowKey. But CTRL+ArrowKey does something else on macOS. I have not decided if I need to solve this yet.


Scrolling was always a hassle in screen. In tmux, this is a nobrainer for me (again ~/.tmux.conf):

set -g mouse on

On RHEL and downstream clones

I have been using Linux, being fascinated with Linux, since 1997. It makes me sad to see the current situation with RHEL, Alma and Rocky.

I have since long been a user of Debian and different versions of Ubuntu. Recently I have switched to Fedora on my workstations because I don’t appreciate Snap in Ubuntu.

I think Linux, how it is delivered, compared to Windows, has two advantages (apart from price):

  • Everyone can use the same version of Linux (I don’t have arbitrary limitations on my Home computer compared to my Professional computer, or my Server computer)
  • Anyone can make their own flavour (with KDE, for Gaming, for sound engineers, for servers, without systemd, for network routers and firewalls)

To me, this is about economy. Not purchase price, but about not doing the same work over and over again, on different computers, in different projects, or in different organisations. This is about maximising synergy, and minimising waste.


RHEL is, from my perspective, about

  • Not everyone can use the same version of Linux (because RHEL is dominant but not for everyone)
  • Since last weeks, nobody should make their own flavours of RHEL

I understand it makes sense from a corporate perspective, but it makes less sense from a holistic Linux perspective. But this was kind of true for RHEL even before last weeks shutting off patches downstream.

To me, RHEL is less free, in lack of a better word. I can have it for 0 USD, I can get the source under GPL, but it still comes with strings attached that I rather don’t have.

Alma and Rocky

I have occasionally logged in to a RHEL computer but I have never done anything with Alma or Rocky. I understand if you technically want RHEL but you do not want a relationship with Red Hat, Alma or Rocky solves that. And perhaps RHEL (or Alma or Rocky) is more fit-for-purpose for you than any alternative (like Debian or Ubuntu).

I always refused to use pirated Windows because I argued that even if I pay Microsoft nothing, I am still supporting their entire ecosystem, not helping things to get better. To me, Alma and Rocky are not pirated versions of RHEL (of course not). But to me, they also do not contribute to making RHEL or any other Linux system better. And they do not make the REAL alternatives to RHEL any more viable, while supporting the RHEL ecosystem. They are just community effort to duplicate work, and from my perspective that effort could have been used for something better (like Debian – if you want free Linux).

Fedora -> CentOS Stream -> RHEL -> Clones

I kind of agree with the Red Hat position, that supporting Fedora and CentOS Stream, upstream, is their best way of serving the community. And that the clones themselves add nothing.

To me Fedora and CentOS Stream makes more sense and have more appeal, than Alma and Rocky. But I don’t need to run some enterprise applications so perhaps I do not understand.

Red Hat business model

As I understand it (and I just run Debian on my servers, so I may not know) Canonical has free download available for all versions of Ubuntu (also enterprise server versions that compete with RHEL). But you can pay for support if you want.

If Red Hat did the same, Alma and Rocky would disappear. Or they would turn into niche variants/remixes of RHEL. I have seen other places in the open source world where you need to pay for extended support, which seems to be what RHEL and the cost of RHEL is much about.

I read that Red Hat realised that customers had 1 paid RHEL computer, and 999 CentOS computers, and the support was always for the RHEL computer. That was why Red Hat moved CentOS upstream. Perhaps that was the wrong move to increase customer RHEL support loyalty, and perhaps this late move of Red Hat is also the wrong move for the same old problem.


Alma and Rocky exist only because Red Hat and RHEL comes with strings attached that many people do not want in the Linux world. However, there were still strings, and now Red Hat pulls them.

There are only two good solutions:

  1. Red Hat understands the real need for no strings attached
  2. People understand to move away from RHEL entirely, and truly support the real alternatives

I hope for any of these. Not for a RHEL-Alma-Rocky conflict situation.

Oracle Free Compute Instance: Incoming TCP

I learnt that Oracle is offering a few free virtual machines to individuals. There are few strings attached and the machines available are quite potent. Search for Oracle always free compute instance.

The very basics are:

  • 1 CPU AMD or 1-4 CPU ARM
  • 1 GB RAM (AMD) or up to 6 GB RAM (ARM)
  • 47 GB of Storage
  • 10 TB of network traffic per month
  • Choice of Linux distribution (Fedora, Alma, Ubuntu, Oracle, not Debian) with custom image options.

Setting up a virtual machine is quite straight forward (although there are many options). At one point you download ssh-keys to connect. You save them in .ssh and connect like (username is different for non-ubuntu distributions):

$ ls ./ssh
my-free-oracle.key my-free-oracle.key.pub

$ ssh -i ./ssh/my-free-oracle.key ubuntu@<IP ADDRESS>

That was all very good and easy, but then I wanted to open up for incoming traffic…

Incoming traffic is very easy!

The Oracle cloud platform is rather complex. There are many different things you can configure that are related to traffic. What you need to configure is:

  • Virtual Cloud Network -> Security List -> Add Ingress Rule
  • Configure linux firewall
    On ubuntu for proof of concept: $ sudo iptables -F INPUT

If you set up apache and add an ingress rule for port 80 as above, you shall have a working web server.

What I did

In my defence, when something does not work and you see a number of possible problems, it is hard to locate which problem you have. In the end, there could have been a checkbox in my Oracle Profile to agreeing on some terms to allow incoming traffic, and all other configuration would have been in vain. That was how it felt. What, in the end, is not needed to create or configure, are:

  • Load Balancer
  • Network Load Balancer
  • Custom route tables
  • Network security group
  • Service Gateways

The Oracle Cloud infrastructure GUI is both complex and slow, and at some point I started wondering if I should wait a few minutes for a setting to take effect (no – it is quite instant).

I made the mistake of starting with Oracle Linux, which I have never used before, so the number of possible faults in my head was even higher. I have not been playing with linux firewalls for a few years, I started looking at UFW for Ubuntu, got all confused and it wasn’t until I started looking into iptables directly things worked.

I think, my machine is in what Oracle calls a virtual network with only my own machines, and Oracle provides firewall rules (Security List, mentioned above), so I quite don’t see the need for having restrictive iptables settings on the virtual machine itself.

My new basic .vimrc

I decided to improve my Vim situation a bit from disabling most everything to a basic .vimrc I stole from someone online and modified slightly.

set nocompatible
syntax on
set modelines=0
set ruler
set encoding=utf-8
set wrap

set tabstop=2
set shiftwidth=2
set softtabstop=2
set autoindent
set copyindent
set expandtab
set noshiftround

set hlsearch
set incsearch
set showmatch
set smartcase

set hidden
set ttyfast
set laststatus=2

set showcmd
set background=dark

" from ThePrimeagen
nnoremap <C-d> <C-d>zz
nnoremap <C-u> <C-u>zz

set colorcolumn=80
set relativenumber

With that done, I had a few more questions.

Q: How do I stop search highlight when I am done searching?
A: :nohls

Q: How (outside vim) do I check number of columns of my terminal?
A: $tput cols

Improving performance with mitigations=off

I became aware that Spectre and Meltdown kernel mitigations could be turned off in Linux. I decided to give it a try.

You are making your system vulnerable to known types of attacks for marginal performance gains. I do not suggest or recommend it.

I am not explaining what the vulnerabilities are, and in what cases it would make sense to leave them open. My CPU is (selected lines from lscpu):

$ lscpu             GenuineIntel
  Model name:            Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8809G CPU @ 3.10GHz

  Itlb multihit:         KVM: Mitigation: VMX disabled
  L1tf:                  Mitigation; PTE Inversion; VMX conditional cache flushe
                         s, SMT vulnerable
  Mds:                   Mitigation; Clear CPU buffers; SMT vulnerable
  Meltdown:              Mitigation; PTI
  Mmio stale data:       Mitigation; Clear CPU buffers; SMT vulnerable
  Retbleed:              Mitigation; IBRS
  Spec store bypass:     Mitigation; Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl
  Spectre v1:            Mitigation; usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer
  Spectre v2:            Mitigation; IBRS, IBPB conditional, RSB filling, PBRSB-
                         eIBRS Not affected
  Srbds:                 Mitigation; Microcode
  Tsx async abort:       Not affected

Deactivate Mitigations

This computer is running Fedora 37, booting using EFI and Grub2. I used to know LILO. Updating Grub was very easy when I knew how to do it. Obviously a restart is required.

# == To disable mitigations, making system vulnerable ==
# grubby --update-kernel=ALL --args="mitigations=off"
# grubby --info=ALL
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

# == To enable mitigations, making system safe ==
# grubby --update-kernel=ALL --remove-args="mitigations=off"
# grubby --info=ALL
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

After turning mitigations off, this is the pretty output from lscpu:

Vulnerability Itlb multihit:     KVM: Mitigation: VMX disabled
Vulnerability L1tf:              Mitigation; PTE Inversion; VMX vulnerable
Vulnerability Mds:               Vulnerable; SMT vulnerable
Vulnerability Meltdown:          Vulnerable
Vulnerability Mmio stale data:   Vulnerable
Vulnerability Retbleed:          Vulnerable
Vulnerability Spec store bypass: Vulnerable
Vulnerability Spectre v1:        Vulnerable: __user pointer sanitization and usercopy barriers only; no swapgs barriers
Vulnerability Spectre v2:        Vulnerable, IBPB: disabled, STIBP: disabled, PBRSB-eIBRS: Not affected
Vulnerability Srbds:             Vulnerable
Vulnerability Tsx async abort:   Not affected


Rather than using some synthetic test I decided to use my most common heavy workload, a “precommit”-script that i run in my software project before committing code to git. All going well, it looks like this:

$ /usr/bin/time ./tools/precommit.sh
PRE COMMIT (5x: integrationtests, tests, htmllint, eslint, pkgjson)...
         pkgjson ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:111 (111)
            html ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:257 (257)
              es ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:2 (2)
 integrationtest ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:7 Good:1487 (1494)
            test ---- Bad:0 Void:0 Skipped:0 Good:2622 (2622)
41.08user 4.37system 0:22.63elapsed 200%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 196640maxresident)k

This is a mix of different types of loads. Mostly it is Node.js running JavaScript code. In the beginning the five test categories run in parallel, but as the first checks complete less things are running. Also the tests contains some I/O, some waiting for I/O, some actual requests to services on the internet and things like that. So there is a lower limit to how fast it can run, regardless of CPU performance.

I ran several times to make sure everthing is cached and below are approximate avarages (this benchmark is not entirely stable from time to time):

Elapsed timeUser timeSystem time% CPU
i7-8809G mitigations=off22s38s3.5s190%
i7-8809G hyperthreading off (BIOS)29s32s3.9s120%
i5-4250U mitigations=off33s89s8s290%
Apple M1 Pro (10 Cores)23s18s3.6sn/a

Turning mitigations off gives about 10% performance on elapsed time for this real world problem. That is something (I have seen other people seeing more like 1% difference in gaming).

I found it interesting that my M1 Pro had the same performance, despite having more cores (10 vs 4/8) and lower total user time (kind of half time). I draw the conclusion that not so many cores are used in parallel and thought it was interesting to turn off hyperthreading (on a safe configuration) but that was quite bad for performance.

I also tested on an older NUC, finding basically no improvement at all with mitigations=off.

I will leave my computers safe.

Whisky tasting notes 2023

Links: Whisky ranking

Chivas Regal 12 vs Mackmyra Första Utgåvan: Chivas slightly darker. Mackmyra has a quite non-typical whisky aroma, a bit grappa-like. Chivas very mild and subtle aroma. Also tasting Mackmyra is an unusual experience, quite fruity (again like grappa) with some vanilla. Chivas would just have to bring some standard mellow speyside flavours to the glas to win, but chivas really disappoints, very little flavour and quite much pure alcohol feeling. So anyone who didnt want a whisky in the first place might prefer Chivas, but I taste with the idea that I appreciate both whisky and flavour, and I think Mackmyra is better.

Highland Park Cask Strength vs Redbreast 12: Redbreast slightly darker (after adding not so little water to HP). HP rather dry, malty aroma, not very peated. Redbreast has a sweet vanilla aroma. I taste Redbreast and it is like a soft and balanced bourbon. HP is more sour, even peated. I like the HP, but I think Redbreast is not only easier to drink but also a step better.

