Category Archives: Drinks

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.

Whisky tasting notes 2022

Links: Previous Tastings , Whisky Ranking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenfarclas 12 vs Oban Distillers Edition: Oban a bit more red in color. Glenfarclas light but very balanced on the nose, some fruit, some sweetness, some saltiness. Oban more on the fruity side. It kind of smells like Oban is from the coast and Glenfarclas from the middle of the land. Glenfarclas taste pretty clean, like a fresh Speyside reference malt, rather than anything particular. Oban is a bit sweeter, comes with som bitterness, and a hint of fattiness (sulphur). Back to Glenfarclas, it is quite dry, probably too dry for an unexperienced audience, but I like it. Oban to me, is not very appealing. Glenfarclas wins.

Bowmore Small Batch vs Bowmore 12: Small Batch is much paler, with the nose dominated by smoke (more so than peat). Not so very peated, but it is still the dominating impression. 12YO is sweeter and less peated. I taste 12YO and I find the mix of sweetness and peat a bit unnatural, followed by some bitterness, to me this whisky is a compromise lacking identity. Small Batch is rather dry with a nice peated flavour. It says bourbon-matured on the bottle, and I can not really say there is much bourbon flavour. Bourbon-matured seems to mean sherry-free. Which is fine. My guess is that Small Batch is matured on rather old (like third/forth fill) boubon casks, and that it would benefit from being much older. Anyway, Small batch wins.

Imperial 21 Auld Rare vs Mortlach 20: Imperial is paler, and has a more dry, salty almost peated aroma. Mortlach a bit sweeter, some fruitiness and bourbon notes. Imperial tastes as I expect after smelling it, also balanced, quite soft, not overly heavy. Mortlach is more sour and slightly bitter after Imperial. Back to Imperial it tastes quite much grain. Mortlach – being an overall excellent whisky of course – is soft, balanced and a bit sweet, but it fails to match Imperial.

Highland Park Valfather vs Highland Park 10 Viking Scars: Very similar color, Valfather perhaps slightly paler, at least after some water. Also quite similar aroma, Valfather more peated, with some bourbon and vanilla, and some white wine (could be the oak). Viking Scars is less powerfull, less peated, but same kind of bourbon and white wine aroma. As expected Valfather is more peated in the mouth, a bit more short and loud in the mouth. 10YO is more speyside-like, malty, wide in the mouth, balanced and light peat. Altogether 10YO is the more solid whisky, but if you want more peat Valfather is obviously the choice.

7 dlight Ichiro Wine Reserve vs Glenfiddich 12: Ichiro is darker, more red, and quite fruity on the nose. Glenfiddich a bit more caramel and malt. I add water to Ichiro before tasting but first impression is a bit of sulphur so I add more water. Glenfiddich is rather dry, light malt like young malt. Ichiro is more sweet but also with some saltiness. Glenfiddich quite classic speyside, not amazing but it knows what it wants to be and it does it ok. Ichiro is more experimental and not so convincing.

Chivas Regal 18 vs Deanston Oloroso Finish (9Y): Chivas Regal is slightly darker, with a soft sweet fruit aroma. Deanston is more dry and fresh fruit on the nose. Deanston has a surprisingly complex, soft and tasty flavour. Chivas has a mellow, rich, very balanced and quite tasty flavour. Back to Deanston, now I feel the Oloroso and that would make me prefer Chivas. Both are kind of quite good and quite flawless, but not really flawless. Chivas Regal wins.

Loch Lomond Heavily Peated vs Longrow 13 Red: Longrow is darker. Loch Lomond has a thick foglike sweet aroma. Longrow is less peated, more bourbon or oak rather than red wine. I taste Loch Lomond and it tastes like something that has been burning slowly for a long time, a bit sour. Very not salty and crisp, but more mellow. Longrow Red is saltier, fruitier and immediately not so little sulphur, so I add more water. Back to Loch Lomond it is more like raw burnt wood. Longrow is now almost out of sulphur, quite balanced with some bitterness. I like neither of these very much, but I would say Loch Lomond is the more safe choice.

Longrow 13 Red vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Longrow is darker, with a sweetish aroma. Mackmyra has a more odd pear-smoke aroma, but it has a quite clean smokey flavour. Longrow not being watered down enough yet tastes sulphur. I prefer Mackmyra.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: PC is darker, I add water right away hoping to eliminate som sulphur. Port Charlotte smells rotten radiator water. Mackmyra smells odd pear, but it does not stink at least. Port Charlotte tasted surprisingly good however (given the very low bar) and I add even more water. Mackmyra really tastes like a very young not matured whisky, but Mackmyra wins.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Johnny Walker Gold Label: JW slightly darker. Ichiro has a kind of synthetic sour aroma, JW is more mellow and dirty. Back to Ichiro, almost coconut, and I taste it and find it quite raw and sour. Gold Label has an unusual hint of peatiness (thats blend). I like JW better.

7 dlight Ichiro Mizunara Reserve vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Similar color. Both actually have a slight candy-smell, rather similar on the nose too. Lasanta is quite soft and also complex in the mouth, no sulphur today. Mizunara is a bit more dry, more chemical and less soft. Glenmorangie wins.

Bushmills Single Malt 16 vs Springbank 11 Madeira: Bushmills is darker, balanced and soft caramel on the nose. Springbank is more salt (even peat) and less soft, and more winey. Tasting Bushmills it is a bit flowery, very soft and nice in the mouth. Springbank is a more challenging experience, slights hints of sulphur, but a nice mix fruit and sea. Back to Bushmills it is easy to enjoy and drink, very well crafted, but not particularly spectacular. Springbank is kind of running in circles around the very stable and reliable Bushmills, and that is both a good and a bad thing for Springbank. But I have to give victory to Springbank.

Whisky visit to Islay

In April 2022 I visited Islay with a few friends to visit distilleries and try whisky. I will write a bit about the distilleries.


Ardbeg has a more uneven, spectacular and even experimental range of whiskies compared to other distilleries on Islay i would say. In the store you can buy a 3×20 cl kit of Beastie, An Oa (their kind of introduction whisky) and 10YO (the Ardbeg classic). Limited sale of bottles in distillery.

Because of Covid-19 things were not quite normal. In Ardbeg the shop sold a 5×2.5ml tasting that you could try in their café, in their garden or bring home. I brought most of it home and did head to head tasting (I think it is really hard to do something with 5 whiskies at the same time). I rank the from best to worst:

  1. 22 year old Twenty Something
  2. Auriverdes
  3. Traigh Bhan (batch #3)
  4. Dark Cove
  5. Perpetuum

Very short notes follow:

22YO beats Traigh Bhan. 22YO is ligh, fresh, salty with a lingering flavour. Traigh Bhan is more sweet and woody.

22YO beats Auriverdes: Auriverdes is very slightly darker in color, a bit less peated, and a bit more fruity (but not sweet) and winey. 22YO is more aggresively peated on the nose, and has a softer saltier more sea-like complex flavour. Auriverdes is a bit bitter.

Auriverdes beats Dark Cove: Dark Cove is darker and sweeter, richer, with a hint of sherry on the nose. Auriverdes is more ash-dry. Tasting Dark Cove it is both sweet and raw peat, with an unfortunate hint of sulphur in the end. Auriverdes more elegant, integrated and fresh.

Traig Bhan beats Dark Cove: Dark Cove is dark with a hint of sulphur. Traigh Bhan is ashy, very dry.

Dark Cove beats Perpetuum: Dark Cove is sweeter with a hint of sulphur. Perpeteeum is drier, more malty, fresh but more bitter.

22YO beats Perpetuum: 22YO is classic, winey, malty and complex. Perpetuum is pale, malty fresh and dry.

Traigh Bhan beats Perpetuum: Perpetuum is rather dry wood, bitter. Traigh Bhan is light, soft sweet, burnt and a bit sour.

I also made short tastings against other whiskies.

Bowmore 18 beats 22YO Ardbeg: Bowmore is darker, mellow, malty, soft yet peated in the mouth. 22YO Ardbeg is more peated, has more salt and sea, some freshness, but hints of bitterness and rather burnt.

The Ileach vs Ardbeg Perpetuum: Ileach is daker, soft, salty, a bit bitter and the easier whisky to drink. Perpetuum is more dry, ashy and has a strong flavour of petroleum.

Ardbeg Dark Cove vs Bowmore 15: Bowmore is darker, with a rather sweet and fruity aroma with some vanilla. Ardbeg is also a bit fruity, but more dry, sour and peated. Bowmore quite easy to drink, not so overwhelming. Ardbeg has a bit more punch, more petroleum, perhaps more sulphur. Bowmore may be more easy but Ardbeg has more character and Bowmore is not that good to beat it.

Ardbeg 22 beats Longrow 18: Longrow is darker, with a somewhat sweet aroma. Ardbeg is more dry and peated on the nose, and with a fine elegant full peated flavour. Longrow is thicker, more sour, more dirty.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated beats Ardbeg Traig Bhan: Very similar color. Bunnahabhain has on old closet smell. Ardbeg more sour peated. Bunnahabhain is soft, rich complex and peated. Ardbeg is lighter , less soft and complex, and more thin.

Ardbeg Auriverdes beats Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated: Bunnahabhain a bit darker, with a softer less peated aroma. Tasting both Ardbeg has a more solid consistent flavour, salty, peated and balanced. Bunnahabhain is a little sour and a litte bit everywhere.

Laphraoig beats Ardbeg Auriverdes: Laphroig a little darker, and with a slightly heavier aroma. Auriverdes a hint of fruitiness on the nose, a bit burnt in the mouth, more ashy and dry. These whiskies are quite similar, Laphroaig being a bit softer in the mouth. Auriverdes is more spectacular.

Kilchoman Machir bay beats Ardbeg Auriverdes: Machir Bay is paler, and with a more sweetish synthetic aroma. Ardbeg is more straight peated. In the nose, Kilchoman is a bit oily, quite soft, and sweetish. Ardbeg is saltier with a hint of petroleum. Auriverdes is more spectacular.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan beats Ardbeg Dark Cove: Dark Cove slightly darker, and with a sweet sherry aroma. Corrywreckan is more dry, and rather salty, reasonably complex. Dark Cove has a fruity taste of sulphur.

Ardbeg Dark Cove beats Longrow 13 Red: Longrow has a more red (unusual) whisky color. Both have a powerful fruity sherry aroma. Longrow is rather nice salty first, followed by some old margarine. Ardbeg is saltier, less balanced. Longrow is more mature in flavour, but too much sulphur.


As I understand it Ardnahoe is as of April 2022 not selling any whisky, just busy producing, so we just stayed for a photoshoot in the morning.


Bowmore is the oldest licenced warehouse on Islay and their facilities indicate “premium” (as Lagavulin). Age statements is important for Bowmore marketing and be aware that Bourbon/Sherry mix varies a lot between ages (with 15YO being pure Sherry). In the distillery I tried a (budget) Bowmore #1 (not available where I live) and I find it preferable to Bowmore 12.