Highland Park 18 vs Tobermory 12: HP is a bit more dark and red, Tobermory a bit more light brown. Tobermory has not so little vanilla on the nose, soft sweet and balanced. Highland Park is not so different, a bit more rich and floral. Tobermory has a fresh kind of salty vanilla and caramel flavour, soft and very balanced. HP is more peated, more sophisticated but less accessible. Back to Tobermory, it is really easy to drink and enjoy, perhaps a bit too (sweet and soft) much so. I think I can say that for the whisky enthusiast HP is the more rewarding whisky and I give victory to HP, but Tobermory is damn tasty.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Ballantines 17: Arran is paler, even before I add water. Ballantines has a light, dry, malty classic aroma. Arran is sweeter in a more unusual way, a bit spicey or like punch. Back to Ballantines it is the more subtle whisky on the nose. I taste Ballantines and it is quite simple, straight, not sweet but quite flawless. Arran is more caramel and honey, and a bit only that. Back to Ballantines it still holds and it lingers nice and soft. Arran is more odd. I prefer Ballantines.

Bushmills 12 vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Bushmills is darker, more red and amber. Ukraina is quite sweet on the nose, some bourbon, and a bit raw/young. Bushmills is softer, more subtle. Back to Ukraina it is also a bit salty. I taste Bushmills and the taste impresses more than the smell, soft, caramel and in lingers nicely. Ukraina, almost peated just before I drink it, quite complex, quite young and a bit unrefined. Back to Bushmills, no new impressions but it is still very nice after the more powerful Ukraina. This is quite close, Ukraina is more interesting but it also has less of an identity (it is a blend of 9 distilleries), Bushmills is very well produced and easy to like. I prefer Bushmills.

Springbank 9 Local Barley vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Local Barley is paler, both are cask strength. Local Barley is fresh and malty, Madeira is obviously more fruity and sweet. I add water to both. I taste Local Barley and find it salty, a bit peated, warming, lingering, very nice. I taste Madeira and it has a more common fortified wine matured flavour, that hides much of what I find in Local Barley (if it was there at all). You may or may not like Local Barley, but tonight I find it a fantastic whisky and Madeira can not compete.

Glenlivet 18 vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Glenlivet a bit darker. On the nose, the difference is not that big so it is not so easy. Glenlivet is a bit more subtle and balanced, a bit more Speyside nut and caramel. Springbank has an obvious and sweet origin. Tasting Glenlivet it is surprisingly fruity. Very balanced and soft, with the maltiness more in the finish. Madeira is a more sharp, short flavour with more questionable oily finish. Glenlivet wins.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Glenmorangie 19: 18YO slightly darker. On the nose 18YO is a bit more fruity sweet and 19YO more classic speyside character. They are similar, caramel, nutty and no dirt, leather or peat at all. Tasting is same conclusion, 18YO is slightly sweeter and 19YO a bit more dry and malty. However 19YO is more even and lingers longer in a nice way. So it is a narrow but clear victory to 19YO.

Glenlivet 18 vs Glenmorangie 18: Glenlivet is darker, with a malty nose. Glenmorangie is more caramel. Glenlivet is quite dry, a bit salty on the nose. Glenmorangie is more sweet, with a caramel and nut finish. I can appreciate a more dry and salty whisky, but Glenmorangie is very good and the way it lingers makes a difference.

Dufftown 18 vs Springbank 18: Similar color. Dufftown quite light, fresh, slightly fruity aroma. Springbank is more oily, dirty, leather. Dufftown has a very ordinary typical whisky flavour, unfortunately a bit alcohol flavour in the finish. Springbank is heavier, with oil and leather and it is quite soft. But it kind of tastes old in a not so good way, and hints of sulpur. I add water to both, more to the stronger Springbank. Dufftown is ok but boring, like I would want to remember a decent blend. Springbank got softer with water and it has a richer flavour than Dufftown, but a bit bitter. I kind of have to say that Springbank is the better whisky, but I can see myself choosing the Dufftown for something easier to enjoy.

Highland Park 18 vs Springbank 18: HP a bit darker, with a lighter fresher and fruitier nose. Springbank smells like a horse. Tasting HP it is a bit salty, rather fresh, soft and balanced. Springbank tastes dirty, almost like something is wrong with it, and a bit of sulphur in the end. I will drink more of both but HP wins.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenrothes 12: Quite similar color, I think Glenrothes is slightly more dark and brown. Glenfarclas is very dry on the nose, a bit of alcohol smell, some fine maltiness too. Glenrothes is more sweet, but not in the sherry way, but more as strange oiliness from the distillery process. Both smell a bit suspicious to me. Tasting Glenfarclas, it is dry, salty and malty and that is good, and it kind of tastes more than it smells. Tasting Glenrothes it tastes a bit sweet blend, quite short finish, and it kind of tastes less that it smells. The base of Glenfarclas is nice, but there is a pure alcohol flavour that makes it through. For Glenrothes, those alcohols tastes like other things than ethanol, more unclean. Glenrothes tastes like I imagine people who don’t usually drink or like whisky experience drinking whisky. I prefer Glenfarclas.

Deanston 12 vs Mackmyra Reserve Förlagrat Refill Gravity: Deanston is darker. Mackmyra has quite much bourbon aroma, a bit in the Irish way. Deanston at first seems more dull, quite malty. Waiting a bit Deanston also is quite much bourbon and malt, back to Mackmyra it smells candy. Tasting Deanston, this is an excellent non-peated malt, it tastes like grain and casks, just what you would expect to come out of a whisky distillery, and soft lingering flavour. Mackmyra is ok, but very many flavours that do not quite match or fit, quite chemical. Deanston wins.

Deanston 18 vs Mortlach 20: Mortlach a bit darker. Deanston has a complex spicy malty nose. Mortlach a bit sweeter and more oily. I taste Deanston and find it quite dry, balanced, malty. Mortlach is a bit sweeter, which comes with some bitterness, and at least initially it reveals less complexity. Back to Deanston it has a hint of some funny chemical scent I cant describe, and it is a lighter whisky than Mortlach. Not so easy to pick a winner, I think Mortlach is more solid.

Bowmore 12 vs Ileach: Bowmore a bit darker with a less peated nose. Bowmore has a more complex aroma, quite balanced for a peated whisky, with some maltiness and after a while not so little bourbon. Ileach is more only peat, hints of candy and a bit chemical. Tasting both is kind of the same experience. I have not been so impressed with Bowmore 12 before, but this time it tastes very nice, being not so peated so other flavours come through. Ileach is a cheap peate Islay, not much more. Bowmore wins.

Ledaig 10 vs Ledaig Rioja: Not so surprisingly Rioja is a bit darker. I dont seem to fell much peat today, at least not in my nose. 10YO has a dry and quite fresh nose. Rioja is more sweet and heavy. I taste Rioja, it is probably cask strength (my sample bottle does not tell), and it is definitely a peated whisky. Some overwhelming sourness at this ABV. Adding some water makes it a bit softer, but the peat and the wine gives a sourness and also what I think of as sulphur. Standard 10YO does not have this sourness and it is more malty, getting used to the peat I can feel the bourbon cask flavour. I enjoy 10YO quite much, and Rioja not at all.

Ledaig Rioja vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Rioja really looks pale reddish! Port Charlotte has this sulphur nose, I add water right away, and it gets a bit better. PC is more powerful on the nose still, with a raw sweet aroma. Rioja a bit fruitier. I find these two hard to describe. I taste PC and since I added enough water the sulphur is kind of gone, and it tastes quite decent. More sulphur in Rioja so I add more water to that one too. Both being rather watered down both are quite drinkable, not very enjoyable. Rioja is the milder one, PC still has quite much sherry character, if that is a good thing. I think PC wins, because it has more flavour, is more complex and it probably tastes a bit better to properly watered down.

Ledaig Rioja vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Rioja is pink, Longrow has a classic amber color. No water, Ledaig has a fruitier aroma, Longrow a more raw sweetness. Still no water, Tasting Longrow, the flavour of fatty old margarine dominates. Rioja without water is better, the flavours I pick out are not very whisky-typical, I think of some pink Gin Tonic (and that would have been nicer). I add not so little water to both. Ledaig is now thinner, less sulphur. Longrow has a very nice flavour at first, without the sulphur, and then comes the sulphur. More water to Longrow and it becomes quite complex, soft soft and interesting. Ledaig, hopeless.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Glenrothes 12: Deanston is more pale, with a light aroma, more alcohol than whisky. Glenrothes has more classic bourbon notes with caramel and vanilla. Deanston is a bit dry, not exactly soft, some sweetness. Glenrothes also in the mouth quite sweet with bourbon and caramel flavours. If this was a blind tasting I would have thought Deanston was younger than Glenrothes. I add some water to Deanston and it softens up a little and has some complexity, some bitterness. Deanston is drinkable, but it is hard to find anything to enjoy, Glenrothes at least has a soft bourbon flavour. Glenrothes wins.

Glenrothes 12 vs Knob Creek 9: Knob Creek is darker and stronger so I add water. Quite similar bourbon aroma, Knob Creek is obviously heavier and more bourbon. Glenrothes is a bit half/half (bourbon/scotch) on the nose. I taste Knob Creek, so much flavour, almost overwhelming. Quite nice bourbon flavour, not the perfume I feared, and it lingers warm in the mouth. Glenrothes is, less sweet and more bitter. And while Knob Creek is a bourbon with bells and whistle, Glenrothes is no bourbon. But Glenrothes qualities of being a scotch are not very convincing. Knob Creek is crisp and clear and loud. Glenrothes is numb and dumbed down, losing.

Bowmore small batch vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig a bit darker. Bowmore is a bit more peated, but that is kind of it. Laphoaig is softer with both more balance and complexity. Bowmore stands up good, but Laphroaig wins.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Laphroaig 10: Quite similar color. On the nose Laphroaig is a bit more mellow, malt, caramel. Bunnahabhain has this more fruity and sour hint of sherry cask. I have added a bit of water to Bunnahabhain and it has an immediately surprisingly fruity aroma, after that classic peat, and it all fades away quite quickly leaving nothing bad. Laphroaig is more sea, iodine, medicine. Back to Bunnahabhain it is apart from fruity a bit burnt and bitter. Back to Laphroaig it is obvious that this is a quite even game where the winner may be about pure preference. I find the more classic (non-sherry) Laphroaig more pleasant.

Glen Moray Peated vs Ledaig Rioja: Ledaig is copper coloured while Glen Moray is classic golden. Glen Moray has a simple fresh peated nose, more grain than sea and salt. Rioja, I would way it actually smells a bit of red wine, less peat than Glen Moray. Back to Glen Moray it is a bit raw wood. I taste Ledaig, it is stronger than I prefer, it is wine-sour, and there is some sulphur in there. Glen Moray is really thin, watery in the mouth, with a thin whisky flavour as base and some peat on top – I must consider if my sample bottle has gone bad. Over again to Rioja with water, it is softer and more balanced, definitely red wine, not quite my cup of tea but I can kind of enjoy it. Glen Moray tastes like a very young whisky. Ledaig wins.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Mortlach 13 (2021 Special Release): Glenmorangie is darker, with a soft caramel bourbon vanilla aroma. Mortlach is more like white wine on the nose, some maltiness and bourbon in the background, but a more powerful aroma than Glenmorangie. Tasting is similar, Glenmorangie har a very nice soft sweet caramel and (not so little) bourbon flavour, tasting very well engineered. Mortlach is interesting in that it has no peat, no sherry and (almost) no bourbon flavours, not much cask flavours at all I would say. Yet it is full of flavour, dry, fruity almost sparkling. It is possible to prefer either of these fine whiskies. I think Mortlach is both the more interesting and the better tasting whisky.

Glenrothes 12 vs Motörhead: Glenrothes is paler, more yellow. Motörhead is red ripe fruit sweet on the nose. Glenrothes is more malty, more chemical, a bit more bourbon and arguably the one with more powerful aroma. I taste Motörhead and it is fruity sweet, also a bit fruity sour, not much classic whisky flavour. I taste Glenrothes and I have this chemical feeling of a crude destillation, gives me the feeling of a cheap blend, but it has more flavour than that. I find Glenrothes more sour than sweet, and the best I can say is that I find some bourbon notes there. Motörhead barely tastes like a whisky but I find it marginally nicer than Glenrothes to drink.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Hven Tycho’s Star: Very similar color. Bunnahabhain has a fairly light peated aroma. Hven is more oily or heavy on the nose, but less peated. Bunnahabhain is a bit lite fire smoke, Hven more like something burnt in the bottom of a pot. I taste Hven, it is quite light, definitely peated, slightly burnt, nothing bad. I taste Bunnahabhain and it is saltier, more iodine and sea, it lingers much longer. Back to Hven, not much peat now, a bit sweetish. Back to Bunnahabhain, complex, quite balanced. Hven is ok, but Bunnahabhain is much better.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Bunnahabhain Staoisha: Staoisha is darker and more red in color, and more smoky on the nose, like fresh burnt wood and fire. Heavily Peated more smells like an old library, closet or attic. I taste Heavily Peated and it is soft and complex with the peat very integrated in the experience. Staoicha is more raw (probably stronger) and not quite so balanced. I prefer Heavily Peated.