We did a Vault Secret Tour of the distillery ending in tasting directly from two casks in their oldest warehouse and being permitted to fill up a 10cl bottle ourselves and bring home. That was nice.


We just did a quick gift store stop in Bruichladdich. I have to admit I am not a very big Bruichladdich fan and we had not planned to do very much there. It seems the Gin brand Botanist (which is excellent) that is manufactured and sold by Bruichladdich is perhaps a bigger business than whisky nowadays.

In Bruichladdich you can fill your own (well, I guess they supply the) bottle from a cask in the store.


Also in Bunnahabhain we just did a stop i the gift shop and strolled around a bit. Bunnahabhain has by far the best shop on Islay for the tourist fan (but check out Lagvulin too). There were several distillery-exclusive whiskies available as 70cl, 20cl or 5cl which is quite perfect when you are on whisky-tour on Islay. They also serve free tastings of those whiskies in the store so you can try before you buy.

Coal Ila

We did not visit Coal Ila.


In Kilchoman we did a tour and a tasting. Kilchoman opened in 2005, and the thing about them is that they do everything locally. 30% of the barley comes from their own farmland around the distillery – and that goes into the 100% Islay Malt. The rest of the malt is bought from Port Ellen Malteries. Kilchoman is not about age statements, and perhaps there will be occational aged whiskies, but never in the core line. Machir Bay is 90% bourbon cask and 10% sherry cask, it is also the one I like the most. The visiting centre was nice and the shop had some smaller bottles for sale for tourist (20cl, 5cl) which I appreciate.


In Lagavulin we did a tasting of 6 whiskies in their warehouse lead by legend Ian McArthur. The whiskies we tried were from 10 to 25 years old. For “drivers” or the careful drinker it was possible to get samples home instead of drinking in the warehouse. Ian explained that 16YO is the main expression. Everything else is limited, gimmic. Lagavulin offers a premium standard product, the 16YO, and that is how they want things to remain. 16YO is (as I remember it) is heavier and sweeter than other things I tasted in th Distillery, so 16YO is kind of different. This means that when you encounter a peated whisky that does not taste like Lagavulin 16, it may very well be a Lagavulin nevertheless. The Distillery store, which was very elegantm had plenty of whiskies to buy, Lagavulin and other brands (like Mortlach). Everything in 70cl bottles though so no purchases for me.


We did a nice standard tour of Laphroaig. I asked and they dont make 15YO Laphroaig anymore and the 10YO is their very popular main whisky. They have plenty of variations: Select, Quarter Cask, and some sherry options. Select is a mix of different things. Quarter Cask is finished an a 125L Quarter Cask, which makes it sweeter. Lore is a more premium old rich mix. Distillery store has a very basic range of Laphroiag bottles for sale, and when it comes to smaller bottles just a 35cl 10YO.

Port Ellen

Port Ellen is under (re)construction and we had the opportunity to take photos of the stills.


We finished our journey taking a trip to Campbeltown and Springbank. We did no take a guided tour in Springbank but we ordered a whisky tasting to our table, and they had good choices of tastings! The store was kind of crappy with expensive clothes (like they do not want poor people to wear their brand), and very limited selection of whisky to bring home. I tried the blended whisky Campbeltown Loch which was a surprisingly nice experience (but do not expect miracles of course).

Springbank also hides the bourbon/sherry-ratio as age statements: 10YO is 60/40, 12YO is 100/0, 15YO is 0/100 and 18YO is 50/50. For us bourbon fans it means that the 12YO cask strength is the reasonable choice.

Buying bottles

As a tourist from outside UK I can bring 1L whisky home duty free (that is, paying tax in UK and not paying it again when I get home). I would have been very happy if more distilleries offered 5, 10 and 20cl bottles of interesting whisky in their stores. If you visit Islay and you visit the distilleries in some order it is not so easy to know where to spend your money. So my advice for shopping whisky in the distilleries:

  • If you want a nice 70cl unusual, perhaps even exclusive and expensive bottle, buy it in Lagavulin
  • If you want good selection of smaller bottles, and being able to tast, go to Bunnahabhain
  • If you want something unique – hand filled – buy it in Bruichladdich
  • If you just want to bring home 1L of a good scotch whisky, buy it duty free in the airport on your way home

Whisky Blind Tasting Log

I got some sample bottles from a good friend, labeled 1-9. So I will blind taste them and I was recommended to start with 1,2,3,5,8 (thats close to a Fibonnaci siries but I am quite sure that is a coincidence). #1 is supposed to be cask strength. Try them head to head, randomly first.

The results go into my Whisky Head to Head ranking.

#2 vs #5: #2 is darker. #5 has a quite classic aroma, not so little bourbon and vanilla in it. Neither very peated or sweet. #2 is fruitier and if one would be sherry matured it is this one. #5 is a softer, more malty thing. #2 is a bit more raw (or that is how I experience the probably-sherry-character). I taste #2, yes it is very good, in my taste, much vanilla and oak, and not so soft in the mouth as I first thought: it both has a kick and is soft (I add a little water). #5 has a strong sherry character, but what a sherry character (!), it is fruity like raisins or cherries, rich and deep, soft and malty. Very good. I really like #5 (although it has a hint of surprising bitterness after #2), but the only reason to not let #2 win would be if I were an absolute sherry hater, and I am not. Victory to #2.

#1 vs #3: Quite similar in color, #1 is cask strength and #3 is perhaps slightly more red. These are not so obvious on the nose, classic almost subtle with no immediately dominating aromas. #3 is a bit more of oak and vanilla, #1 a light, somewhat fruity maltiness. I taste #1 (first without water) and it is an unusual whisky, I find coffee and stout (or porter) in it. Oh, #3 is nice, an elegant mix of classic malt and sherry, with a nicely lingering red fruitiness. Back to #1, I remain at this roasted somewhat sweet flavour. #3 wins.

So that leaves us with #2 and #3 winning, and #1 and #5 losing. Lets play the losers and winners before trying #4.

#1 vs #5: Similar color. A bit more vanilla and oak in the aroma of #5, #1 is harder to put words to. I like #1 now, classic but yes still with some coffee and stout. #5 is more soft, with more vanilla. I really like #5 and it wins.

#2 vs #3: #2 is darker. I ended up with the two sherry inspired whiskies in the final. Well, this is weird, #2 is a bit chlorine, like a swimming pool, but in a good way! #3 has a more rough sherry cask character. #2 has to me a close to perfect sherry whisky flavour, soft and well balanced, without the sherry dominating too much. #3 is good, but a bit more rough and raw, and perhaps with a hint of that sulphur (which I don’t find a trace of in #2). Victory to #2.

So at this point we have #2 in the top, followed by #3, #5 and #1. I pour up #8 and find it as dark as #2, and yes, it has a definite high quality sherry character. Lets play it against #3.

#3 vs #8: #8 is darker, and it has more powerful aroma. I think #8 may be a bit peated. On the nose I would think that #3 is the more safe choice, and #8 is the joker. Lets taste the joker. Not bad, it is definitely a sherry matured whisky, a but juicy – like fresh and sour. #3 is more malty, a bit more conservative, I prefer #3.

#5 vs #8: #5 is paler. On the nose, #5 is a much lighter, maltier more classic speyside-like whisky. #8 is more spectacular sherry. #5, very good soft bourbon flavour. #8 is more powerful, and obviously more sherry. I prefer #5.

#1 vs #8: #1 is paler, and cask strength. On the nose #8 is rich, sherry, peated (perhaps) and complex. #1 is rather anonymous and subtle. #1 starts with a quite classic malt flavour, ending with this coffee roast again. These are a bit different in character, yet similar in quality. I am not a sherry fan (although top 2 of 5 went to sherry so far), and there is some I don’t like about #8 and I find #1 more enjoyable.

Final list (best to worst – and with the actual names written out):

  1. #2 Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor
  2. #3 Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches
  3. #5 Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 Samaroli
  4. #1 Bunnahabhain 1979-2000
  5. #8 Bunnahabhain 28 Statement

More tasting against other whiskies

(#2) Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor vs Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso: Königsmann is darker, and it has a very powerful fruity aroma. #2 is more subtle, balanced, classic malt here. Königsmann has a distinctive sherry character, rich sweet and complex. #2 is more balanced, not exactly subtle sherry but less dominant sherry. I prefer #2.

(#8) Bunnahabhain 28 Statement vs Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso: Königsmann is darker, with more fruit and bourbon (! – who would have thought) on the nose. #8 a bit dull here. First two very small sips, Königsmann feels like the richer more powerful whisky. #8 tastes a hint of peat, not so much sherry, and some unfortunate sulphur that I can’t forget or forgive. Königsmann has a more straight sherry influence, more fruity. It is actually very close, but I prefer Königsmann.

Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 Samaroli vs Redbreast 15: Redbreast a bit darker. Not so little similarity in aroma, Redbreast has a little bit more raw bourbon character and Bunnahabhain seems slightly softer, fruitier. Bunnahabhain has a rich and complex flavour that lingers long, a bit salty, a bit bitter, not so little bourbon and oak. Redbreast is more immediately and powerful sweet bourbon, which is very nice, but then it fades quicker. These two dont quite improve each other, Bunnahabhain seems a bit dull and Redbreast a bit chemical. Bunnahabhain is definitely a more complex and complete whisky, with some unfortunate bitterness. Redbreast is much more simple, but it does its bourbon extremely well. I prefer Redbreast, but I understand if connaiseurs and enthusiasts find that crazy.

Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 Samaroli vs Bushmills 16: Bushmills clearly darker. Bunnahabhain has a saltier and maltier aroma (you can feel the Islay/Sea-character, without the peat). Bushmills is sweeter, more chemical. I taste Bushmills, at first sweet, then sweeter, caramel, very soft. Bunnahabhain is saltier, maltier, and more bitter. Thinking I have very cheap and sweet preference, I lean towards Bushmills. I find Bunnahabhain more interesting than pleasant.

Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 Samaroli vs Springbank 15 Rum PC#629: Springbank much paler to the eye, but to the nose much rougher. Bunnahabhain rather soft and balanced, Springbank actually a bit sulphur. Springbank tastes fantastic though, no sulphur really, salty and with a hidden sweetness from the rum. Bunnahabhain has a more dominant sweetness more in the front. Bunnahabhain is more complex, lingering nicer, and I prefer it.

Bunnahabhain 28 Statement vs Glengoyne 21: Very similar color, both rather dark. Glengoyne has a light, almost wine-like aroma, definitely dominated by a soft sherry character but I thought I found bourbon in there too (and reading the bottle I am wrong). Bunnahabhain not so different, a bit saltier, rougher and in-your-face sherry, but not so much. Bunnahabahin is the more sweet. Tasting Glengoyne, it is sweet, caramel, some dark fruits, soft nice and round. Bunnahabhain is saltier, rougher, and an unfortunate hint of sulphur. I add little water to it. Tasting both again, I prefer Glengoyne.