Bunnahabhain Staoisha vs Mackmyra Svensk Ek Extra Rök: Both cask strength, Mackmyra is more dark and red, and it is also a bit more powerful on the nose. Both are a bit sweet and raw (young) burnt wood, but Mackmyra is more over the top. I taste Bunnahabhain and it has a nice peat and a nice sweetness, but it lacks complexity and it is not so interesting. Mackmyra is sweeter, more so than peated, and the sweetness come with a strange chemical flavour, like getting into a brand new car or something. Back to Bunnahabhain it is more classic and conservative and now when I go to Mackmyra it is very obvious that Bunnahabhain is better.

Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand Filled: Ardbeg is much paler, and on the nose more dry. Bowmore aroma a bit more wood and some sweetness. Ardbeg in the mouth, complex, rough, almost everything you can wish from Islay. Bowmore has a lot of citrus, orange, quite different from Ardbeg. Back to Ardbeg, it is more bitter and burnt than the sweeter Bowmore. After a slight break I am back finishing Bowmore first and Ardbeg second. I would say these are very equal in quality yet different in character. I would say Ardbeg wins.

Bushmills 12 vs Writers Tears Copper Pot: Bushmills is darker, a bit sweeter, more bourbon and fruitier on the nose. Writers Tears is more spicy. Writers Tears is quite fresh and light, yet a bit oily, kind of creamy and spicy. Bushmills has more sherry flavour, both sweeter and a bit more bitter. Writers Tears is very easy to drink. Those who prefer sherry flavour will prefer Bushmills, I am not particular sherry fan and I appreciated Writers Tears for what I feel is a quite natural flavour. Writers Tears wins.

Nikka Coffey Malt vs Writers Tears Copper Pot: Nikka a bit paler. Nikka is more creamy and spicy on the nose, Writers tears a bit more bourbon. Tasting Nikka it is rather dry, Writers Tears a bit more sweet and a bit more bourbon. Back to Nikka it has somr. odd chemical flavours. Both are soft whiskies, easy to drink, I think I find Writers Tears a bit more complex and tasty.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask vs Writers Tears Copper Pot: Writers Tears is more milkish and yellow, Macallan is more reddish. Macallan has a fruity, obviously sherry but not so dominant, aroma. Writers tears is more dry, not malty, but sweet (I know, dry and sweet shoul d be opposites). Macallan tastes good, it is balanced, soft, a bit sweet, fruity, but there is something slightly off about the flavour that I do not like. Writers tears is more straight (a bit stronger), less complexity. There is something fake about Macallan to me, Writers Tears has a bit more attitude, is simpler, but I think it tastes better.

Longrow 11 Red vs Longrow 13 Red: 11YO is more red or dark orange, 13YO is more classic sherry color. 11YO is not particularly peated, a bit raw and some bourbon. 13YO is more peated, more sulphur, less fruity. I add a little water to both and find 11YO quite straight and balanced, with a salty almost rusty raw flavour. 13YO is more sour and more sweet, a bigger flavour. They are quite similar. If I really liked the flavour 13YO is the better whisky, but I think the 13YO is a bit too much, and thus 11YO becomes easier for me. Back to 11YO it is quite sour in a not very fresh way. More complexity in 13YO, I have to prefer 13YO.

Longrow 11 Red vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Red has a more red/orange color and a sweeter aroma with more fruity wine notes. Sherry is more raw and perhaps salty. I taste Sherry and it is nice first, but with not so little sulphur coming. Red is more neutral, if that is possible. I add more water to both. These are pretty unique and quite similar whiskies, I can understand people value them highly, but in my mouth they are not very tasty. I prefer the more straight and less sulphur 11YO Red.

Longrow 11 Red vs Deanston 9 Oloroso: Longrow is more red, almost pink. Deanston has a fresh aroma, balanced mix of bourbon and sherry. Longrow is more raw and salt. I taste Deanston and find it quite creamy and balanced. Longrow is a more complex and rough experience, but now compared to Deanston I feel the sulphur. I prefer the smooth Deanston.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak vs Mortlach 12: Macallan is darker. Mortlach has a very fresh fruity aroma. Macallan is a bit thicker and sweeter. Mortlach on the other hand is more malty. Tasting Mortlach it is rather light and fresh, with some sweetness, and it lingers nicely. Macallan has this to me artifical sweetness that is a bit unfresh and also a bit bitter. Mortlach wins.

Longrow 11 Red vs Writers Tears Copper Pot: I add a little water to Longrow and it is still more red. WT has a creamy aroma, LR is definitely peated. After a while LR is leaning towards sulphur, WT towards bourbon. I taste WT and find it sweet with a honey flavour. Longrow is more sour and raw, some bitterness lingering. I give more water to both, especially LR. WT is now softer, not an amazing flavour but not bad either, easy to drink. Longrow got too much water. Longrow is obviously more interesting and challenging, but I think I would prefer a Writers Tears on most occations.

Longrow 11 Red vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Macallan more brown, Longrow more red/pink. Macallan has an aroma of (overly) mature sweet fruits. Longrow is more raw and rough. Macallan has a soft fruity flavour, not fresh but rather ripe. Longrow is saltier, with a hint of sulphur. I dont particularly like Macallan, but I prefer it to Longrow.

Bowmore Small Batch vs Mackmyra Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Bowmore is much paler, with a light almost citrus and peat aroma. Mackmyra is more oily, heavier, sweeter and more smoke than peat. Bowmore is surprisingly thin and subtle in comparison and Mackmyra even if it is a bit odd tastes quite nice. Mackmyra wins.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (9Y) vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood a little paler, more bourbon than sherry on the nose, nice! Deanston is more sweet fruity. I taste both cask strength, that is nothing for me, and I add water to both. Linkwood has a clean, straight flavour. My sample bottle says 1st fill Oloroso and I can not believe it. Deanston is sweeter, thicker, richer, a hint of sulphur. I add more water to Linkwood to see if it reveals more. Unfortunately quite not. I find Linkwood a bit flat, a bit bitter. Deanston is not perfect, but it is better in most ways.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Glenfarclas is paler, but as I add water to Linkwood the difference disappears. Glenfarclas has a dry, spicy aroma. Linkwood is softer, slightly sweeter, more fruit-candy. Glenfarclas kind of tastes a bit roasted (not peated). Linkwood, some bitter slightly artifical caramel flavour. I like Glenfarclas better.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Deanton is the palest, with a subtle nose, at best. Linkwood has a soft creamy nose. Deanston has a dry malty thin flavour. Linkwood has more sweetness to it, and is softer. Linkwood wins.

Bushmills 10 vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood a bit darker. Bushmills smells a bit of dry hay or weed. Linkwood is more caramel and lighter. Bushmills is soft, slightly salty, some complexity, balanced and a bit nutty finish. Linkwood is more sharp, less soft and complex. Overall it is more pleasant to drink Bushmills.

Hudson Baby Bourbon vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Hudson much darker. Hudston has a strong spicy bourbon aroma, quite raw. Linkwood is more sublte, a bit waxy. Hudson, quite classic bourbon flavour, and against a bourbon Linkwood has a quite classic scotch flavour, more balanced and less powerful. Unless you have a particular disliking for bourbon I think Hudson is better. Much more flavours, and I think it is as easy to drink as well.

Johnny Walker White Walker vs Linkwood 13 Oloroso (Cask Viking): Linkwood is darker. Now I feel the subtle Oloroso origin in Linkwood, and white walker has more of a chemical aroma. Tasting white walker it is surprisingly sweet, quite smooth, a bit like punch, and not so little bourbon-flavour. Linkwood is more like single malt, a bit more wood-raw. I prefer Johnny Walker, if I have to drink any of them.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): CS slightly darker, at least until I add water. Regular 12 has a rich mellow aroma with bourbon. CS, still no water, a bit more chemical and less bourbon. I add some water and my impression remains. I taste CS first (with water – I like it that way) and it is quite crisp, some chemical flavours, some bourbon, reasonably complex, not very soft. Regular Bunnahabhain tastes more bourbon, is a bit lighter (but it could be because it is more watered down), more soft, but perhaps less flavour and complexity. I have to say they are quite similar, but not the same. A regular 12YO I expect very many casks to go into the mix and with a “2021 Edition” fewer casks are mixed, meaning the regular 12YO has its edges and corners softened for good and for bad. Tasting these two whiskies, this many-casks vs fewer-casks is exactly what I think I taste (it is easy when I know what I am tasting). If I just want a tasty drink I would not pay extra for the 12 CS, and I would probably choose the Regular 12 even at the same price. That said, a special edition is always interesting, and there are those who much prefer a cask strength whisky. To me Regular 12YO wins.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): Bergslagen slightly darker, with a more rough aroma. Bunnahabhain is more bourbon on the nose. I taste Bergslagen and it is quite complex, somewhat balanced, a bit on the sour side and not so soft. Bunnahabhain is soft and smooth, more refined. I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition) vs Macallan Fine Oak: Bunnahabhain slightly paler. Macallan has a quite wine-like aroma with sherry influences. Bunnahabhain is is more raw, dry and bourbon. Tasting both gives me an impression in line with what I felt with my nose. Quite similar quality, Macallan is perhaps slightly lighter but also more complex, and the easier whisky to drink. Close victory to Macallan.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition): Aberfeldy a bit paler, and with a softer, lighter very classic speyside aroma. Bunnahabhain a bit more burnt and rough. I taste Aberfeldy and it is soft and balanced, also lingering nicely. Bunnahabhain is more burnt and bitter, with a bit more character. I prefer Aberfeldy after all.

Glenrothes 12 vs Johnny Walker White Walker: JW is paler and with a more creamy and smooth aroma. Glenrothes is more sour, chemical. JW is more subtle on the nose, and tasting it, kind of a honey flavour. Glenrothes is a bit more sharp and bitter, but also more fully bodied. I was leaning both ways, but then I realise that JW tastes like nail polish remover. I prefer Glenrothes.

Glenrothes 12 vs Jameson: Glenrothes is darker, with a sweet aroma, a bit bourbon and a bit fruit. Jameson is very subtle on the nose, at least it is soft. I taste Jameson and it has a nice soft flavour, classic whisky, not so sweet as I could have guessed of an Irish whiskey, some caramel and nuts. Glenrothes has more flavour, more burnt, a bit bitter and some bourbon and sherry notes I think. Back to Jameson, it is a bit chemical. If you are looking for subtle and soft Jameson is a good option, but I think Glenrothes is a better whisky.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Same color. Old Pulteney is light, dry, fresh malty with some caramel. Glenmorangie is more sweet, hints of sherry but not so much. Tasting Old Pulteney is good, kind of what I expected. Glenmorangie is a bit sweet, it does not quite take off, a bit bitter, I prefer Old Pulteney.

Bushmills 21 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: My ranking list requires med to compare these two whiskies, and very unsurprisingly I found Springbank much paler. Bushmills has a rich soft fruity aroma, still whisky. Springbank at first smells quite peated, a bit sour, quite dry and a bit chemical. Tasting Bushmills it is almost flowery, soft but still with a mild kick at 40%. Springbank comes cask strength so I have watered it down, it is pure, not soft but quite balanced, full of flavour, and I water it down a little more. The target audience is obviously not the same and many people would pick a winner just on the character. I think both whiskies have a clear idea what they want to be, and both get quite close to a perfect whisky of that type. That said, I think Springbank gets its message through better, it is more distinct, more uncompromising, more confident.

Bunnahabhain 12 CS (2021 Edition) vs Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured: Deanston is much paler, with a honey vanilla aroma. Bunnahabhain (with some water already) is a bit mora salty, raw, dry. These are actually rather similar on the nose. Tasting Deanston it is quite light, nice creamy bourbon and honey flavour, a bit chemical finish. Bunnahabhain is more burnt, more powerul, more flavour but not as soft. I add more water to it. Back to Deanston it is not a bit dominated by some nail polish remover flavour. Bunnahabhain is the more stable choice.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Highland Park Valfather: Deanston much paler. Highland Park has a heavier slightly peated aroma. Deanston has a nice light bourbon and honey aroma, but the aroma is a bit too light and becomes a bit chemical. I don’t find much more when I taste these two whiskies, Valfather is not so complex and balanced, after tasting it I dont feel Deanston is so chemical any more. I could pick any winner, but I think I prefer Deanston.

Glenrothes 12 vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: Glenrothes is a bit paler and more brownish. TX has a pure vanilla bourbon aroma, Glenrothes definitely has bourbon traces but it is a also less sweet, more bitter and chemical on the nose. I taste Glenrothes and it kind of tastes like a sweet Speyside the way I imagine people not used to drinking whisky experiences it. TX does not taste as soft as it smells, but it has a quite typical clean bourbon flavour, a bit of perfume but not too bad. Blind tasting I would probably guess Glenrothes is a blend. Somewhat surprisingly I find the flavour of TX more narrow and distinct, even more thin, than that of Glenrothes. Glenrothes is less balanced. I prefer TX.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Highland Park Cask Strength: Bergslagen is darker, with a sweet fruity somewhat dirty smell. Highland park has a much lighter nose, I add some (more) water and wait a bit. A few minutes later, HP has a lightly peated slighly salty, nice aroma. Back to Bergslagen it smells a bit thick sweet now. I taste HP, still too little water for me, but it has a nice peated flavour. Bergslagen tastes quite sweet, quite nice but with a somewhat raw and strange wood flavour. HP now came down in alcohol to a nicer level, and then the flavour also got a bit thin. I would say HP is a quite solid moderatly peated whisky while Bergslagen is quite experimental – a quite successful experiment – but anyway a bit too odd for my taste. HP wins.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Glen Ord 11 (Cadenhead): Glenfarclas is darker, with a more malty and sweet aroma. Glen Ord is more subtle, more alcohol and I add water with little effect on the nose. I taste Glen Ord and it has little flavour, enough to taste whisky and not just alcohol, but it reminds of a blend with traces of single malt. Glenfarclas is not particularly tasty either, but a bit more classic speyside body. Back to Glen Ord I can appreciate the purity and dryness compared to the somewhat bittersweet Glenfarclas. I somewhat surprise myself by preferring Glen Ord.

Andalusia Triple Destilled vs Glen Ord 11 (Cadenhead): Much more color and aromas – fruit, vanilla and some odd woodiness – in Andalusia. Glen Ord is very subtle. Tasting Glen Ord it is dry, with no particular sweetness, saltiness, peat, fruit or bitterness. Andalusia has a warm boubon-like flavour, but not as much perfume as most bourbons, and a bit more fruit. Back to Glen Ord, it kind of tastes better after Andalusia. But picking a winner, Andalusia is pretty nice to drink just like that, and Glen Ord is a rather uninspired and undeveloped whisky. Andalusia wins.

Glen Moray vs Mackmyra Första Utgåvan: Mackmyra slightly slightly paler. Glen Moray is a light classic speyside, at bit like white wine. Macmyra is more sweet, more raw wood, a bit oily and a bit bitter. I prefer Glen Moray.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured: Bergslagen is much darker. Deanston has a light bourbon, creamy, aroma. Bergslagen has a more fruity, raw aroma. Tasting Deanston has a nice moderately sweet bourbon flavour, but it is also a bit chemical and artifical. Bergslagen has a more rich, full flavour, with some slightly odd raw wood notes. I can understand someone could prefer either of these whiskies, but I think the only reason to really prefer Deanston is if you just want a more light, blend like, experience. I think Bergslagen is better.

Writers Tears Copper Pot vs Writers Tears Double Oak: Very similar color, if any difference double oak is very slightly paler. Copper Pot has a honey smell, slightly chemical. Double Oak has a more crisp and clear classic whisky aroma, with a hint of fruits. Tasting is a similar story, both whiskeys have a rather long lasting flavoured, both very balanced, not really very complex but still much to discover. I find the Copper Pot a somewhat unusual whisky which makes it easy to like and recommend. Double Oak is very classic and thus has much more competition in its category. Both are rather good with good value. I think Double Oak is the better whisky.

Glen Ord 11 (Cadenhead) vs Old Pulteney 12: Glen Ord slightly paler, with a light dry malty aroma. Old Pulteney a little bit softer, sweeter and more fruity on the nose. Glen Ord has a clean light flavour, classic and balanced, not too interesting. Old Pulteney is a bit softer. These two whiskies are not so different. Back to Glen Ord, it tastes a bit closed so I add some water. Old Pulteney is easier, but it tastes more like a compromise. Glen Ord tastes more authentic, but it comes off as a bit unpolished. I prefer the less sweet, more clean Glen Ord.

Ledaig 10 vs Longrow 18: Ledaig a bit paler, with a more powerful, more peated nose. Longrow has a deeper, fruitier, more complex aroma. Ledaig smells younger, more wood, fire and smoke. I taste Longrow and it has a kind of odd fruitiness to it, some sulphur, and I add water to it. Ledaig has a more dry, light, clean and not fruity flavour. There is some odd raw wood flavours in Ledaig, otherwise I think it is a very fine peated malt. Longrow, in comparison, is neither fruity nor really peated to me, and it has a somewhat unbalanced bitter and metallic flavour. Don’t get me wrong, Longrow is a descent whisky, but when tasting against Ledaig i prefer Ledaig.

Glenmorangie 18 vs Redbreast 15: Redbreast is darker. Glenmorangie has a more sweet soft aroma with not so little vanilla, Redbreast is maltier, saltier and more rough. Glenmorangie has a nice balanced flavour, it lingers and fades, some bitterness. Although Glenmorangie is more vanilla, Redbreast is more bourbon overall. Glenmorangie is the safe choice for most people I would say, but it is a bit perfected to boringness, and not too memorable. But it still puts Redbreast a bit in a corner, where Redbreast just tastes like a bourbon in tweed – quite nice though. I will give victory to Redbreast for two reasons: one, it is a more interesting whisky on your collection, and two, if I have to choose I prefer saltiness to sherry sweetness. With that said, I suppose most people would disagree with me.

Ballantines 17 vs Writers Tears Double Oak: Ballantines a bit paler. Quite similar on the nose, Writers Tears is a little more sweet and rich, Ballantines a bit more dry. Tasting Writers Tears it is very balanced, lingering flavour, a bit caramel, creamy and honey. Ballantines is slightly peated, very surprisingly, also very balanced and soft. But Writers Tears is the more rich, complex and tasty whisky, and it wins.

Benriach Heart of Speyside vs Glenrothes 12: Glenrothes is darker in color and has a more sweet and rich aroma and flavour. Benriach is rather pale, dry, and not very charming. Glenrothes wins.

Benriach Heart of Speyside vs Deanston 15 Organic: Both are very pale. Benriach has a very little nose, a bit chemical and a bit fruity, Deanston has an even smaller nose, more just grain-something. Tasting Benriach it has an odd bitter fruitiness about it (reminds me of Grappa). Deanston is a bit more salty, perhaps less flavour, but more balanced. Benriach is more soft but odd tasting. I think I prefer Deanston here, perhaps because it makes less of an impression.

Benriach Heart of Speyside vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Mackmyra slightly paler, with an odd fruity candy aroma. Benriach more classic. Same with the flavour of Mackmyra, and after Mackmyra Benriach tastes a bit like an oily scotch whisky. Not much difference in quality, victory to Benriach.

Blantons Gold Edition vs Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured: Blantons much darker. Deanston has a light smell, soft but more alcohol than bourbon or scotch. Blantons is much richer, sweeter, with a soft bourbon and coconut aroma. Deanston tastes quite nice and soft, a mix of malt and subtle bourbon, it lingers quite fine. Blantons has much more flavour, also with a little water it is somewhat rough in the mouth compared to the soft Deanston. Back to Deanston it is still good on the nose and in the mouth despite the strong competition, it is not as sweet but gentle and tasty. I add more water to Blantons, still the strong bourbon flavour is a bit of an acquired taste, and it has some bitterness. Deanston is rather fruity on the nose now. I will give victory to Blantons for its much richer flavour and nose, but I don’t think everyone would prefer it to the easier Deanston.

Blantons Gold Edition vs Bushmills 16: Similar color. Bushmills is lighter on the nose with more of a hint of bourbon, compared to Blantons sweet and soft bourbon in your face. Blantons also has a very distinct bourbon flavour, I can not say much else about it. Quite smooth for a bourbon, but not really smooth. Usually I would think there is quite much bourbon flavour in this Bushmills, but next to Blantons I feel more floral sherry notes, very nice actually. Blantons would win if it was about best bourbon, but I can not see myself recommending or preferring Blantons rather than Bushmills in other cases. Bushmills wins.

Arran Quarter Cask vs Blantons Gold Edition: Arran is much paler, with a kind of sour fruity aroma compared to Blantons sweet bourbon aroma. Tasting Arran, soft with a kick, balanced, honey. Blanton is, despite it is quite sweet, it still has a dry feeling in the mouth. I enjoy Arran more.

Blantons Gold Edition vs Knob Creek 9: Very similar dark color, more brown than red. On the nose, Blantons is sweeter with coconut and Knob Creek is more raw, dry (like a malt) and sour. I try both without water. Blantons is softer, more balanced, more sweet and Knob Creek is a bit more rough and dirty. I think most people would think Blantons tastes better in the sense it is easier to drink but I also understand bourbon-fans who would think Knob Creek is more like the real thing. In my list Blantons wins.

Bowmore Small Batch vs Hven Tychos Star: Hven is darker, with a less peated somewhat sweet aroma. Bowmore is more peated, more balanced, and a bit like smelling a glass of sea water. Tasting is a similar experience, Hven has some unusual flavour like peanut butter, and smoke without peat. Bowmore tastes like a light elegant young Islay malt, unfortunately it is a bit soft at 40%, I think it would benefit from being 43% (and I rarely say this). Anyway, I prefer Bowmore.

Benriach Heart of Speyside vs Crown Royal Rye: Benriach is paler, both on the eye and the nose, with a light fruity malty aroma, to be kind. Crown Royal has a base of traditional bourbon, with some flowery caramel on top. After smelling Crown Royal, I almost got a peated impression from drinking Benriach, it has a classic speyside character, with a bit of oil and peat, but diluted down like a blend. Crown Royal is very sweet and surprisingly bitter on top of that. Neither is very good, I think I prefer Benriach after all.

Benriach Heart of Speyside vs Bushmills Original: Perhaps Bushmills is slightly darker, both rather pale. Bushmills has a sweet caramel aroma, a bit chemical. Benriach, also a bit chemical, is more like leather and oil. Bushmills is surprisingly balanced and flavourfull, and rather soft, still a bit chemical and odd but quite enjoyable. Benriach is more thin and sharp in flavour. Quite comparable quality. I was leaning towards Bushmills from the beginning but the more I tasted back and forth, the more I preferred Benriach. Victory to the Scotch.

Blantons Gold Edition vs Redbreast 12: Blantons a little darker and more red. On the nose Blantons is sweeter and a bit more powerful. I usually say that Redbreast has a bourbon aroma, next to Blantons that is true, but it is of course more true for Blantons. Blantons is more clean on the nose, Redbreast is a little more rough, malty, salty. I taste Blantons first, at just above 50% and despite the smooth flavour it is a quite rough experience cask strength. I add water, and Blantons still has a dry flavour, a bit pepper. Redbreast is a much softer experience (it is probably still less strong) with more fruity and floral flavours, after tasting a real bourbon. Redbreast tastes a bit lost and confused in comparison, it is soft and good, but it is like it does not really know what it wants to be. Blantons is very confident. I think, side to side, Blantons wins.

Glenlivet 18 vs Oban 14: Glenlivet is darker, with a rather sweet aroma, bourbon and desert wine. Oban is more white-wine-like, even slightly peated compared to Glenlivet. Tasting Glenlivet it has a long lingering nice flavour, not very much happens, it is quite easy to drink, but it lingers. Oban, compared to Glenlivet, seems a bit unbalanced and bitter. I leave it there, Oban 14 is a very good whisky, but it is like a small distillery with a 14 YO whisky can not match what a large distillery like Glenlivet can find in its warehouses and put in an 18 YO whisky.

Glen Ord 11 (Cadenhead) vs Highgrove Organic: Same pale color, light nose, Highgrove is supposed to be 1st fill bourbon and I believe them. Tasting Highgrove, quite a young clean flavour with a kick, very classic, some sweetness. Glen Ord is quite similar, less bourbon, and a bit more bitter. I prefer Highgrove.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Highgrove Organic: Similar pale color. Highgrove has a softer, almost flowery, borbon aroma. Deanston has a more subtle bourbon aroma, more dry. However, when it comes to flavour it is the other way around, Deanston is soft and sweet, on the chemical side. Highgrove is more strict, dry, less developed, but in a way more honest or original. Highgrove gives a feeling of quality that Deanston lacks, but I prefer Deanston.

The Irishman vs Writers Tears Copper Pot: Same golden color. Writers Tears is a bit more honey-sweet, The Irishman has a more mellow aroma. Tasting the Irishman, quite burnt sugar, a bit bitter. Writers Tears kind of opens up more after the first impression and finishes in soft honey. The Irishman is a bit more classic and perhaps elegant, but I think Writers Tears is both more unique/interesting and tastes better.