Bunnahabhain 28 Statement vs Longrow 13 Red: Both rather dark and reddish, Longrow stronger but adding water makes not so much difference. Not so different on the nose, Longrow is a bit rougher and saltier, perhaps more sulphur, and its “red” casks have given less sweetness than the sherry casks of Bunnahabhain. I take a small sip of both, Longrow has too much sulphur, like old margarine, and Bunnahabhain has more complexity and and variety. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Bunnahabhain 28 Statement: Very similar color. There is something thin, sweet, fruity and unnatural about Bergslagen, where Bunnahabhain smells of old quality. I taste Bergslagen, and it does have some quality: reasonable compexity, some softness, sweetness that is easy to enjoy and quite an absense of unwanted flavours. Bunnahabhain is saltier, but with some unfortunate sulphur. However, with that sulphur in mind, Bergslagen is not so flawless after all, and I think Bunnahabhain wins a narrow victory.

Bunnahabhain 28 Statement vs Johnny Walker 18: Similar color, JW probably slightly paler. JW quite light, something mint/hay about its aroma, otherwise classic scotch and perhaps a hint of peat. Bunnahabhain fresher, fruitier, saltier. I taste Johnny Walker, and it is flawlessly soft and balanced and it remains fairly long in the mouth. No bones. Bunnahabhain is much more sherry, and with that comes the sulphur: it has a lot of quality, but I am not forgiving with Sulphur. I prefer Johnny Walker 18.

Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release): Much more color in Bunnahabhain. Glen Ord has a somewhat oily soily nose, but also fruity. Bunnahabhain strikes me as more sherry, those dark and red fruits. Glen Ord is classic, easy to enjoy, dry and a bit burnt in the mouth. Bunnahabhain has a more powerful aroma with an nice balance between sherry and malt. Glen Ord being a bit lighter, still has a comparable wealth of flavours. I have a simple flavour, not leaning towards sherry, and I prefer Glen Ord.

Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches vs Macallan 1993-2013: Very similar color. Macallan is lighter, more maltier, a bit more caramel and soft fruits on the nose. Bunnahabhain is saltier, rougher with more sherry. Macallan tastes good, very soft and balanced, slightly bitter. Bunnahabhain is a saltier more powerful experience. Back to Macallan, a bit dull, not quite up to this. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches vs Highland Park 18 Viking Pride: Bunnahabhain perhaps slightly paler. Both has a bit salty and rough aroma, Highland Park a bit more oil, leather and peat (definitely), Bunnahabhain becomes a little in the shadow here, not quite matching HP in nose power. In the mouth the sherry of Bunnahabhain turns a bit sour, Highland park is very well balanced. I prefer Highland Park.

Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve: Similar color. Bunnahabhain has a more rough and salty aroma, Glenfiddich fresher and fruitier and some maltyness comes through more as well. Tasting Glenfiddich it is very soft, honeylike, malty with some fruitiness. Bunnahabhain is more rare, exquisite in flavour, but also more of an aqcuired taste. I can really see myself and other people prefer Glenfiddich but there is something thin and somple to it side by side with this Bunnahabhain, so I will let Bunnahabhain win.

Bunnahabhain 1979-2000 vs Macallan 1993-2013: Bunnahabhain slightly paler. Macallan has a light fruitiness, with some maltiness. Bunnahabhain rougher, sweeter and saltier. Both have a sherry origin but quite different. Macallan is malty and nice, caramel, a bit nutty. Now there is much more raw sherry character to Bunnahabhain and I add water to it since it is cask strength. Bunnahabhain gets softer with water. Very similar quality, quite quite different character. Macallan is good but it is missing something to me, Bunnahabhain does its thing more straight. So it is a narrow victory to Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 1979-2000 vs Glengoyne 21: Glengoyne is darker in color. Bunnahabhain has a more mellow, subtle aroma. Glengoyne is more fruity sherry. Bunnahabhain has a classic malty salty whisky flavour. Glengoyne is more on the fruity side, a bit lighter. Some hint of peat in Bunnahabhain. I prefer Bunnahabhain to Glengoyne.

Bunnahabhain 1979-2000 vs Dufftown 18: Dufftown is darker. Very similar aroma, Dufftown is perhaps a bit more spicy and Bunnahabhain a bit heavier (yet not more powerful). Dufftown has a fine rather dry malt flavour. Bunnahabhain is richer, slightly sweeter, and I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 1979-2000 vs Johnny Walker Blue Label: Johnny Walker is much darker, and with a more peated nose. Bunnahabhain is more light and fresh. JW is very soft yet peated. Bunnahabhain a bit more sharp, raw yet more pure and distinct. Blue Label is a bit sour. I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor vs Imperial 21 (Auld Rare): Bunnahabhain slightly darker, with a quite fruity nose. Imperial has a more classic, slightly peated nose. Bunnahabhain is very good, both sweet and and old dry kind of flavour. Imperial a bit dirtier. Bunnahabhain is more interesting and complex. I prefer Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor vs Glenlivet 21 Archive: Glenlivet slightly darker. On the nose Bunnahabhain is more sour, sherry and salty. Glenlivet is more malty and sweet. Tasting Glenlivet it is very complex and flawless – on the brink of boring. Bunnahabhain is more sour, more raw. It is probably possible to prefer Bunnahabhain for originality (and perhaps sherry if you like that), but I find Glenlivet to be the more complete and perfected single malt, and I prefer to drink Glenlivet.

Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor vs Brora 38: Brora slighly paler, and more powerful and peated on the nose. Brora is soft and complex, yet a bit single minded on the peat. Bunnahabhain is more fresh but more sour in a not optimal way. There is more flavour in Brora, and it is more flawless, so it wins.

The Others

I also got #4, #6 and #7 to blind taste.

  • #4 is Bunnahabhain 2001-2020 Elexir (WB158992)
  • #6 is Bunnahabhain 12.
    (It turned out that when I ranked #6 in my Head to Head ranking it ended up next to Bunnahabhain 12 which was already there, out of 193 whiskies.)
  • #7 is Bunnahabhain 18

#4 vs Glengoyne 21: Color is very similar, golden/amber medium dark. On the nose, #4 is a bit more sweet and creamy, Glengoyne a bit more fresh/sour sherry notes. After a few minutes Glengoyne has a more definite Sherry character and #4 is… more like a sweeter wine than Sherry. Perhaps different types of sherry casks. #4 is supposed to be cask strength so I splash some water. Glengoyne tastes fine, but rather thin for what I could expect from a 21YO. Balanced sherry thought, that is good. #4 is sweeter in the mouth than Glengoyne and has a nice taste with a subtle hint of sulphur (perhaps – no it does not). There is nothing wrong with Glengoyne, well, there is a slight metallic taste lingering I think, and it really offers me nothing extra. It is a perfect whisky for people who dont want too much flavour and who are in to very delicate whiskies. Not interesting enough for me. #4 is really soft, it makes me think of both bourbon and sherry. #4 wins.

#4 vs Bushmills 21: Quite similar color, Bushmills is slightly darker after adding water to the strong #4. Bushmills has a soft sweet fruit aroma. #4 is a bit more classic, I would say more bourbon. Both are soft and rich, but Bushmills is the more Irish-soft and #4 feels a bit more Scotland-dry. Bushmills tastes amazing, so long lingering fruity flavour, almost not whisky. #4 is a bit more straight – it does not have that wide palette of flavours and it does not linger so long, but it is also flawless. But the quite special Bushmills 21 wins.

#4 vs Longmorn 16: I find Longmorn more pale and greenish in color. Quite similar aroma here, Longmorn is a bit less sweet and #4 a bit heavier. Longmorn is very well balanced in the mouth, the sweet and fruit does not dominate. #4 tastes more like heavy sherry flavour, but not at all too much. Longmorn is more a mix of classic speyside and bourbon. I find bourbon notes in #4 also though. This is about to come down to preference rather than quality. Longmorn feels more delicately crafted, #4 has more raw character. I often prefer more dry whisky to more sweet and sherry-tasting whisky and this Longmorn 16 is a bit of a favourite, but #4 is better.

#4 vs Bushmills 16: Very similar color. Bushmills has a hint of mint or grass on the nose (reminds me of younger Bushmills). #4 is more solid and sweet. Bushmills has a soft nice fruity flavour (quite unlike younger Bushmills). #4 has a more single-minded powerful taste. I put both to my nose, and none of them benefit from being compared to the other. I was about to conclude that I like the smell of #4 better, but the taste of Bushmills better. But I change my mind and find #4 simply better.

#6 vs Redbreast 12: Redbreast perhaps slightly darker. Both have a quite soft and distinctive bourbon aroma, Redbreast a little sweeter and #6 a little bit more sour. Redbreast is surprisingly salt, quite fresh, not that soft and it has a bourbon taste in the background but not as on the nose. #6 is good, surprisingly sweet, a bit more rough. Quite similar, I prefer Redbreast.

#6 vs Johnny Walker 18YO Platinum: Johnny Walker slightly darker. #6 is more bourbon, happy and fresh on the nose. JW is more peated and heavy. I taste JW and it is quite complex and soft, with a hint of peat, a little bit lack of character. #6 is more bourbon, more fruity, more fresh and a bit more uplifting. JW tastes like a whisky for very serious occations. I understand that JW is complex, soft and refined, but I prefer the happier #6.

#6 vs Macallan Fine Oak: Very similar color. Macallan has the aroma of both a sherry and a white wine, with a bit of whisky of course. #6 is more caramel and bourbon, sweeter. Macallan is probably slightly more powerful, but it has a sour (I dont want to say sulfur, yet) touch. I taste Macallan and it starts nicely, but it kind of falls flat a bit, it lingers but with no particular flavour, a mild bitterness. #6 is more sweet, bourbon and more sweet desert wine than sherry if you like. Macallan is very refined, perhaps complex, but it does not quite take off. I prefer #6.

#7 vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) Sherry: Similar color, #7 slightly darker (but I am not sure about ABV yet). Both have a distinctive sherry aroma. On the nose #7 is a bit sweeter and creamier and Strathmills a bit more balanced and elegant, a bit more malty. Both also have a typical, and quite fine, sherry flavour. Strathmill a bit softer, more elegant, and #7 little bit more raw and a little hint of sulphur. These are similar, and it is a narrow victory to Strathmill.

#7 vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask: Everything is the same color nowadays. #7 has a more sweet and raw nose, Macallan is softer but a bit more dull. I taste Macallan, it is flavourful, balanced, delicate and pretty boring. I taste #7, it has more saltiness, power and personality. If you are looking for easy, Macallan is the way to go, but I am a little bit more adventurous so I prefer #7.

#7 vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Glen Scotia is more pale. #7 has a more sweet sherry aroma, Glen Scotia is more fruity and sweet than a regular scotch malt, but it is more raw and dry than #7. Tasting Glen Scotia it is not balanced – it is a bit everywhere and not entirely integrated. Both have a light hint of sulfur, #7 is more sweet and balanced. Glen Scotia is quite good but I dont quite understand what it is and how it wants to taste. #7 wins.