Deanston 12 vs Mortlach 12: Deanston more yellow, Mortlach more orange. Mortlach has a malty classic nose, a bit spicy but quite neutral. Deanston has more vanilla and caramel. I taste Deanston and find it quite dry, soft, balanced with a flavour reminding of grain and warehouses. Over to Mortlach it is slightly fruity before I drink it, a bit bittersweet in the mouth, and less complex and fading away quicker than Deanston. Some more Mortlach, it has some unusual flavour, flowery like roses, I do not know. Over to Deanston, simple rich classic malty flavour. I prefer Deanston.

Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 Symposium #3077 vs Mortlach 13 2021 Special Release: Bunnahabhain darker, with a more leathery and oily aroma. Mortlach has the nose of concentrated strong white wine, although not very sweet or peated. Back and forth, Mortlach gets a definite bourbon aroma as well. Both are excellent whiskies to drink. In the end, there is more complexity and depth in Bunnahabhain, and it is the better whisky.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Mortlach 12: Bergslagen a bit darker, with a more raw bourbon nose. Mortlach a bit fruitier and malty. Bergslagen is more powerful, even with some water, that is both a good and a bad thing. This is one of those tasting where Mortlach could win for being the easy smooth choice, or Bergslagen could win for being more interesting and rich. I am often leaning towards the safe choice. But Mortlach does not taste that good, and with water Bergslagen is pretty good. Victory to Bergslagen.

Highgrove Organic vs Mortlach 12: Highgrove rather pale, Mortlach is darker. More bourbon in the nose of Highgrove, caramel, vanilla. Mortlach is more fruity wine-like, probably some sherry casks involved but it is not that much. Mortlach i rather soft, a bit sweet, a bit metallic and it lingers ok. Highgrove is more rough, it tastes younger, more pure. Mortlach is the easier whisky to drink, but there is something about it that is too easy and it has lost character and is slightly dull. So Highgrove wins.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Blantons Gold Edition: Blanton is darker. Deanston has a somewhat sweet, malty aroma – just pouring up Blantons was enough to put Deanstons bourbon aroma to shame. Blanton has a quite clean sweet bourbon aroma, all in all not so much more powerful than Deanston. Back to Deanston, a bit of citrus. I taste Deanston, it has maltiness, sweetness, bourbon and a hint of bitterness. Blantons is sweeter in flavour, dryer in mouth. I add little water to Blantons and it becomes thinner, not much more flavour is revealed. Deanston is a more balanced and complex experience that lingers longer and it is softer. Victory to Deanston.

Chivas Regal 18 vs Mortlach 12: Very similar color, and quite similar aroma. Chivas a bit more caramel and bourbon, Mortlach a bit lighter and fruitier. Mortlach has a quite light flavour, a bit fruity, it lingers a bit. Chivas is a bit richer, more mature. Back to Mortlach, a bit light and metallic, not too bad but it does not benefit when compared. Chivas wins.

Bergslagen Gast vs Highgrove Organic: Highgrove much paler, with a light bourbon and spirit nose. Bergslagen is peated, kind of, raw burnt and woody in a sweet way. Highgrove has a clean flavour, quite flawless but not very complex. Bergslagen has a more traditional peated flavour than aroma, a bit burnt and sour, not bad. Previously I have not thought of Bergslagen as that much peated but now I kind of think it should be on the peated list instead. Bergslagen is so much more raw power than Highgrove, because it is peated, that this is difficult to make sense of. Highgrove has a kind of candy-like flavour in the background. I give victory to Highgrove becuase Highgrove is not on the peated list at all, but Bergslagen has some qualities with its peat-character that Highgrove lacks.

Deanston 9YO Oloroso vs Mortlach 12: Mortlach a bit darker, with a sweet fruity somewhat bourbon aroma. Deanston a bit more subtle on the nose, more bourbon than Oloroso. Mortlach has a fruity bourbon flavour. Deanston is more raw, and there are some sherry-cask-artifacts (not really sulphur) that I don’t particularly like. Mortlach is more easy going, Deanston requires a bit more to like it and it is more closed and less mature. Victory to Morthlach.

Hazelburn 13 Oloroso vs Hazelburn 2017-2021: Oloroso is much darker with a rather sweet aroma of raisins. 2017-2021 has a more sublte, much more classic, malty aroma with hints of bourbon, and that is what it tastes like, very clean and nice. Oloroso tastes very sweet, a bit of sulphur. It improves with water but a bit bitter-sweet. I more enjoy the classic 2017-2021.

Hazelburn 10 vs Hazelburn 2017-2021: Very similar rather pale color. Also the aroma is very similar, 10YO being a bit more bourbon sweet. Also similar in flavour, 10YO being a bit more bourbon and soft from the bottle, so I add water to the stronger 2007-2021, and they become more similar. This is almost the same whisky, Hazelburn 10 being a bit sweeter and a bit easier to enjoy since it does not require water to unlock it. There could be a perfect water mix where 2017-2021 wins, but the safe choice here is 10YO.

Bushmills 10 vs The Irishman: Bushmills is paler. Similar aroma, Bushmills a bit more dry, Irishman has more fruity notes. Tasting The Irishman it is an easy to drink, soft whisky with a balanced sweetness and fruitiness. Bushmills is more malty, salty and dry. Bushmills wins.

Blantons Gold Edition vs Old Granddads (60s): Similar quite dark color. Old Granddads is a miniature from the 1960s, and it has a soft syrup-thick bourbon aroma. Blantons is a bit lighter, fresher. Tasting Old Granddads, a soft powerful balanced bourbon. Blantons is more dry, raw and I add some water to it, and I also find it more spicy. I think it is reasonable to describe the difference as Old Granddad has been in a bottle for over 50 years and that has made it thick and without any dominant flavours or sharpness, but it is also a bit dull, somewhat bitter. I was first leaning towards the more smooth Old Granddad, but in the long run I think the more crisp and complex Blantons wins.

Bruichladdich 2004-2018 Sherry PC vs Longrow 13 Red: When both are watered down colour is very similar. Bruichladdich is rather light and fruity, without classic elements like malt and bourbon. Longrow is more classic and peated. Both, unfortunately, have a significant sulphur flavour. Bruichladdich, not tasting bad, has a somewhat odd and unusual whisky flavour. Longrow wins.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Hazelburn 2007-2021: Hazelburn is paler, with a nice bourbon aroma. Glenfarclas is a bit maltier. Surprisingly similar flavour. Hazelburn a bit fresher and Glenfarclas a bit more bitter. I will admit I thought Hazelburn was going to be much better, but I found them very similar, to the point I needed to fill up a bit more of both. I added more water to Hazelburn, and now it tastes nicer then Glenfarclas. Victory to Hazelburn, but I am a little biased here, somewhat questioning my own objectivity.

Gentleman Jack vs Old Granddads (60s): Gentleman Jack is more brownish, Old Granddads more orange. Gentleman Jack has a more light and fresh aroma, Old Granddads is more thick and sweet. I imagine Gentleman Jack to be more dry and raw in the mouth, before tasting any. Tasting both I was both right and wrong, Old Granddads is heaver and sweeter (and more bitter), but Gentleman Jack is not particularly raw, rather light and fresh. I think I prefer Gentleman Jack, because it is a bit more light and open, easy to drink, and not so sweet-heavy. But I can imagine a true bourbon fan complaining that I just don’t understand and appreciate what I drink. But victory to Gentleman Jack.

Arran Heavily Peated Sherry vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Arran is more dark and more red. It is difficult with smoke and the nose, because the nose adapts quickly, but my impression is anyway that Arran is more heavily peated, with subtle sherry under the peat. Loch Lomond has a more odd chemical aroma that I do not find quite so nice. Arran is stronger and tasting it at full strength (50%) it balances on the sulphur line, and it is quite sharp and not so developed. With a bit of water, I think the sulphur mostly disappears, and the sherry is not too dominant. Loch Lomond is not as strong, making it very easy to drink, and when drunk without comparison it is quite rich, soft and nice. However, up against Arran, the chemical not so nice aspects of Loch Lomond become more apparent. Loch Lomond is the more classic peated whisky so if you are really sceptic too sherry, go for Loch Lomond. But many people like sherry, and I am ok with it most of the time, and I think Arran is a better whisky.

Hazelburn 2007-2021 vs Highgrove Organic 11: Hazelburn is darker. Highgrove has a light aroma with a bit of bourbon. Hazelburn is more oil and leather. Back to Highgrove it is more fresh and fruity now. Tasting Highgrove, it seems young, a bit undeveloped, with some chemical or alcohol notes and a fruitiness and bourbon flavour that is a bit confused. Hazelburn is more balanced, more heavy flavours, somewhat bitter and I could think it was a bit peated but since it is Hazelburn I guess it is not. A bit of water in both, and back to Highgrove, I find it chemical and unbalanced, not unpleasant but not too impressive. Hazelburn is more soft and complex. Hazelburn wins every day.

Hazelburn 2007-2021 vs Longrow: Very similar pale yellow color. Longrow peated and burnt on the nose, Hazelburn much milder. Tasting both, there is more flavour and power in Longrow, Hazelburn is much softer, with a creamy classic flavour. Compared to Hazelburn I find Longrow a bit unfriendly. On the unpeated list, Hazelburn wins.

Bushmills Original vs The Irishman: Bushmills is paler, Irishman more red. Bushmills has a more creamy and classic malty aroma, The Irishman is a bit more flowery and spicy. Bushmills tastes surprisingly sweet, quite balanced, but light and a bit pure alcohol. The Irishman is a bit more sweet, more heavy with more powerful flavour, almost too balanced to be interesting. Back to Bushmills, really drinkable but it tastes a bit cheap and diluted. The Irishman is a bit bitter. There is a freshness to Bushmills that I prefer, so it wins.

Hibiki Harmony vs Writers Tears Double Wood: Writers Tears slightly darker in color, and much more simple sweet candy-like aroma, almost making me think of a Lunchburg Lemonade. Putting my nose in Hibiki I find it surprisingly oily and complex. Tasting Hibiki, it is quite complex with many flavours, not super balanced, a bit salt and pepper, bourbon, quite classic flavours but an unusual composition. Writers Tears is a more rich sweet (somewhat bitter) desert-wine inspired whisky. If you are only looking for sweetness, perhaps sherry, you might prefer Writers Tears, but I think Hibiki is the better whisky.

Jim Beam Black vs Michters American Unblended Whiskey: Same dark golden color. Michters has a quite elegant balanced bourbon aroma, a bit more sweet and fresh than Jim Beam, which is more mellow. Quite close though, it is not like I would ever hesitate tha Michters is a bourbon (which it technically is not). Michters is rich and sweet in the mouth, creamy, not really raw but quite sharp. Jim Beam is more raw, a bit more burnt and bitter. Back to Michters, a bit softer now. Trying Jim Beam more, this is not a very easy whiskey to just enjoy. Michters is not so different in flavours, but it is much softer and easier to drink. Michters wins.

Bunnahabhain Sweet & Smoky Coopers Choice vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig is paler, with a more peated and salty aroma. Bunnahabhain is softer and sweeter. Bunnahabhain tastes really sweet, but not questionable sherry flavours, and clearly peated. Laphroaig is saltier, more dry and more peated. Laphroaig has a bit more flavour, complexity, more to discover. Victory to Laphroig.

Bowmore 15 vs Bunnahabhain Peat & Fruit Coopers Choice: Bowmore a bit more dark and red, and more sweet sherry on the nose. Bunnahabhain seems, younger, a bit more peated. Back to Bowmore it smells quite much bourbon. I taste Bowmore, a fine balance between peat and sherry, not a lot of either may disappoint someone, and a slight hint of sulphur. Bunnahabhain has a sweet-peat flavour, not that fruity, and with a hint of sulphur that does not go away with even more water. Back to Bowmore, now I also taste the bourbon. This thing with sweet peated whisky is not really may favourite, but I think Bowmore has more to offer and is the better whisky.

Bunnahabhain Peat & Fruit Coopers Choice vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Port Charlotte is darker in color, with a strong sweet araom that is probably sherry but makes me think of something gone rotten (radiator water). Bunnahabhain more balanced and classic. I add plenty of water to Port Charlotte and it tastes quite soft and balanced, better than the nose told, and the sulphur is hidden with water. Bunnahabhain is more soft and balanced, and over to PC it is a very, what should I say, hard driven whisky. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bowmore 15 vs Bunnahabhain Sweet & Smoky Coopers Choice: Bowmore more dark and red. On the nose, Bunnahabhain is more bourbon, Bowmore is more sulphur. Quite similar flavour. Bowmore is the more rich whisky, more sherry, while Bunnahabhain is more focused. I like Bunnahabhain better.