New Batch – 6 more whiskies

6 whiskies labeled 1-6 turned out to be (but I did not know when I tasted):

  1. Miltonduff 1991-2009 Chivas Brothers
  2. Glenlossie 1995-2018 Carn Mor
  3. Strathmill 2006-2020 Autumn Single Cask
  4. Glenlossie 25 That Boutique-Y whisky company
  5. Mannochmore 1984-2014 Helen Arthur (46%)
  6. Glenlossie 1999-2009 Managers Choice (59.1%)

#1: Pale, fresh, malty, very nice on the nose. Some bourbon and caramel. 51.3%.

#1 vs Deanston 12: #1 slightly paler. Deanston is more caramel on the nose. I thought #1 would kind of outpower Deanston on the nose but not really. #1 is more dry. I taste #1 and it is just as fresh and malty as I had hoped. Not overwhelmingly powerful but a quite perfect whisky. Deanston is a bit sweeter, which comes with a hint of bitterness. I prefer #1.

#1 vs Old Pulteney 18: Old Pulteney slightly darker. #1 a bit more sublte, malty, on the nose. Old Pulteney smells a bit artifical now. I taste Old Pulteney, soft, nice complex and it lingers. #1 is a bit more light, but so flawless. There is more flavour in Old Pulteney though, #1 has less to offer. I prefer Old Pulteney.

#1 vs Hazelburn 10: Very similar color. Hazelburn has a much more raw, sour and rough aroma. #1 is very delicately malty, both on the nose and mouth. Hazelburn is more raw also in the mouth, a bit more of an acquired taste. I prefer #1 here.

#1 vs Glenlivet 18: Glenlivet a bit darker, and more sweet and fruity on the nose. #1 is more dry malty. Glenlivet is soft and balanced, a bit burnt caramel with some bitterness. #1 is a bit more fresh, maybe oranges, and very classic being less sweet. Back to Glenlivet it is a bit too bitter. #1 wins.

#2: Rather pale, fresh and light on the nose, a bit of fruit a bit of malt, not really pated. 53.8%

#2 vs Ballantines 17: #2 is a bit paler than the quite pale blend. Ballantines is a little sweeter on the nose and tastes good, a slight blend feeling, a bit sweeter than expected. #2 is a bit more dry and I add some more water and that does not reveal too much more flavour. Back to Ballantines and it is rather disappointing, tastes like industrial alcolohol and a bit bitter. #2 wins.

#2 vs Dalwhinnie 15: #2 a little paler. Both have rather delicate aroma. Dalwhinnie a bit more malty and sweet, #2 a bit more fresh. Dalwhinnie tastes clean with some maltiness and some sweetness, and it tasts more like alcohol in a bad way. #2 is a bit more burnt, it tastes more raw. I am a little bit surprised here because I feel both whiskies are surprisingly subtle and delicate, but little margin I prefer #2.

#2 vs Old Pulteney 18: #2 slightly paler. Old Pulteney is more spicey, almost a bit mint, on the nose. #2 is more classic malty. Old Pulteney has soft balanced flavour with a gentle sweetness and some saltiness. #2 is very straight, malty, simple, flawless. #2 is a subtle and gentle whisky, but it makes other whisky taste worse than expected in comparison. #2 wins.

#2 vs Glenlivet Archive 21: Glenlivet is much darker, and has a rich malty quite sweet aroma. #2 is more light malt and caramel. Both color and aroma reveals more red dried fruits in Glenlivet, although it does not dominate. Glenlivet is soft, a bit less heavy than I remember it, with a wide palette of nice flavours ranging from malt to sherry-like fruit, not very peated though. I prefer Glenlivet being a bit more soft and complex.

#3: Very dark in color, more brown than red, with a full fruity aroma and also not so little bourbon. I doubt I have anything so good with so much sherry to taste with.

#3 vs Longmorn 16: #3 much darker. Longmorn has a nice fruity bourbon aroma. #3 is fruitier, more powerful. Longmorn is sweet, caramel in the mouth, hints of bourbon and sherry. #3 is surprisingly conservative in its flavour, a bit burnt sugar without being bitter, a hint of sherry, maybe. Now I start thinking the dark color comes more from age than sherry casks. Back to Longmorn, still good, still easy to enjoy with a quity nutty flavour. I prefer Longmorn, it is fresher, offers me more complexity, although I feel like I am missing something about #3 here.

#3 vs Johnny Walker 18: #3 is darker, and with a slighly more sweet and fruity nose. Johnny Walker a bit lighter. JW has quite much honey first, but with a slightly bitter finish. #3 a bit softer. I kind of feel the grain component in JW. I prefer #3.

#3 vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve: #3 is darker. Glenfiddich has a sweet caramel malty aroma, with hints of bourbon and sherry. #3 is heavier on the nose, a bit more raw. Glenfiddich, a bit minty in the mouth, quite balanced and nice but also a bit chemical. #3 is more solid, like much flavour but no flavours quite stands out, which makes it a bit boring. Not so sure here, I think Solera is in a way more interesting but I think #3 is after all a better and more tasty experience.

#3 vs Dufftown 18: #3 is darker. Dufftown has a kind of fresh, almost flowery, aroma that reminds of the barley it comes from. #3 is more sweet, hints of sherry. I taste Dufftown and it is quite dry, straight, a bit salty, well balanced. I taste #3 and it has some sherry, both for good and bad, and it is a bit thick in the mouth with some bitterness. Dufftown is more of a buffet of speyside flavours, and I think it beats #3.

#3 vs Ballantines 17: Ballantines is much paler, with a fresh light somewhat malty nose. #3 is more sweet and sherry. I taste Ballantines and it has soft maltiness with some blendiness finish. #3 is heavier, more raw and it has more to offer, but with my simple taste I prefer Ballantines.

#4: rather pale with a light spicy malty aroma.

#4 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 special release): Glen Ord a little warmer in color, and a bit more powerful and dirty on the nose. In the mouth Glen Ord is rather classic malty, perhaps a hint of peat. #4 rather dry in the mouth, I add a little water, which results in not so much development. I find #4 is quite similar to Glen Ord but a bit less interesting and flavourful, would not be surprised if it is a single cask becuase I think it could benefit from some more taste components. Glen Ord wins.

#4 vs Glenfarclas 17: Glenfarclas is darker, and has a more light and minty aroma. #4 is a bit heavier. Glenfaclas a bit thin, a bit burnt and bitter, but quite decent. #4 is a bit softer, more caramel and malt. Back to Glenfarclas it is rather chemical. #4 wins.

#4 vs Aberfeldy 16: Aberfeldy darker, and more fruity and sweet on the nose. Aberfeldy is sweet and soft, slightly burnt sugar lingering. #4 is more fresh and malty. #4 is better.

#4 vs Deanston 12: Deanston is darker with a somewhat spicy and minty aroma, also rich and malty. #4 is more clean malty aroma. I taste Deanston and it is a bit sweet, quite soft, a bit bourbon. #4 is a bit saltier and fresher, like more clean and authentic. #4 wins.

#4 vs Ballantines 17: #4 slightly paler, Ballantines more amber. #4 has a maltier, more full bodied and spicy aroma. Ballantines tastes simple and nice, quite soft, a bit on the sweet side. #4 is a bit richer, more genuine in flavour. Back to Ballantines it tastes blend. #4 wins.

#4 vs Dufftown 18: Dufftown darker in color, and a bit spicier on the nose. Dufftown is spicy in the mouth as well, a bit sweet, classic malt. #4 is more dry: less to offer but more perfection than Dufftown. I like #4 better, really close now.

#5: quite dark in color, quite sweet and rather fruit on the nose, would surpise med if Sherry is not there.

#5 vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera: #5 a bit darker. Glenfiddich is more classic Speyside, #5 is more fruity and sweet. Tasting #5, nice rich soft sherry flavour (I suppose it is Sherry now, and not any other desert wine). Glenfiddich is more like white wine on the nose now, a bit more nut and caramel in the mouth. #5 has a nice saltiness. Another round and, well #5 is better. I am not such a super-fan of very sweet/sherry whisky, but this is nice, more so than Glenfiddich.

#5 vs Longmorn 16: Very similar color, if anyone is darker it is #5, and #5 has a more sweet (and sour) sherry aroma. I taste #5 and it has a pretty perfect sherry flavour, and it is soft, the sherry is a bit dominant though. Longmorn is more bourbon, vanilla, honey, also soft – even softer actually – and very nice. I understand Sherry-fans would perhaps disagree, but I prefer the more classic scotch whisky Longmorn, and I think it has more complexity.

#6: More pale than dark but not so pale, fresh fruity aroma with some malt. More malt and caramel after a while.

#6 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 special release): #6 is slightly paler. Glen Ord has a more dirty, oily, leathery aroma, #6 more delicate. I taste #6 and it has a very pure nice malty flavour, a bit sweet. Glen Ord is rougher (I already wrote dirt and oil). You can probably argue that Glen Ord is more complex and has more to offer, but to me #6 tastes better.

#6 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Very similar color. Springbank smells a bit of raw wood, a bit sour. #6 is more delicate, soft and sweet. #6 tastes very classic, a bit nutty, some caramel, some vanilla, light and fresh. Springbank tastes younger, as in more raw wood, also quite light, more experimental. My guess is that #6 is some rather old speyside (single cask) and as such it has more balance. #6 wins.

#6 vs Imperial 21: Imperial is a little darker, with a compex somewhat oil, malty and fruity aroma. #6 is more gentle on the nose, more caramel. I water both down. #6 is soft, close to perfection, Imperial more of an acquired taste. I prefer #6.

#6 vs Glenlivet 21 Archive: #6 very much paler. Glenlivet has a rich sweet dark fruit aroma. #6 is also fruity, not quite the green one but a bit fresher. Tasting Glenlivet it has a rich complexity and it is very soft (could be a bit rougher). #6 is a bit more pure (I kind of hope it is a high quality single cask) and Glenlivet tastes more manufactured. I prefer #6.

#6 vs Glenmorangie 19: Glenmorangie is darker, with a malty caramel aroma. #6 is similar, a bit more more dry and fresh. I taste Glenmorangie, soft, a bit sweet, honey, caramel vanilla. #6 is a bit more thin, not as soft and complex. Glenmorangie wins.

Unknown #1

This is a pale light whisky with a slightly alcoholic aroma. It makes me think of Deanston 15 Organic.

Unknown #1 vs Deanston 15 Organic: Quite similar pale color, Deanston is slightly less pale, and slightly more aroma (not necessarily a good thing). Deanston is a light subtle whisky with some fresh fruitiness a slight maltiness. Unknown is arguably even more subtle, fruity but with no maltiness. I taste Unknown (not knowing the ABV) and it is a quite raw and strong on the tongue leaving very little impression in the rest of the mouth, some lingering bitterness. Deanston has some maltiness, grain, caramel. Back to #1 I suspect it is very young and I add a bit water to see if anything is revealed. Absolutely no peat (in either of them), and really no cask flavour at all in Unknown #1. Deanston wins.

Unknown #1 vs Johnny Walker Red Label: JW is much darker (probably artificial coloring). On the nose Johnny Walker has a light peated and slightly dirty aroma, not fruity at all. Unknown #1 is much more subtle, with a light fruitiness, perhaps. Red Label has the flavour of an oily speyside malt with some peat, just very diluted, and quite soft of course. Unknown is not quite so soft more burning, but less flavour. JW wins.

Unknown #1 vs J&B: A bit more color in J&B, unknown being pale almost pinkish. J&B almost only smells alcohol, I have a hard time pick anything else out. Unknown has a bit more sweetness and a little body to it, J&B, even less so. I taste J&B and there is some maltiness and some salt there. Over to Unknown it is probably stronger and burns more, that is the primary sensation. With some water, well there is some softness and oiliness, not just pure vodka. J&B is softer, more oily and tastier. J&B wins.

Unknown #1 vs Talisman: Talisman slightly darker and Unknown slightly more pink, both very pale. Unknown has a slightly thicker and oilier aroma, Talisman very little so. Tasting Talisman it actually has a nasty bitter chemical flavour, that Unknown does not have. Unknown #1 wins, by very little margin.

Conclusion: I do not know what Unknown #1. A cheap scotch blend is very possible.

Ranking Whisky (theory)

I have been tasting whisky for a while, systematically, in order to make a (personal) ranking based on my preference and experience. How do I do it?

Head to head

I decided based on experience that tasting one whisky and giving it a score does not work for me. I can like something better one day and worse another day. And what I have eaten or drunk before matters much. The popular 1-100 scale (where 1-60 is rarely used at all) is not what I want to use.

Also based on experience, I find it very hard to compare 4-5 whiskies at the same time. I simply find it hard to keep them all in my head and make any sense of it.

So I decided that when I test whisky, and rank whisky, I drink them two and two, head to head. This is not so strange, it happens in many sports that two teams or players compete against each other, and in the end there is a ranking.

Many ranking systems (tennis) promote participation and punish absence. You can not be #1 in Tennis if you have not played a game in two years. However, for my purposes, if I find 5cl of an excellent whisky, it goes to the top and it should remain in the top. It is not supposed to get punished because I am out of it.

So I developed a ranking system based on the above principles and findings.

A strong assumption

Lets say I have three whiskies: Perth, Dundee and Stirling (I will use made up names for examples). I have tested twice:

  • Perth beats Dundee
  • Dundee beats Stirling

Is it then possible to make a third tasting and find that

  • Stirling beats Perth?
  • Dundee beats Perth?

In sports this can obviously happen. But I have decided that for my purposes this will never happen. How do I know? I simply never test two whiskies that already have a decided ranking order.

It is not obvious that this is a good (true) assumption. However, it is an assumption that has worked good for me – perhaps better than I expected from the beginning. However I have been making separate ranking lists for peated and unpeated whiskies.


Perth beats Dundee, and we have:

  1. Perth
  2. Dundee

Dundee beats Stirling, and we have

  1. Perth
  2. Dundee
  3. Stirling

Glasgow beats Stirling and it gets more complicated

  1. Perth
  2. Dundee
  3. Glasgow (could have been #1 or #2, but keep close to Stirling)
  4. Stirling

Glasgow beats Perth, and we have

  1. Glasgow
  2. Perth
  3. Dundee
  4. Stirling

Glasgow beats Edinburgh, and Edinburgh beats Stirling, and we have

  1. Glasgow
  2. Perth
  3. Edinburgh (could have been – and can become – #2 or #4 – but keep it in the middle for now)
  4. Dundee
  5. Stirling

In principle, this is all there is to it. If I get a new cheap blend I probably try it against Stirling. If it loses to Stirling it is now #6. If it wins to Stirling I compare it against a better whisky “hoping” it will lose, and I get an interval. Lets say that Aberdeen beats Stirling and loses to Perth, I would get something like

  1. Glasgow
  2. Perth (could be anywhere from #2 to #4)
  3. Edinburgh (could be anywhere from #2 to #5)
  4. Dundee (could be anywhere from #3 to #5)
  5. Aberdeen (could be anywhere from #3 to #5)
  6. Stirling

This is a ranking based on the information I have. Aberdeen may beat Edinburgh, or not. At this point, this is far from obvious or trivial. If you look through the “tastings” above one by one you shall find that all the results are respected in the list. However, I have written a little computer program to help with the ranking.

Data and Code

The data of the above tastings is represented as JavaScript code as this (ignore price for now):

exports.whiskies = () => { return [{
   name  : 'Perth',  // 0
   win   : [1,5],
   price : 3.0
   name  : 'Dundee', // #1
   win   : [2],
   price : 2.0
   name  : 'Stirling', // #2
   win   : [],
   price : 2.5
   name  : 'Glasgow',  // #3
   win   : [0,2,4],
   price : 3.5
   name  : 'Edinburgh',  // #4
   win   : [2,5],
   price : 4.0
   name  : 'Aberdeen',  // #5
   win   : [2],
   price : 3.0

This should be understood as (for example) Aberdeen is #5 in the list, it has beaten only one whisky, #2 Stirling. And if you browse through the data you can see that both Perth and Edinburgh has beaten #5 (Aberdeen). As I test more whiskies I just add them to the end of the list, and add more entries in the “win”-lists.

Let us say I get a great whisky, Port Ellen, I try it against the best of the list (Glasgow) and it wins. Then I add to the end of the list:

   name  : 'Port Ellen',  // #6
   win   : [3],
   price : 5.0

Get Ranking

I can run my program like this:

Documents/Programming/whisky$ node whisky.js example.js -r
   1   6-0      1-0       :2   100%  Port Ellen
   2   5-1      3-1      1:3   100%  Glasgow
   3   3-2      2-1      2:5    86%  Perth
   4   2-2      2-1      2:6    71%  Edinburgh
   5   1-3      1-1      3:7    71%  Dundee
   6   1-4      1-2      4:7    86%  Aberdeen
   7   0-6      0-4      6:    100%  Stirling

So the output columns are:

  1. Rank
  2. Extended won and lost tastings. Port Ellen has just beaten Glasgow. But Glasgow has beaten 5 whiskies (using the same extended logic), so Port Ellen is considered to have beaten all those 5 plus Glasgow, which makes it 6.
  3. Won and Lost tastings
  4. Nearest whiskies in the list that it has lost against and won against
  5. 100% means that it won and lost against it neighbors. A lower value means that the nearest winners and losers are more far away. So a low value is an indication that this whisky needs to be tested more.
  6. Name of whisky

Get Suggestions

The program can suggest what I should try next:

Documents/Programming/whisky$ node whisky.js example.js -s
Dundee     - Edinburgh   1 77%
Edinburgh  - Perth       1 66%
Aberdeen   - Dundee      1 66%

Without going into details, this indicates that testing Dundee vs Edinburgh will be the most useful thing to stabilize the list. As you see, even though Port Ellen is just tested once it gets no suggestions. It will remain like that until some (new, not on the list) whisky beats Glasgow. As long as I only test whiskies from this suggested list I will not end up with circles of A beats B beats C beats A.


I do not consider price when I compare whiskies. Nevertheless it is interesting to compare value for money. How do you make sense of adding prices to a list of whiskies given different currencies, markets, stores, auction prices, bottling sizes and cask strength whiskies? Well, it is not going to be exact, but I came up with a Johnny Walker equivalent:

  1. Red Label
  2. Black Label
  3. Gold Label
  4. 18 YO (Platinum Label)
  5. Blue Label
  6. The most expensive whisky in my collection

So when set my price value (1.0 to 6.0) for any whisky, I try to compensate for ABV and bottle size, and then give it a price value from the table above. So if Black Label is $30 and Gold Label is $50, a $40 whisky will get a price of 2.5.

I can run my program:

Documents/Programming/whisky$ node whisky.js example.js -v
   1  1.303  3.500     75  Glasgow
   2  1.267  3.000     50  Perth
   3  1.167  2.000     30  Dundee
   4  1.143  5.000    200  Port Ellen
   5  0.917  4.000    100  Edinburgh
   6  0.767  3.000     50  Aberdeen
   7  0.667  2.500     40  Stirling

The columns are:

  1. Ranking in value for money
  2. A value for money quote
  3. The price value in JW-scale
  4. The price in $ based on the JS-scale
  5. Name of whisky

Finally I can do a price-quality-plot:

Documents/Programming/whisky$ node whisky.js example.js -c
 |                                        .
 |                    .                    
 |                                  .      
 |       .                   .             
 P .                                       
 I              .                          
  ===== QUALITY ==== correlation : 0.7373 ==================

This obviously makes more sense with more than 7 whiskies.


For anyone interested in running this code themselves here are download links.

  • whisky.js (run this with node.js on the command line)
  • example.js (data file with above 7 fake whiskies)
  • peat.js (data file with my peated list 2021-05-01)
  • std.js (data file with my standard list 2021-05-01)

Do not expect my data files to be regularly updated. The price data is a quite new feature so some prices may be quite off and I am considering to remove prices entirely for whisky that can not be bought or where price is not known.

Final words

I keep working on the ranking (testing more whiskies) and sometimes improving the ranking program.

I am obviously thinking about making this available for other people (you) in a simple way. I am not sure how to do it though. I think it should be a web page. But I do not know if you should:

  • enter your tastings in my webpage and save it there
  • enter your tastings in an Excel-sheet or something, and upload it to my page just when you want to run it

Perhaps there is something even smarter?

Let me know if you would like me to make this available in some other way than just sharing the source code above (which obviously mostly appeals to programmers).

Tasting Jack Daniels

(also check out my full whisky tasting list)

I got a miniature kit with 5 different Jack Daniels whiskies that I decided to try head to head. This is what I arrived at, best to worst:

  1. Gentleman Jack
  2. Single Barrel Select
  3. Old No 7
  4. Honey (not a whiskey, but a liqeur)
  5. Fire (not a whiskey, but a liqeur)

First Round

In the first round i blind taste.

A (Tennessee Honey) vs B (Tennesse Fire)
Color: A is slighty darker and more reddish
Nose: B has a very funny aroma, cinnamon buns before they go into the oven, a lot of yeast. A is more elegant, also a bit like some pastry, some liquer. None have a very typical bourbon aroma.
Mouth: A is very sweet, soft, more like a punch than a whisky but nothing bad about it. B is perhaps even sweeter, with very much cinnamon.
Winner: I prefer A.

C (Gentalman Jack) vs D (Singel Barrel Select)
Color: D is darker, really dark, but also C is quite dark.
Nose: C has a quite typical bourbon aroma with some glue to it. D is quite similar, a bit more sharp on the nose.
Mouth: C also has a quite typical bourbon flavour, not very sweet or rich though. D tastes more glue than C. I find C has more flavour and a bit softer.
Winner: I prefer C

Second Round

Bronze match: Tennessee Fire vs Single Barrel Select
Color: Single Barrel Select is much darker
Nose: Fire smells cinnamon, Singel Barrel smells bourbon.
Mouth: Fire is mostly very sweet, now Single Barrel has a very nice bourbon flavour.
Winner: Single Barrel Select

Gold Match: Tennessee Honey vs Gentelman Jack
Color: Very similar, both rather dark amber.
Nose: Honey is much soft with a liqeur-like aroma, Gentleman Jack like try bourbon.
Mouth: A is very sweet, very soft, actually a bit like honey. Gentleman Jack is a quite easy to enjoy bourbon.
Winner: I prefer Gentelman Jack, but it is perhaps because I like bourbon and I am expecting a bourbon. Tennessee Honey is a bit ood and sweet to me.