Grants vs The Irishman: Grants slightly paler with a very light whisky aroma. The Irishman is sweeter and richer on the nose. Tasting Grants, first it is kind of dry in a nice whisky way but soon it mostly tastes vodka. The Irishman has some fruit, malt and bourbon, also fading away to vodka, but not like Grants. Back to Grants it both tastes and smells like a cleaning product. The Irishman wins.

Deanston 15 Organic vs Edradour 10: Edradour is much much darker. Deanston smells white wine, a bit malt/bread, and a bit chemical. Edradour is more bourbon and a bit cherry. Flavour, kind of same impression as the aroma. Edradour is a very easy whisky, rich and somewhat sweet. Deanston is a much more subtle and elegant whisky, more interesting for connoisseurs than easy to drink for everyone. I prefer Edradour.

Bunnahabhain Peat & Fruit Coopers Choice vs Wiatrose 10 Islay Single Malt: Similar color. Wiatrose is more peated on the nose, but quite similar actually. Waitrose has a fine classic Islay flavour, fresh and salty. Bunnahabhain is more thick, a bit sweeter, and a hint of sulphur. Waitrose wins.

Glenlossie 22YO Cadenhead vs Glenmorangie 19: Glenmorangie a bit darker, both quite pale. Glenlossie is has a dry mature and complex aroma, hint of bourbon, no sherry or peat. Glenmorangie has a more powerful but more simple aroma, more sweet, probably some non-bourbon casks for sweetness, reminds of white wine a bit. Glenlossie is surprisingly sweet when tasting, yet dry and very balanced. Glenmorangie has a hint of salt in the beginning, otherwise it is mostly sweet caramel creamy. None of these whiskies have ny hints of uncomfortable or unpleasant smell or taste. I would guess most people who don’t usually drink whisky, and whisky lovers who prefer sherry whisky, would prefer Glenmorangie. It is close, but I think Glenlossie being more dry and crisp is a nicer scotch whisky.

Hudson Baby Bourbon vs Old Granddad (60s): Same quite dark amber color. Hudson has an aroma of raw wood, more spicy, while Old Granddads gives a softer more balanced impression on the nose. Impression after drinking is quite similar, Old Granddad is rather with the bourbon flavour of Hudson in the background and tasting a bit like an afterthought. Old Granddad wins.

Jim Beam Black vs Old Granddad (60s): Old Granddad a bit darker. On the nose Old Granddad is more soft, sweet, a bit like rum. Jim Beam is more dry and sharp. Same impression i the mouth, Old Granddad being softer and sweeter and Jim Beam being a bit more bitter. Old Granddad wins.

Ballantines 17 vs Hazelburn 2007-2021: Similar color. Ballantines has a classic light aroma. Hazelburn is a bit more poweruful, with leather and oil. Ballantines taste nice, balanced and classic. Hazelburn is saltier at first, and a bit caramel in the finish. Back to Ballantines it is sweeter than Hazelburn, which is a hint of burnt and a bit of sea. There is nothing wrong with Ballantines, but Hazelburn is better.

Oban 14 vs Springbank 15 Rum: Oban a bit darker, with a fresh malty salty nose. Springbank is more sweet, a bit sour, a bit peat and at least when knowing it is a rum cask I can sense it. Tasting Oban it is a bit sweeter than I expected and with some wine notes. Springbank is sweeter, richer and more powerful. Quite similar quality, but Springbank is more of an experience, and wins.

The Irishman vs Jura Superstition: Jura is slightly more dark and red, Irishman more pale and brownish. The Irishman has a fruity almost flowery aroma, going to Jura it is kind of peated, leather, salt and oil but there is something odd or chemical about it. The Irishman tastes nice, sweet. Jura is a bit salty, also a bit peated, but also quite sweet. Back to The Irishman it tastes good but it is a bit thin. Jura is a bit more complex, it is the more acquired taste being a bit peated. Victory to Jura.

Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port vs Hazelburn 10: Glen Scotia a bit darker and more red in color. I am leaning towards that they are quite similar on the nose, Glen Scotia being a bit sweeter as expected. I also sense hints of sulphur in Glen Scotia, which I do not like, but hopefully it disappears with some water. Hazelburn has a more nutty, malty, salty aroma, which is nice. I taste Hazelburn first and find it classic, malty, balanced and nice, with hints of caramel and nuts. Glen Scotia, cask strength, is more raw but surpisingly soft for being cask strength. It has balanced sweet fruity flavours, and little peat. Really little peat – the bottle says lightly peated and I am thinking unpeated. It is not more peated than Hazelburn, and Hazelburn is not supposed to be very peated. Tasting Glen Scotia again I almost wish I did not know it was white port but I have to say it is a quite successful desert wine finished whisky. Now I add water. Tasting Hazelburn again I really like the classic aroma before drinking and it tastes really good, balanced. Back to Glen Scotia, I feel the sulphur on the nose but not much in the mouth. I think I have them at same level of alcohol now, and Hazelburn is the more soft, rich, balanced and mellow whisky. Glen Scotia has less body, is somewhat bitter-sweet, and there are hints of sulphur. The desert-wine-whisky-lovers or cask-strength-lovers probably go for Glen Scotia. I prefer Hazelburn.

Longmorn 16 vs Writers Tears Double Oak: Longmorn very slightly paler. Writers Tears is more sweet and fruity, Longmorn is more bourbon, on the nose. That impression lasts after tasting, Longmorn is also a bit more dry in the mouth, Writers Tears more soft. After a while, if Writers Tears loses it is because it apprears slighly chemical in its sweetness, after Longmorn. If Longmorn loses it is because it is a bit more dry and dull. It is victory to Longmorn, it has a better nose and mouth.

Blantons Gold vs Michters Unblended American Whiskey: Blantons a bit paler. Blantons is a sweet soft whiskey, otherwise with very typical bourbon flavour and aroma. Michters is more dry, raw, woody, even salty, and less soft and sweet. This was both expected and surprising. I would have guessed the Michters 2nd fill hack would make it softer, but it is not softer than Blantons. I can imagine a wild west town, where the whiskey in the saloon tastes like Michters and the whiskey that the general serves to the ambassador tastes more like Blantons. That said, head to head, the difference in quality is less than the difference in flavour. What surprises me about Michters is that being an odd product for enthusiasts, bottling it at 41.7% is a bit low (especially compared to Blantons 51%). Blantons wins.

Highgrove Organic vs Super Nikka: Highgrove is paler, with a light malty nose. Nikka is more oily and heavy on the nose. Tasting Highgrove is quite clean, with a bit of sweet bourbon. Super Nikka is more heavy, peated. I prefer Highgrove for its purity, Nikka comes off as more chemical.

Hazelburn 2007-2021 vs Oban 14: Oban is very slighly darker, with a fresh malty salty aroma. Hazelburn has a more subtle aroma, a bit more oily and slightly peated. Tasting both, the impression from the nose remains, but Hazelburn is not more subtle in the mouth. Oban has a lightness, almost fruitiness to it that I find appealing. Hazelburn, on the other hand, offers more depth and complexity. This is very close, to the point of arbitrary, but I will give victory to Oban completely based on personal preference.

Edradour 10 vs Michters American Unblended Whiskey: Edradour a bit darker, more red, Michters more brownish. Michters has a classic balanced but somewhat dry bourbon aroma. Edradour is sweet on the nose, a bit bourbon, not really sherry or any other desert wine, more like raisins. I taste Edradour, sweet, somewhat unusual whisky flavour, a bit thin, a bit bitter, not bad. Michters has a somewhat salty and dry bourbon flavour. I can’t really say that Michters just tastes better. Michters is a better bourbon, or representation of bourbon, than Edradour is for scotch whisky. But head to head, I could see myself prefer Edradour, maybe. Nevertheless, it is victory for Michters.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (9YO) vs Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port: Similar color. This second time testing Glen Scotia it is definitely peated, lightly peated on the bottle is a fair description. Deanston is a softer experience, and after Glen Scotia, Deanston is less powerful and more subtle, both on the nose and in the mouth. Glen Scotia is marked as Experimental and I think it is a quite successful marriage of peat and desert wine. I think the peat aspect, a dry saltiness, is the nicer part of it, and the white Port is somewhat odd in the background, which is probably a good thing, as it brings hints of sulphur. Deanston is a more classic Oloroso whisky, quite soft and good, but rather boring especially compared to the experimental Glen Scotia. I can imagine people preferring one or the other. But Glen Scotia tastes good and is funnier to drink, so I prefer it.

Balcones vs Michters American Unblended Whiskey: Quite similar color, Balcones is more red and Michters more golden brown. Michters has a very fine and balanced bourbon aroma, I can not describe it with more words. Balcones is a bit lighter on the nose, more fruity, and compared to Michters not really bourbon at all. I taste Balcones and it is quite sweet, but balanced, with a crisp clean flavour. I taste Michters and it tastes bourbon, more dry and raw. Back to Balcones it has an elegant, somewhat unusual flavour for a whisky, with some bitterness. I think Balcones, despite being an odd whisky compared to Michters which tastes very much like a bourbon, is a whisky with better flavour, easier to drink and enjoy for most people.

Balcones vs Blantons Gold: Balcones more red, Blantons more brown. Blantons has a quite soft classic bourbon aroma, Balcones smells a bit sour-sweet in a suspicious way. In the mouth Blantons is quite soft and balanced while is now more sweet-bitter, tasting a bit odd for being a whisky. Blantons wins.

Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port vs Longrow: If not darker, Glen Scotia is more red. Longrow is more deep peat and malt aroma, Glen Scotia has a sweeter aroma with less maltiness and more smoke than peat. I taste Glen Scotia and find it dry in the mouth yet sweet tasting, some peat but that is not my first impression. Longrow (at lower ABV) is more balanced, soft, and with a more complex peated flavour. Back to Glen Scotia, now it is peat and sourness. Longrow has a more malty, nutty, sweetness while Glen Scotia is more fruity. To me Longrow is a better balanced, better produced and better tasting whisky.

Bergslagen Gast vs Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port: Glen Scotia a bit on the red or pink side, but not darker. Bergslagen has a more clean smoke aroma, Glen Scotia is sweeter, on the sulphur side. Bergslagen also smells like it has been matured on some unconventional wood, but it could perhaps be that it is smoked from something else than peat. Tasting Bergslagen with some water, very dry flavour, I add more water. I taste Glen Scotia and find it quite balanced with both saltiness, peat and sweetness. My first impression, before tasting, was that Bergslagen was better. But tasting may have changed that. There is nothing wrong with Bergslagen but it is rather thin. Glen Scotia has much more to offer, and it wins.

Canadian Club 100 Rye vs Canadian Club 1858: Very similar golden color. On the nose 1858 is very light, hint of bourbon, otherwise mostly alcohol. 100 Rye is on the other hand quite powerful on the nose, very flowery. Tasting both the difference is less. 1858 tastes surprisingly good, kind of like a blended bourbon, in a good way. 100 Rye is more powerful, more bourbon-like, a bit more raw. To pick a winner, I can argue one way or the other, 1858 is probably the safe choice and 100 Rye the more interesting choice. But the difference on the nose is so big that I let it decide that Canadian Club 100 Rye is the better whiskey.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Bunnahabhain Sweet & Smoky Coopers Choice: Ardbeg much paler, with a fresh peated aroma, balance beetween peat and smoke, a hint of bourbon, and some sea. Bunnahabhain is sweeter and less peated, barely peated at all after Ardbeg. I wait a few minutes and smell Bunnehabhain again, this time it is clearly peated, with some fruitiness. I add water to both since both are cask strength and taste. Bunnahabhain has a classic heavy peat flavour, with some extra sweetness. Ardbeg has a more ash-like dry flavour. I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bowmore 1999 Bourbon Hand Filled vs Ledaig 10: Bowmore slightly darker. Ledaig has a quite thick, grain-like, sweet aroma, remdinding of the raw mash. Bowmore is a much lighter, some peat, some bourbon. I taste Bowmore, quite fresh, but at cask strenght I think it is hard to say much so I add water. Ledaig has a heavy peated quite heavy aromatic flavour. I appreciate the flavour but it is whisky that reminds me that my stomach can be upset if I drink too much of it. With water Bowmore is almost fruity, like orange, quite nice but not what you would perhaps expect. I finish Ledaig, and for a heavily peated malt it checks all the mandatory boxes. I finish Bowmore, and now it is both orange and caramel. In the peated category Ledaig has to win, there is nothing wrong with Bowmore but it is rather thin and not very convincing.