Jack Daniels Old No 7

I also got a Jack Daniels Old No 7, lets see how it competes.

#7 vs Tennessee Honey
Color: Similar color, Honey slightly paler.
Nose: #7 a bit more bourbon, Honey softer.
Mouth: Well, #7 tastes just like a bourbon, Honeys is mostly sweet.
Winner: I prefer #7, it is more like whiskey and bourbon to me.

#7 vs Single Barrel Select
Color: Single Barrel Select slightly darker.
Nose: #7 a bit richer and softer, Single Barrel Select a little bit more kick and perhaps less like glue.
Mouth: Quite similar, Single Barrel Select has a more dry, natural and delicate flavour: #7 is more powerful but with more odd chemical notes.
Winner: I prefer Single Barrel Select.

Other Whiskies

Gentleman Jack vs Knob Creek
Color: Knob Creek is darker.
Nose: Gentleman Jack is more soft.
Mouth: Know Creek is a more raw and rough experience. Gentleman Jack is really a Gentleman, surprisingly soft and balanced for a bourbon.
Winner: I prefer Gentleman Jack.

Single Barrel Select vs Knob Creek
Color: Similar
Nose: Similar, very similar.
Mouth: Similar, Single Barrel Select is softer and more elegant, Know Creek more raw.
Winner: Singel Barrel Select

Gentleman Jack vs Buffalo Trace
Color: Gentleman Jack perhaps a bit darker. Or not.
Nose: Both have a classic nice bourbon aroma. Buffalo Trace slightly softer and sweeter.
Mouth: Buffalo Trace has an elegant easy to enjoy bourbon flavour. Gentleman Jack a bit more bitter and raw.
Winner: Buffalo Trace wins.

Gentleman Jack vs Jameson Black Barrel
Color: Similar.
Nose: Gentleman Jack has a spicy bourbon aroma. Black Barrel is a bit thick.
Mouth: A small sip of Black Barrel is nice, fruity and soft. A small sip of Gentleman Jack is a bit rougher and more dry. I finish Gentleman Jack and it is a nice bourbon experience, not very sweet a and a little sour. I finish Jameson and it is a more fruity experience.
Winner: Jameson wins.

Single Barrel Select vs Bushmills 10
Color: Single Barrel Select is more amber and darker compared to Bushmills.
Nose: Busmills light and dry, Single Barrel Select has powerful bourbon aroma.
Taste: Bushmills tastes fine, somewhat sweet, balanced. Single Barrel Select is more powerful. On the down side Bushmills is a little bitter, and Jack Daniels a little perfume.
Winner: Bushmills wins.

Gentleman Jack vs Bushmills 10
Color: Gentleman Jack is more dark.
Nose: Bushmill is gently sweet, honey, and a bit of herbs. Gentleman Jack has a rich bourbon aroma, sweet and soft, promising.
Taste: Bushmill has a classic Irish whisky flavour, not very rich or complex, but soft and sweet. Gentleman Jack, well, bourbon is an acquired taste and even though it is quite soft it is a bit chemical and bitter. Back to Bushmills, not remarkable but it tastes good.
Winner: This is difficult, I need to think. I prefer Bushmills.

Testing Paul John whisky

First check out my general whisky tasting list.

I got a Paul John whisky tasting kit. There are five whiskies, one is peated, so I will start with the other four, here listed in preference order

  1. Edited
  2. Bold
  3. Classic Select (cask strength)
  4. Brilliance

I later got a sample of Paul John Nirvana that I will also test below.

Brilliance vs Edited
Color: Edited is darker, I would say both are quite pale
Nose: I like brilliance, fresh and malty perhaps with sweet citrus to it. Edited is a different story: leather, oil and dirt, not bad at all, but more challenging.
Mouth: Brilliance tastes very young, a bit raw wood and strange sweetness. Also Edited tastes quite much wood, quite light compared to what I expected after smelling it.
Winner: Very comparable quality, I pick Edited.

Bold vs Classic Select
Color: Classic Select is darker, also after being diluted
Nose: Bold is a bit leather, sweet, quite subtle, somthing perhaps tropical about it. Classic select, at first I was confused but it has a more classic bourbon aroma, with something young/sour about it.
Mouth: Bold taste as it smells, young wood and leather. It has a long lingering woody/metallic taste. Classic select is clearly sour in the mouth (I cant write fresh).
Winner: Bold wins.

Edited vs Bold (for Gold)
Color: Very similar
Nose: Bold is heavier, young wood, not necessarily a good thing. Edited is more classic (scotch). Quite similar.
Mouth: Both tastes decent but quite immature, Edited is the more soft and sophisticated one.
Winner: Edited.

Brilliance vs Classic Select (for Bronze)
Color: Classic Select is darker.
Nose: Brilliance very light, fruity like citrus with something unusual tropical about it. Classic Select more sweet, and back to Brilliance it is more raw/wood.
Mouth: Quite much bourbon in Classic Select now, Brilliance is unrefined wood and fruit.
Winner: Classic Select

Paul John vs Other Whisky

Bold vs Johnny Walker Gold
Color: JW darker
Nose: JW is more mellow and oily, Bold more tropical/raw wood and spicy
Mouth: Bold is more rough, young, fruity. JW sweeter, richer, softer and more complex.
Winner: JW wins.

Brilliance vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky
Color: Brilliance is darker
Nose: Brilliance has a woody, sour aroma (with good intentions some citrus fruit). Mackmyra is a little sweeter, more honey, and less agressively woody.
Mouth: Brilliance is really sour, with a dry wood lingering. Mackmyra a bit softer but also more bitter.
Winner: These are bad in different ways, with a bit of doubt, I prefer Paul John Brillance.

Edited vs Johnny Walker Gold
Color: JW is darker
Nose: JW is more oily, leather and dirt. Paul John is lighter, more sour (not writing fresh) and raw wood.
Mouth: Edited is quite classic malt whisky, a bit raw. JW a bit chemical and odd-tasting.
Winner: With little margin, Paul John Edited wins.

Edited vs Glenfiddich 12
Color: Same color
Nose: Glenfiddich is more dry, salty and malty. Edited is more sour raw wood.
Mouth: Glenfiddich is more soft and mature. Edited is more rough, unrefined.
Winner: Glenfiddich 12.

Classic Select vs Motörhead
Color: Motörhead is darker
Nose: Both a bit on the fruity and sweet side. Motörhead more soft and subtle, John Paul more raw wood.
Mouth: Motörhead quite sweet, soft and gentle in flavour, John Paul a little bit more kick, and more odd and woody. I add more water to it.
Winner: I prefer Motörhead: more classic and soft.

Brilliance vs Bushmills Original
Color: Similar, both pale
Nose: Bushmills lighter, Brilliance more terpentine.
Mouth: Bushmills more delicate and complex. Brilliance more sour and raw.
Winner: I prefer Bushmills.

Brilliance vs Kilkerran 8YO
Color: Kilkerran slightly darker
Nose: Kilkerran more red-fruit sweet and raw, Brilliance more green-fruit and soft
Mouth: Brilliance rather thin, a bit metallic and artificial. Kilkerran softer and thicker, but with the old margarine finish.
Winner: I prefer Brilliance.

Bold vs Makers Mark
Color: Markers Mark much darker
Nose: Makers Mark is sweeter, perhaps even lighter. Bold is a bit dirtier and oilier.
Mouth: Makers Mark has a strong bourbon character and at least I need water with it. Bold is quite classic in comparison. Back to Makers mark it is softer with water but still this strong bourbon flavour is an aqcuired taste (and it tastes like glue).
Winner: Bold is better.

Classic Select vs Crown Royal Rye
Color: Same
Nose: Crown Royal has a sweet fruity aroma with some flowers. Classic select is a dirtier, woodier experience.
Mouth: Crown Royal definitely has a bourbon flavour, spiced with flowers and fruits. Paul John is rougher and more tropical wood.
Winner: Crown Royal

Bold vs Jim Beam Rye
Color: Jim Beam slightly darker.
Nose: Paul John has a classic, somewhat oily, almost peated aroma. Jim Beam is bourbon, vanilla.
Mouth: Paul John has a quite classic flavour as well, a bit thin, sharp and raw. Jim Beam is very spicy in its bourbon way. In comparison Paul John is rather soft.
Winner: Paul John wins.

Bold vs Bushmills 10
Color: Bushmills a little paler
Nose: Bushmills is light fruits, like green pears. Paul John really smells heavy and solid.
Mouth: Bushmills light and soft in flavour, flawless but without much of an impression. Paul John is heavier, more of an acquired taste.
Winner: Paul John

Edited vs Chivas Regal 12
Color: Similar
Nose: Chivas Regal is lighter, best thing I can write is classic. Edited dominated by young wood, a bit tropical.
Mouth: Chivas is very classic and balanced. Edited has a little bit more kick, more dry young wood and more character. After Edited, there is something cheap blend about Chivas.
Winner: Chivas Regal (Paul John is too odd to me)

Edited vs Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid)
Color: Glenallachie much darker
Nose: Glenallachie is soft and like wine. Edited is dirtier, more leather and oil.
Mouth: Glenallachie tastes like it has a strong sherry origin, Paul John is more raw wood with a tropical touch.
Winner: I prefer Glenallachie

Edited vs Glen Moray
Color: Similar, Glen Moray slightly paler
Nose: Glen Moray quite light, fruity with some hay. PJ is heavier, more leather and tropical notes.
Mouth: Glen Moray is fresh, light, with some green fruits and a bit of maltiness. Edited is more powerful, with this quite raw woody flavour.
Winner: Difficult, I could argue both ways. Edited is more powerful, more interesting, but I don’t quite like it very much. Glen Moray is more plain and boring, but it does its simple light single malt very nicely. I’d rather have a Glen Moray.

Nirvana vs Glenlivet 16 Nadurra
Color: Both rather pale classic malt color, Nadurra slightly paler
Nose: Nadurra a bit sweeter and heavier, Nirvana lighter with some slighly unnatural wood notes
Mouth: Nirvana is quite fresh, a hint of young wood, and a bit burnt. Nadurra has a richer softer more balanced and pleasant flavour.
Winner: Glenlivet wins.

Nirvana vs Jameson
Color: Similar, Jameson perhaps a bit darker
Nose: Jameson quite thin, smelling alcohol. Nirvana has more of a fine whisky aroma.
Mouth: Again, Jameson a bit thin and tasting pure alcohol. Nirvana richer and nicer.
Winner: Nirvana wins.

Nirvana vs Johnny Walker Gold Label
Color: Johnny Walker is artificially colored and darker
Nose: Johnny Walker has a soft, mellow, somewhat dirty almost peated nose. Nirvana is more light and fresh.
Mouth: Johnny Walker is like velvet soft in the mouth, but with a smoke-like heavy not too tasty flavour. Nirvana is more pure, raw, light and fresh.
Winner: Both kind of lack quality but in different ways. I would recommend none of them for a beginner, but I think Nirvana is more interesting and refershing, so Nirvana wins.

Nirvana vs Glenfarclas 12
Color: Glenfarclas is a bit darker
Nose: Glenfarclas has a balanced malty aroma with some creaminess in it. Nirvana has some odd wood smell.
Mouth: Glenfarclas is salty, refreshing, malty, lingering surprisingly long but a little bit bitter. Nirvana is less complex, less classic quality malt.
Winner: Glenfarclas

Nirvana vs Glendronach Batch 9
Color: Unsurprisingly Glendronach is darker, also after adding water to the cask strength whisky.
Nose: Glendronach is fruity sherry, but kind of nothing else. Nirvana very light in comparison.
Mouth: Glendronach is quite sweet, kind of thick and surprisingly balanced even though it is not so complex. Nirvana, it has a bitter odd wood flavour.
Winner: You really need to hate sherry malts to not favour Glendronach.

Nirvana vs Glenmorangie Lasanta
Color: similar
Nose: Both quite thin. Lasanta a bit softer and sweeter.
Mouth: Lasanta, not much of Sherry, and not many nice flavours at all, a bit bitter. Nirvana is more classic, a bit sweet, with an odd wood finish.
Winner: Nirvana

Nirvana vs Smögen Dante
Color: Smögen slightly paler
Nose: Dante is a bit peated, Nirvana is more delicate.
Mouth: Nirvana is more classic with its odd wood finish, Smögen is more like a soft peated whisky.
Winner: Smögen has more quality.

Classic Select vs Hudson Four Grain Bourbon
Color: Both rather dark, Hudson darker
Nose: PJ some (slightly chemical) fruitiness. Hudson very much vanilla and caramel.
Mouth: PJ a bit strong for my taste, a bit raw, quite sweet. Hudson, boubon, very perfumic at first, somewhat bitter finish. PJ tastes quite far away from what I think of when I think of whisky and it has some rather raw woody notes.
Winner: Both are a bit hard to enjoy, Hudson wins because it is an interesting bourbon, PJ is just odd.

Paul John Peated Select Cask

I think what I have experienced as raw wood in a bad way for unpeated Paul Johns work out better with the peated one.

PJ vs Bowmore 12
Color: PJ a little paler, and also cask strength.
Nose: PJ has a soft, fruity peated aroma, quite pleasant. Bowmore a bit more oily and malty.
Mouth: I try PJ first at cask strength and it is distinctively peated. I try Bowmore and there is something unatural chemical about it, and I simply dont find it very tasty. Paul John is more fresh and coherent.
Winner: Paul John.

PJ vs Laphroaig 10
Color: Similar, Laphroaig perhaps slightly darker.
Nose: Laphroaig is more dry, PJ more fruity.
Mouth: Laphroaig has a rather smooth and dry, obviously dominated by peatiness. PJ is less integrated, it has a sweet – not bad – experience which kind of competes with the peat. PJ is interesting and not bad, but Laphroaig is more rich, complex and lingering.
Winner: Laphroaig

PJ vs Mackmyra Reserve Svensk Ek Extra Rök
Color: Mackmyra is much darker
Nose: Mackmyra is more deep, rich and powerful. Paul John is more fruity. Both smells a bit like a dry piece of wood getting burnt in a machine saw. Mackmyra reminds more of a sweet wine and Paul John is more odd.
Mouth: PJ (almost at cask strength) is rather raw with some peat. Mackmyra also raw, perhaps more smoke than peat, and a bit sweeter. PJ is lighter and its flavour disappears a bit in comparison with Mackmyra. Mackmyra on the other hand keeps needing more water. With more water Paul John has a more burnt (rather than raw) flavour, a quite straight experience but not too impressive. Mackmyra is more rich, complex, with more woody notes and it lingers longer.
Winner: Mackmyra

PJ vs Hven Tychos Star
Color: Hven is darker
Nose: Hven is a bit softer, PJ is a bit more woody in a sweet burnt way
Mouth: Hven is a bit classic, with some sour peat and some bitterness. Paul John is sweeter and fresher.
Winner: Paul John

PJ vs Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated
Color: Similar
Nose: Very different, Bunnahabhain smells old closet and Paul John like a freshly built piece of furniture.
Mouth: Bunnahabhain is smoth, rich, a bit salty and lingering. Paul John is rather raw and thin.
Winner: Bunnahabhain

PJ vs Kilchoman UK Small Batch
Color: Paul John a little darker.
Nose: Kilchoman has a very classic Islay aroma, perhaps with some extra sweetness (from its sherry and madeira maturing). Paul John is more different, definitely less peated, a bit tropical… something I can’t quite define almost like plastic or something.
Mouth: Quite fine peated aroma in Paul John, a bit sour and odd. Kilchoman is softer, a bit more sweet, with more classic peat flavour.
Winner: Kilchoman.

PJ vs Bowmore 15
Color: Bowmore 15 (Darkest) is darker.
Nose: Paul John is richer, mostly this tropical odd aroma being dominant. None is more peated than the other.
Mouth: Bowmore is quite classic, slightly peated. Paul John a bit fresher, and in the mouth this tropical note is not so dominant (although on a final, second bigger mouth, it is there). Bowmore has a less rich, more classic aroma, but there is something unsatisfying about the sulphur finish.
Winner: Paul John

Benromach: 7 wood finishes

I got the opportunity to try 7 different Benromach, all quite young, matured (finished) on different types of wood and casks. This is the result, from best to worst.

  1. PX Wood: 2002-2010
  2. Port Wood: 2000-2012
  3. Madeira Wood: -2008 (7YO+)
  4. Sassicaria Wood: 2002-2009
  5. Hermitage Wood: 2001-2010
  6. Pago Capellanes Picay Wood: 2002-2009
  7. Tokaji Wood: -2006 (5YO+)

In conclusion I can say I am quite unimpressed. All were quite thin in flavour and many had a significant taste of sulphur. There was little classic malty character overall. I also note that the commonly used casks/finishes ended up winning, and the more odd woods failing.

I actually blind tested these whiskies.

First round

In the first round I randomly picked 3 pairs of whisky (the last 7th bottle did not participate in the first round). This is the quarter finals.

Hermitage vs Port
Color: Same color.
Nose: Hermitage is more sweet and like desert wine. Port is less sweet and not peaty, but a hint in that direction. Mouth: Both tastes a bit of sulphur. Hermitage is thin, not very nice. The Port could pass as a light sherry matured whisky, it is richer.
Winner: Port.

Madeira vs Tokaji
Color: Madeira little darker.
Nose: Madeira is sweet classic sherry, a bit thin. Tokaji is thin, a bit fruity and a bit sour.
Mouth: Madeira is sweet, soft with a bit of caramel. Tokaji has much sulphur, quite dry wood and sour.
Winner: Madeira.

Sassicaria vs Pago Capellanes Picay
Color: Pago C a little darker.
Nose: Sassicaria smells wine in an elegant way, a little malty. Pago C has a woody sour smell.
Taste: Sassicaria is soft, balanced with a hint of sulphur. Pago C has much sulphur and is a bit rough wood.
Winner: Sassicaria.

Round 2

In the second round I let the 3 winners and the untested (PX Wood, by chance) whisky compete in semi finals. I randomly picked the two matches and blind tested.

PX vs Sassicaria
Color: Perhaps PX is slightly more pale.
Nose: PX has a wine/fruit aroma with a hint of sulphur. Sassicaria a bit sweeter and a bit malty.
Mouth: Both have some sulphur. I find PX a little fruity and salty, while Sassicaria is more dull.
Winner: PX

Madeira vs Port
Color: Port is darker
Nose: Both have an elegant wine and fruit aroma. Madeira a bit softer.
Mouth: Port is balanced with raisin and caramels, hint of sulphur. Madeira is lighter, more balanced and a little bit more rough.
Winner: Port.

I also randomly picked 2 of the 3 losers from round 1 and did a blind test between them.

Hermitage vs Pago Capellanes Picay
Color: Hermitage a bit paler.
Nose: Hermitage has en elegant wine aroma. Pago C is rougher with much sulphur.
Mouth: Hermitage has somewhat malty and balanced flavour, with some sulphur. With water it becomes quite decent but rather dull. Pago C has much sulphur and tastes immature. It is softer with more water, but still not good.
Winner: Hermitage.

Round 3

In round 3 we have the final, the game for 3rd place, and the game for (avoiding) last place.

Tokaji vs Pago Capellanes Picay (the two worst)
Color: Tokaji slightly paler
Nose: Tokaji sour and sulphur. Pago C more mellow.
Mouth: Tokaji mostly tastes sulphur and is disgusting. Pago C is somewhat softer, also mostly sulphur.
Winner: Pago C (I wasted most of both in the sink after deciding the winner)

Sassicaria vs Madeira (for the Bronze – I thought, see below)
Color: Similar
Nose: Sassicaria is like dry wine. Madeira is more fruity and sweet.
Mouth: Sassicaria has much sulphur, also some malty caramel. Madeira is more balanced with less sulphur.
Winner: Madeira

Port vs PX (for the Gold)
Color: Port is darker
Nose: Port smells raisins and little caramel. PX more balanced wine.
Mouth: Port is thin, with a hint of sulphur, but quite good. PX is caramel, little malt, and a hint of sulphur.
Winner: PX (with small margin)

Extra Round

I had to settle position 3 and 4. I blind tasted these two.

Madeira vs Hermitage
Color: Hermitage slightly darker
Nose: Some more fruitiness in Madeira, Hermitage more powerful, not necessarily a good thing.
Mouth: Madeira is with some reservatation a decently tasty whisky. Hermitage is a sulphur stinking rought mess.
Winner: Madeira (as already predicted in the original Bronze match).

Other Whisky

I will compare these 7 whiskies to other whisky. Check out my full head to head whisky list.

Benromach PX vs Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
Color: Glenmorangie is darker.
Nose: Glenmorangie is fruitier, like peach or something sweet, and more rich and soft. Benromach more like a sherry whisky and with a hint of sulphur.
Mouth: Benromach is not exactly soft and rich, but somewhat balanced, with a hint of sulphur. Glenmorangie is more sweet, more soft, less sulphur. However, they are quite similar.
Winner: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban.