Bushmills Original vs Canadian Club 1858: Bushmills a bit paler to the eye. To the nose Canadian Club is much paler, mostly a light sweet smell of alcohol. Bushmills has a bit of bourbon, hay, mash, honey. I taste Canadian Club and it has a light slightly sweet bourbon flavour without any of the roughness of a real bourbon. Over to Bushmills, it has more complexity, some bourbon but also more dry. Back to Canadian Club it now tastes more like a punch or liqueur. As a whisky, I think Bushmills wins. But as a soft bourbon drink mix or just a soft bourbon Canadian Club seems like a very good budget choice.

Knob Creek 9 vs Old Granddads (60s): Very similar dark color, and very similar aroma as well. By just using eyes and nose, I would not even be able to tell for sure that I have different whiskies in the glasses. They are different in the mouth though but Knob Creek is stronger so I add some water. With some water, also that difference was smaller. Knob Creek has a somewhat more clean, sharp and fresh taste. Old Granddads is a bit more sweet, bitter and soft. Since there are now draws in my list, I find Knob Creek more nice to drink.

Canadian Club 100 Rye vs Crown Royal Rye: CC slightly more dark red. CC has a soft sweet aroma, CR more floral and elderberry. Back to CC it was much lighter and less complex no the nose, CR more bourbon like as well. Tasting quite as expected after smelling. CC is very easy to drink, not bad. CR is a bit odd, flowery, slightly bitter, bourbon-raw. Back to CC, it quite tastes a bit like a cheap blend leaving mostly a flavour of alcohol. I could pick any winner on flavour, but CR has more to offer both for mouth and nose.

Bunnahabhain Peat & Fruit Coopers Choice vs Longrow 13 Red: Longrow is more red in color, Bunnahabhain more brown-yellow. Bunnahabhain has a powerful dry peaty aroma, with some grain, and eventually fruit in the background. Longrow is less peated, more heavy and sweet. Bunnahabhain has a nice peated flavour, some malty caramel, and possibly a bit of sulphur. Longrow, rather balanced and complex flavour, too much sulphur for my taste. Bunnahabhain wins.

Michters Unblended American Whiskey vs Svensk Whisky för Ukraina: Michters is darker, with a definite bourbon aroma. The Swedish whisky is quite light, lightly peated, much less sweet than Michters. I taste Whisky for Ukraine and for a moment there is nothing that gives away this is not a scotch whisky, quite clean, light with some saltiness. Michters really tastes bourbon, which I like, but it comes with this quite raw feeling in the mouth, which I like less. The Swedish whisky would probably benefit from more maturation, I think it would benefit of being softer with more cask character. I prefer Svensk Whisky for Ukraine, but of course if you are looking for a bourbon, go with Michters.

Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port vs Highland Park 10 Viking Scars: I add water to the stronger Glen Scotia immediately and find it more red or pink in color compared to the yellow HP. Glen Scotia has a more sweet, somewhat fruity nose. Highland Park more malty, salty. Both a bit peated. HP has a quite light and fresh flavour. Glen Scotia more powerful with more old peat flavour, at first. Back to both I find Glen Scotia more sharp and odd, and HP more balanced and complex. I prefer HP.

Bowmore 12 vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Bowmore slightly darker, with a nice aroma of peat, malt and fruit (orange) and a flavour that is in line with the aroma. Loch Lomond is more heavily peated, more sweet, chemical and raw-wood. I prefer Bowmore.

The Famous Grouse vs The Irishman: The Irishman a bit more red in color, and more sweet, fruity and bourbon on the nose. Famous Grouse has a more thin, alcohol, aroma. I taste Famous Grouse and despite being quite thin it has a pleasant somewhat sweet whisky flavour. The Irishman is more soft, sweet and flavourful in the mouth, its sweetness coming with som bitter finish. Back to Famous Grouse it is salty, with a taste of pure alcohol. I am leaning towards The Irishman, but in a way Famous Grouse is more clean – when in the bottom of the list less flavour can be better than more. It is victory to The Irishman.

Writers Tears Double Oak vs Writers Tears Japanese Cask Finish: Double Oak is slightly paler, could be because it is not cask strength. Both have a very beautiful whisky color. On the nose, Double Oak is a bit more fresh, sour and fruity, Japanese Cask is more mellow caramel. They are quite similar, and I add some water to Japanese Cask. The color is even closer now, Japanese Cask has a richer aroma. Tasting Double Oak it is surprisingly sweet with bourbon flavour. Japanese Cask is a bit more dry, and knowing its Japanese wood origin I can taste it – subtle and balanced. Back to Double Oak, yes soft bourbon, some fruitiness and some bitterness. These whiskies are both good enough and different enough that I think it is possible to argue for either of them. If Double Oak – smooth bourbon flavour with some fruitiness – is what you want, it wins. But I think Japanese Cask is more interesting, offers more complexity and tastes better.

Bunnahabhain Sweet & Smoky Coopers Choice vs Hven Tychos Star: Bunnahabhain is a bit darker, with a rich sweet smoke nose (yes, I came up with that without thinking about its name). Hven is more dry, less peated, and lighter. Bunnahabhain really smells heavy. I taste Hven, quite dry, a bit spicy, the cask must have been something more unusual than bourbon, giving a slightly odd wood flavour. Bunnahabhain has a more rich and balanced, sweet, almost a hint of fruit, flavour. Bunnahabhain wins every day.

Bunnahabhain Sweet & Smoky Coopers Choice vs Mackmyra Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra is darker in color, with a more exotic sweet fruity nose. Bunnahabhain has more of a bourbon flavour, but with a bit of sulphur finish. Mackmyra a bit more sour and fresh. Both being sweet and smoky it is not trivial to pick a winner. Bunnahabhain is the safe choice being more traditional, Mackmyra has a bigger body and is more interesting. It is close, I give victory to Bunnahabhain.

Glenfiddich Select Cask vs Glen Moray: Same quite pale color. Glenfiddich mostly like white wine on the nose, after a while a bit caramel and bourbon. Glen Moray more classic malt aroma. Tasting Glenfiddich there is not so little bourbon, but apart from that not much happens. Glen Moray again more classic, a bit salty, more malty, even slightly peated I would say, and more powerful. Glen Moray wins.

Ballantines 17 vs Glentauchers 15: Ballantines a bit more pale, and with a more light dry nose. Glentauchers has a more rich, sweet and somewhat oily aroma. Tasting Ballantines it is dry, light and somewhat complex, extremely balanced, but with a bit of blend-alcohol feeling and slightly bitter. Glentauchers is more nut and sweet, perhaps less complex and more single-minded, but more powerful and it lingers longer. I could probably argue both ways, but I think it is quite easy to prefer Glentauchers.

Canadian Club 1858 vs The Irishman: Canadian club a bit darker in color, but after that it is paler both on the nose and in the mouth. Canadian club has a nice light sweet bourbon character. The Irishman is more sweet, fruit, a bit bitter and rather odd-tasting. The Irishman is more in every way, and thus puts Canadian Club to shame, head to head. But perhaps I would prefer a glas of Canadian Club just like that. Anyway, The Irishman wins.

Glentauchers 15 vs Writers Tears Japanese Cask Finish: Similar color. Not so different whiskies, but different qualities and very hard to pick a winner. Glentauchers is more more bourbon-sweet, Writers Tears have an interesting vanilla aroma and a more dry (mizunara) oak flavour. I will actually call it a draw.

Glen Garioch Founders Reserve vs Glen Garioch 12: 12YO is a bit darker, more fruity on the nose. Founders Reserve not so little bourbon aroma. In the mouth 12YO is richer, softer, more balanced, and wins.

Bowmore 18 vs Ledaig 10: Bowmore darker, more red. Bowmore has a kind of sweet fruity peated aroma. Ledaig is more heavy, more oily and a bit more peated. Tasting Bowmore I find a bit citrus and dark chocolate. Ledaig at first tastes quite much young raw wood in a way I don’t appreciate, but it soon gets better and it lingers nicely. This is as often a tasting that can go either way. Ledaig is heavier and more of an acquired taste, but this is a peated tasting for the peated list. To me, Bowmore is a bit everywhere at the same time, in a way that makes me wonder what it wants to be and who it wants to appeal to. Ledaig wins.

Edradour 10 vs Glenfiddich Select Cask: Edradour much darker. Glenfiddich has a light, fruity, light bourbon and vanilla aroma, with some maltiness. Edradour has a quite strong bourbon aroma with some odd fusel-oil smell in the background. Tasting Edradour it is quite much bourbon, and quite soft, but again with odd flavours that probably should not be there. Glenfiddich is quite thin, a bit metallic, but fruity/classic and easy to drink. Glenfiddich wins.

Dalwhinnie 15 vs Old Pulteney 18: Old Pulteney slightly darker in color, with a distinct bourbon aroma. Dalwhinnie has a more malty, light and fruity aroma – more complex and interesting than Old Pulteney. Tasting Old Pulteney, it is the same, a nice bourbon flavour with some nice burnt sugar, not overly complex but flawless. Dalwhinnie is first malty in the mouth, not very fruity, and surprisingly dirtly like leather or oil. While Old Pulteney know what it wants to do and does it very well, Dalwhinnie is a bit more complex but also less balanced. This is very close, subjectively I prefer the solid bourbon experience of Old Pulteney, but I understand anyone who disagrees with me.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special release) vs Oban 14: Oban darker in color, but the nose would guess otherwise. Oban rather light, fruity, almost wine-like, very fresh. Glen Ord is sweeter, a bit more dirty, more malt and bourbon. Tasting is kind of the same thing, Oban is more open, diluted, complex in flavour. Glen Ord is more powerful, concentrated and dirty. As often, this could go either way, this time I pick Oban as winner.

Glendronach Batch 9 vs Michters American Unblended: Michters is darker in color, even when Glendronach is cask strength. Glendronach has a nice sweet sour sherry aroma. Michters has a soft bourbon aroma, much vanilla. With no water, based on aroma only, I would prefer Michters. I add not so little water to Glendronach, the aroma does not really change, but there is something sour about it that I do not really enjoy. Tasting Glendronach, some sulphur, over-the-top sherry, and a bit raw. I add more water. Tasting Michters is a more soft and balanced experience, a bit raw but not as Glendronach, I find Michters a mostly enjoyable bourbon experience. Glendronach with more water, still mostly sour, unbalanced or like it has not married enough. Back to Michters, there is no way I can fool myself, I prefer Michters in every way and find Glendronach quite bad.

Edradour 10 vs Knob Creek 9: Knob Creek slightly paler, especially after adding some water (it is 50%). Edradour has a rather wine-like aroma, it makes me think of brandy or something. Knob Creek has a quite raw uncompromising bourbon aroma, not like sweet vanilla. Back to Edradour, I dont know, I guess it is fruity, as in raspberry vodka. I taste Edradour and after my negative impression with my nose, it tastes ok, surprisingly balanced. Knob Creek, being more dry and sour than sweet tastes like a bourbon that was not meant to please the inexperienced. Edradour, sweet, a bit burnt, nothing unpleasant about it, some raw wood and some red fruits. Knob Creek, the bottle says 9 years and it is like on those 9 years all the sweetness and softness of the corn was sucked out of the whisky, and all the components of the wood that could be disolved in alcohol went into the drink. If it was just about the aroma, Knob Creek wins. In the mouth however, Edradour is not really good but kind of easy to drink and enjoy, although without any charm. Knob Creek tastes like a bourbon made to challenge you, to be disliked by all but the most hard core bourbon fans. So, even if Edradour is easier, I think Knob Creek has a better nose, is more interesting, and enjoyable if you choose to enjoy it. Knob Creek wins.

Oban 14 vs Writers Tears Double Oak: Very similar, identical, color – not very dark, yellowish. Oban is light, somewhat salty, fruity but yet rich on the nose. Writers Tears is more sweet, heavier, but that also makes it seem less complex. I taste Writers Tears, not as sweet as I expected, quite flawless but a bit too plain and balanced to be interesting, some exotic wood hints in the background. Oban is a bit salty, almost peated, fruity, malty and also a bit oily leather. Back to Writers Tears it tastes sweet with some bitterness, and a bit alcohol coming through. Oban wins.

Hazelburn 2007-2021 vs Highland Park 18: Hazelburn is paler with a quite of light, rich, malty, salty aroma. HP is heavier, more sweet and sour, a bit peated, and a bit fruity I think. Back to Hazelburn, it is as expected a bit more subtle. I taste Hazelburn and find it rather complex, developing in the mouth for quite a while, but all flavours are balanced and within the same spectrum, quite dry maltiness, not fruity but some vanilla and caramel. HP, being peated, is a bit more bitter and not immediately as easy to enjoy as Hazelburn but HP is anyway soft, complex, balanced and kind of elegant for being a bit peated. Back to Hazelburn, I now find it less potent, more blend-like after HP. Back to HP again, I find this 18YO whisky very well crafted and refined. Back and forth, HP gets better every time and Hazelburn does not benefit from the comparison. HP wins.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Mackmyra Första Utgåvan: Glenfarclas darker. Mackmyra has a fruity (pear) somewhat exotic fresh light aroma. Glenfarclas is more malty with something that makes me think of fusel oil. Tasting is quite the same, and after some cracker and cheese booth whiskies improve. Obviously Glenfarclas is more classic scotch speyside. I think Mackmyra tastes better and is more interesting.

Edradour 10 vs Jim Beam Rye: Edradour is darker, with a bourbon-like sweet fruity somewhat fusel-oil aroma. Jim Beam has a less powerful arama, more pure bourbon for course. Tasting both gives a similar experience. Jim Beam is a better expression of its type, Edradour is more odd. But it is nicer to drink Edradour.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release) vs Writers Tears Double Cask: Glen Ord is paler, with a more malty dry aroma. Writers Tears has a more sweet, somewhat flowery, aroma. Tasting Writers Tears it is a bit sweet, easy to drink, not too complex. Glen Ord is more oily, leathery, somewhat peated, with a classic malty body. Glen Ord wins.

Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White Port vs Longrow 13 Red: Longrow is darker, reddish, while Glen Scotia is just brownish. On the nose, the first thing that comes to me with Glen Scotia is a mild sulphur aroma, otherwise it is balanced. Longrow is a bit fresher, a bit more peated. Both whiskies taste sulphur, Longrow perhaps more so, so I add more water to both. Finally paste the sulphur limit, Longrow is softer and more fruity while Glen Scotia is a bit more salty and oily. I prefer Longrow.

Bushmills Black Bush vs Michters Unblended American Whiskey: Michters is darker. Bushmills is sweet and fruity, Michters is more powerful, raw, dry vanilla bourbon. Black Bush tastes soft, not very complex but also quite flawless. Michters is a much more powerful and advanced experience in the mouth, quite flawless for a bourbon experience. Back to Bushmills it is not particularly tasty anymore. Victory to Michters, on knock-out. However, as often, Bushmills may be the easier to enjoy whisky stand alone.

Glenfiddich Select Cask vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Glenmorangie is darker and more red. Glenfiddich has a quite light, fresh, malty aroma. Lasanta is more heavy sweet fruity on the nose (not bad). Tasting Glenfiddich it is immediately malty and a bit caramel, then almost nothing, it disappears quickly but at least leaves nothing behind. Glenmorangie is certainly a bit sweet and fruity in the mouth, but it is also rather raw and bitter. I would expect a sherry matured whisky to be sweet and soft, but this is sweet and rough/bitter and I find Lasanta to be a rather odd product. Glenfiddich wins.

Dalwhinnie 15 vs Redbreast 15: Redbreast darker. Redbreast smells and taste like softer easier bourbon, and it is very good. But Dalwhinnie is more complex, more soft and more enjoyable. Dalwhinnie wins.

Hazelburn 2007-2021 vs Tobermory 12: Hazelburn a bit paler, with a less sweet aroma. Tobermory more fruity, almost sherry-fruity compared to Hazelburn, which is more oily and almost peated. I taste Hazelburn and it is dry, clean, fresh and malty. I try Tobermory, and after Hazelburn it is more like artificially sweet and without a distinct character. Eating some cheese, more Tobermory, it is good, really good. But not at all like Hazelburn.

Bladnoch Adela 15 Oloroso vs Glen Scotia 11 Festival 2023 White port: Glen Scotia is paler despite it is stronger. Bladnoch has a sweeter aroma, with a bit of sulphur, so I will add quite much water. Glen Scotia is more dry, raw and peated. With low expectations and plenty of water, Bladnoch has a mild sweet balanced flavour, better than expected. Glen Scotia more dry, peated or rather smoky, and also a bit of sulphur. Generally I prefer the Glen Scotia type here (dryer rather than sherry). Back to Bladnoch it is still good, almost flawless, after Glen Scotia, but it is a rather simple non-complex easy to drink whisky. Glen Scotia is a more powerful and complex whisky, but I have to admit I rather drink Bladnoch.

Floki Young Malt vs The Irishman: Color – very similar (I think the risk is minimal to mix them up though). The Irishman has a soft sweet, a bit candy-like, aroma. Floki has an unusual wet-wood-fire aroma. The Irishman, being nothing special, tastes very decent with is good since this is my third tasting this evening. Floki, it is unusual and not particularly elegant, but I dont have a problem with it. There is an odd somewhat bitter flavour in Floki, victory to the Irishman, but both are surprisingly drinkable.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Blantons Gold Edition: Similar color, Blantons a bit darker but also cask strength. On the nose both are fine expressions of their category, speyside and bourbon. Not sure what the other wood in Balvenie would be, but there is not much sherry in the aroma. I taste Balvenie and it is kind of simple and nice, but also a bit complex with maltiness, fruitiness (hint of sherry) and bourbon. Blantons is cask strength, I forgot, so a much rougher first impression. I have a hard time describing it as anything more than bourbon. Some water in Blantons and it softens up and gets easier to enjoy, but there is a sweetness in it I dont particularly like. Balvenie, being more compex and easy to enjoy, wins.

Bushmills Black Bush vs Mackmyra Första Utgåvan: Bushmills is darker, with a rather soft not as sweet as expected aroma. Mackmyra is more dry, a bit young and raw, with a hint of that Mackmyra pear. I taste Mackmyra, and it is rather balanced for a young whisky, but with a kick, a bit alcohol in the finish. Now Bushmills is sweeter, both on nose and in the mouth, and I find it easy to drink but somewhat chemical and artificial. After more Bushmills I find it lacks charm. Back to Mackmyra, it has a peppery, somewhat non-typical whisky flavour, but I find it better and more interesting than Bushmills.

Bushmills 21 vs Glenmorangie 18: Bushmills is darker, with a more sweet and fruity aroma. Glenmorangie is more on the dry bourbon side. On the nose, Bushmills promises more complexity. Glenmorangie tastes, very nice, fruit and caramel. Bushmills is almost flowery, it makes me think of juice made of red and blue berries. Glenmorangie is somewhere past a standard unpeated scotch whisky, with much extra nice added, but not completely perfected (as Glenmorangie 19). Bushmills is more a one-of-a-kind whisky that goes all the way with desert wine, without going wrong. I could argue both ways here, but I think Bushmills has to win.

Longrow 18 vs Mortlach 13 (2021 Special Release): Longrow is much darker. Mortlach has a light, malty, slightly fruity aroma. Longrow is thick, heavy, kind of damp, of course a bit peated, a bit like an old coffin or something. After powerful Longrow, Mortlach is still nice on the nose, far from defeated by raw power. Tasting Mortlach, it has some pear or white wine which is a bit unusual, otherwise it is everything I could want from a dry malty unpeated speyside. Longrow, being more powerful, is rather soft. It is balanced on complex, neither they light smoke nor the tar of a younger whisky. Mortlach, being much lighter, still has much flavour, still has complexity, still lingers, and is not made worse after the more powerful Longrow. I have to arrive at the conclusion that Mortlach is more enjoyable and more original than Longrow.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Glenfiddich Select Cask: Very similar color, perhaps Chivas is a bit darker. Chivas has a somewhat sweet nice aroma. Glenfiddich smells pear and mint, and back to Chivas I find it a bit oily. Tasting is similar, both are rather thin and short, but Chivas is pretty stable and Glenfiddich is rather odd and young, raw, bitter. Chivas wins.

Bushmills Original vs Teeling Rum Cask: Very similar color. Bushmills has a light fresh fruity with pure alcohol aroma. Teeling is more sweet and mellow, and less powerful on the nose. I taste Teeling first, a bit salty, a bit sweet, easy to drink but rather light. Bushmills is softer, more open and complex with more of maltiness and light fruits. Back to Teeling, not so little burnt sugar, being a bit stronger it tastes less, which is not entirely bad in this game. Adding some water to Teeling did not hide or reveal anything really. It is possible to argue that neither whiskey is particularly good, and Teeling has less flavour and is thus less bad, but I am not going to make that reverse argument, but rather recognise that Bushmills tastes more like the real thing and has more quality.

The Irishman vs Teeling Rum Cask: Irishman a bit darker, with a fruitier aroma. Teeling is more burnt sweet. Both rather light of course. Irishman has a soft balanced flavour, a bit caramel, a bit chemical. Teeling has a more raw flavour, perhaps it is just stronger. Some splash of water in Teeling and it is softer, but a bit bitter, perfume and burnt. Irishman is softer. Both a bit chemical. I think The Irishman is easier to drink and in this game I think that is the only thing that matters.

J&B vs Teeling Rum Cask: J&B a bit paler, with a sour alcohol aroma. Teeling is lighter on the nose, more subtle and sweet. J&B has a clean flavour with a hint of peat and oil. Teeling has a less distinct flavour, and that is perhaps an advantage in the bottom of the list. I find Teeling easier to drink, victory to Teeling.

Highland Park Valfather vs Jura Seven Wood: Jura slightly darker, with a bit of a dirty wet dog aroma, kind of raw wood. HP is slightly peated, more clean. I taste HP and find it quite light, barely peated, clean and nice with some sweetness. Jura tastes a bit sour peated, I miss classic malty, bourbon or fruity flavours and mostly find some odd wood. HP wins.

Jura Superstition vs Jura Seven Wood: Superstition a bit darker. On the nose, Superstition more classic peat, a bit ashy, a bit fresh fruit. Seven Wood is still more wet dog (it reminds me of Floki, but I don’t know the name of the smell). Tasting Superstition, balanced, a bit sweet and caramel, with a hint of peat. 7 wood has an odd chemical bitterness, and now when I think the name of it I guess they have experimented with types of wood not usually used for whisky. It tastes like that. Superstition wins.

Floki Young Malt vs Jura Seven Wood: Very similar color, perhaps Floki is slightly paler. On the nose Floki is more powerful, and it mostly reminds me of bad radiator water. Seven Wood is quite subtle compared to Floki, mostly smelling a bit of raw wood. Floki kind of tastes like burnt saw dust. After that, Seve Wood tastes very much like a normal whisky, with few impressions to write about, but still some odd wood flavours. Jura wins.

The Irishman vs Jura Seven Wood: Similar color, Irishman slightly paler. Irishman is very fruity, it smells like a sherry but not like a sherry whisky. Jura is surprisingly subtle after this Irish blend with its raw wood aroma. The Irishman tastes fine, soft and fruity, but a bit alcohol and a bit chemical, like the blend is good but there is too little of the good stuff in there. Seven Wood is, not charming. I can like The Irishman, admitting it is rather cheap tasting. But the only way to like Jura is to compare it to something worse. Irishman wins.

Selling my Chromebook

I sold my Chromebook, an Acer R13 with Mediatek ARM CPU. I bought it in the beginning of 2018, and I wrote some about it.

Looking back I bought it in early 2018 and it was not until late 2019 that I had reached a point where it was not an ongoing challenge to make good use of it. 18 months is a quite long time. When I bought the R13 it probably had ChromeOS 62-63 something. With ChromeOS 76 the Linux support was stable on R13 and ChromeOS came with virtual desktop support. Since Linux support was working properly I still have not used it very much. So I was not a very early adopter but I was still, in hindsight, two years early.

Why did I sell it and how did it not meet my expectations?

  • Quality trackpad, keyboard, loudspeakers was simply not very good (probably ok for the price, but I want to pay more for better)
  • Android experience was mixed when I tried it, and I did not use it much later on
  • I feel that the desktop/windows/app-integration experience of ChromeOS was not optimal
  • Running Linux in a container makes Linux (applications) feel a bit like second class citizens

Display, battery life, performance and specs (64GB SSD, 4GB RAM) and ports was acceptable. Although it is a bit quirky to use it for Linux, configuring, upgrading and maintaining ChromeOS is super smooth.

One factor is that I was disappointed and worried about where Apple was going at the time and I was sincerely looking for an alternative, now Apple looks pretty good again.

I think when I bought it I kind of assumed Apple and Microsoft would be more annoying and ChromeOS would develop quickly. I think in hindsight Apple and Microsoft have moved faster than Google. Apple is native Unix and even Windows comes with Linux in a container nowadays (like ChromeOS), so the Linux subsystem of ChromeOS is no unique selling point.

I conclusion, when paying less for a laptop you also get less quality. My Chromebook was never feeling very nice or cool next to my MacBook Air 11-inch 2014. It is possible to pay more for a Chromebook than I did for mine, but then you may get a Windows or Apple laptop with roughly the same spec for roughly the same price. I can see why it is targeted at schools and less complex workplaces.

Even though this was the cheapest computer I bought (not counting some Raspberry Pi) I think the cost per hour of usage was quite high.