Benromach Madeira vs Bushmills Banyuls
Color: Banyuls is darker.
Nose: Banyuls is sweeter, more bourbon. Benromach is more wine and sour.
Mouth: Bushmills richer, sweeter and more powerful. Benromach rather thin and dry in comparison. Bushmills, with more flavour, also has more of a lingering sulphur.
Winner: Bushmills Banyuls

Benromach Tokaji vs Grants
Color: Tokaji darker
Nose: Grants smells light malt and vanilla, Benromach something more undefined.
Mouth: Grants tastes light malt and vanilla. Benromach richer, more sweet/sour. Grants is softer, more chemical.
Winner: Grants (never appreciated Grants so much before, but it was quite close)

Benromach Hermitage vs Grants
Color: Hermitage is darker
Nose: Grants more vanilla and malt, Benromach more like sour desert wine.
Mouth: Grants kind of synthetic, Benromach somewhat balanced sweet and fruity.
Winner: Benromach (for more flavour and more interesting, Grants would have been the safe choice if I was offered a drink).

Benromach Tokaji vs J&B:
Color: J&B paler.
Nose: Benromach some undefined sherry fruity character, J&B mostly synthetic.
Mouth: Both tastes like cleaning products. J&B more soft and sweet. Benromach more acid.
Winner: Benromach (there is some interesting whisky flavour in it, but J&B is the safe choice).

Benromach Port vs Bushmills Banyuls
Color: Same (quite dark)
Nose: Benromach quite light fresh wine, after a while a bit more oily. Bushmills caramel and vanilla sweet, more powerful.
Mouth: Benromach quite sweet, a bit rough but also with some quality fruity flavour and sweetness, and a hint of sulphur lingering. Bushmills more sour, rougher, less flavour and more sulphur.
Winner: Benromach

Benromach Port vs Dalmore 10 Vintage:
Color: Very similar (dark)
Nose: Both quite thin, Benromach more raw cask sulphur and fruity, Dalmore more classic but something odd synthetical about it.
Mouth: Dalmore has a thin, sweet classic flavour. Benromach seems raw and unrefined.
Winner: Dalmore

Benromach PX vs Dalmore 10 Vintage
Color: Dalmore slightly darker
Nose: Benromach a bit more raw and fruity, Dalmore more classic yet synthetic
Mouth: Benromach rougher, Dalmore softer. The synthetic thing in Dalmore is probably some funny wood remains.
Winner: Dalmore

Tokaji vs Johnny Walker Red Label
Color: Very similar
Nose: Red Label very light, a bit ethanol. Tokaji more sour (and some sulphur I would say)
Mouth: Red Label soft, not very much flavour, a bit honey. Tokaji is sour, rough and with a significant sulphur lingering.
WInner: I prefer Red Label.

Port vs Paul John Brilliance
Color: Paul John is paler.
Nose: Paul John is quite light, a bit fruity, and not so little raw wood. Benromach Port is more oily and heavy.
Mouth: Paul John is a bit dry in the mouth, yet sweet, some bitterness. Benromach is heavier, more flavour, perhpaps softer but also more sulphur. I add water to both, Benromach gets softer but Paul John gets thinner with more wood.
Winner: Benromach Wins

PX vs Paul John Classic Select
Color: Benromach a little darker
Nose: There is more sherry character (with a hint of sulphur) to PX, and a more woody character to Paul John.
Mouth: Classic Select is more soft (classic even), PX rather rough immature sherry.
Winner: Paul John.

Sassicaria vs Johnny Walker Red Label
Color: JW a little paler, or at least less reddish.
Nose: JW is light, a bit chemical. Sassicaria a bit fruit and a hint of sulphur.
Mouth: JW is soft and tastes reasonably good. Sassicaria has much sulphur.
Winner: JW Red Label.


This are all thin, immature whiskies mostly with sweet flavour. They are not particularly soft, and unfortunately sulphur is the common theme here.

Tasting Johnny Walker

For a while I have been trying whisky head to head, all kinds of whisky, writing notes and making a ranking.

I came to wonder, why is blended whisky not as good as single malt? For the same money of course. I mean, a master blender can make a whisky from all the destilleries he wants following fewer rules, than someone making a single malt. The master blender should be able to produce a better product for the same money.

Is single malt really better? Better value?

I decided to buy a range of Johnny Walker blends: Red, Black, Gold, 18YO and Blue. I will try them head to head against single malts in the same price range (except for JW Red).

Here follows my head to head tasting notes. For the ranking, I am including Johnny Walker in my regular list (linked above).

JW Red Label vs J&B: I do a blind tasting. B is paler than A. B smells just lika a blend and very little of what I appreciate with whisky. A is marginally better, or I am just fooled by the darker color. I taste A, and I dont find it that bad. Over to B, it is worse, definitely. Back to A, it is not good, but it has something. A wins, and i guess it is JW (and it was).

JW Red Label vs Grants: Very similar color, perhaps Red being slightly darker. On the nose, very similar, perhaps Grants smells more like a real whisky. Also, in the mouth, there is something about Grants that convinces me more. Yes, Grants is more like the real thing, and I like it better.

JW Red Label vs Talisman: JW much darker in color. There is something about the aroma that makes me prefer the slightly softer and less chemical RW. Yes, it is the same with taste, JW is somewhat richer and softer and less chemical.

JW Red Label vs Dalmore 11YO Rare Find Oloroso: JW has a paler, nicer, color, and a very light nose. Dalmore is heavier, with some sherry notes. JW mostly smells alcohol. Tasting JW it has immediately a bit peated, it fades away quickly all of it but not bad. Much more flavour in Dalmore, and not so little sherry, but there is really very little about it i like. I prefer Red Label – is has never tasted so good before.

JW Black Label vs Old Pulteney 12: If I buy these today in my store they are exactly the same price. They are both 12YO. I blind taste. One (B) is more dark and red in color, the other (A) a bit more pale and brown. Not so much difference. Putting both to my nose I was sure both were Black Label! So it is not that easy to pick out the single malt. A, the slightly more pale whisky, has a richer, more complex and more soft creamy caramel aroma. B smells more alcohol and I find it harder to identify anything particular. I taste B, it is a bit salty, quite soft, a some bitterness lingering. I taste A, and it has a much more particular flavour: nutty and creamy, less balanced and subtle. Over to B again, it strikes me as somewhat peated and smoked.

I feel very confident that B is Johnny Walker. And I was correct.

Apart from the taste itself, Johnny Walker is a different experience to drink. It is first peated on the nose, it then comes softly into the mouth, grows and fades away. It is all very orchestrated. Old Pulteney is more raw and unrefined, yet soft, but perhaps not so balanced. If someone told me: they are the same price because they are equally good, that would be a bit of a relief actually.

But my rules are; there has to be a winner. And I choose Johnny Walker. First the elegant experience from the first smell to the final lingering taste. But it is also a very solid whisky with character: salty and a hint of peat, not a sweet sellout. Old Pulteney is tasty – definitely, but there is something experimental about it compared to the confidence of Johnny Walker.

I sometimes write “as blend” as a negative about aroma or taste. Whatever that is, Johnny Walker Black Label did not have (much) more of it than Old Pulteney 12.

JW Black Label vs Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured: JW much darker. Deanston has a soft vanilla and bourbon aroma, and JW is a bit thin, on the dry peated side. Deanston also has a soft vanilla and bourbon flavour. Black Label is, not sweet but not so much else. I find this Deanston delicate but thin, and yet the salty/peaty JW is even thinner. I enjoy Deanston more, in every way.

JW Black Label vs JW 18YO: Similar color. Both rather subtle on the nose, Black Label a bit more sour and salty, 18YO a bit more sweet. Same goes for the taste, and first impression is that they are equally complex and rich in flavour. I could say that these are equally good: Black Label is for those who prefer rough salt and peat, and 18YO is for those who prefer sweet flavours. But I think 18YO is better – unless you are looking for peat and roughness.

JW Black Label vs Glenlossie 9YO General Custard: JW very much darker. JW has a salty, slightly peated dry aroma. Glenlossie, light, malty vanilla and a bit pear. Tasting Glenlossie it balanced, a bit subtle, with not so dominant flavours. JW is surprisingly peated, very soft, oily and rich. I think I prefer Black Label.

JW Black Label vs Longrow 13 Red: Very similar color. Longrow has a rough aroma, salt and sea. Over to JW it is a bit candy and kind of sweet. Tasting Longrow a bit peated in a sour way, rich also a little margarine. JW is a bit dull and not quite up to it. Longrow wins.

JW Black Label vs Highland Park 10 Viking Scars: JW darker in color. HP is malty, fresh, light and a bit peated on the nose. JW is more heavy but more subtle. HP tastes good, quite light, dry in the mouth, with some sweetness. JW is soft with distinct peat flavour, but it is more anonymous and uninteresting. HP wins.

JW Black Label vs Nevis Dew Deluxe 12: JW is darker. Nevis Dew is very light and elegant, it requires some time and the nose deep in the glas, but what I find is classic and sweet in a sublte way. Black Label is more powerful, and not so little peat or at least leather, soil or dirt. JW smells more like a blend to me. I taste Nevis and it is not so subtle as I first thought, this is a blend with great balance and a soft caramel flavour. Black Label is a different beast and after they caramel Nevis, it almost tastes like an Islay whisky. This is very even. I almost decided for Nevis Dew, and tasted JW to be quite impressed. After a final big mouth of both it is victory to Black Label.

JW Black Label vs Super Nikka: Very similar color. Surprisingly similar aroma, I remember JW as more peated than I experience it tonight and without that peat the difference is little. Super Nikka slightly sweeter, and JW slightly more peated, salty and sour. Tasting JW it is malty, a bit burnt, slightly peated and a bit thin. Super Nikka is more caramel, vanilla (now I really feel the Nikka Coffey Malt in it), but also a bit bitter. Back to JW, it is a bit flat and uncharming, and sour – probably a side effect of the peat. I appreciate Super Nikka more.

JW Black Label vs Glenlivet 16 Nadurra: Glenlivet much paler. On the nose Glenlivet is fresh, dry, somewhat fruity but not very sweet. Black Label is more oily, slightly peated, more powerful. Glenlivet has a quite flawless, quite malty but quite thin and light flavour. Black Label is softer, richer, but a bit more odd-tasting. I add more and more water the to cask strength Glenlivet, but it kind of does not really open up. You may like superdry and not much flavour or Glenlivet, or you may dislike the oily peated character of JW, then Glenlivet is your pick. But I actually find JW the overall more interesting and tasty whisky.

JW Black Label vs Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo: JW much darker. Glenlossie has a very nice caramel aroma, hint of sherry and bourbon, or not. It is balanced and subtle yet powerful. JW is more peat, sweet and sour, definitely a peated whisky. Tasting findings match the nose. Glenlossie wins.

JW Black Label vs Smögen Dante: JW darker in color. Smögen is a bit more peated and with an unusual sweet smell that I know after I read about it think comes from the sauternes casks. JW is a bit more classic, thick and sweet, on the nose. I taste JW, balanced, not bad, I do not feel the peat much tonight. Smögen is a bit fresher and distinct at first, but it has a finish that to me tastes like too you and raw whisky (but Smögen is actualy 10YO). This is not so easy. Smögen is perhaps more interesting, but I think I would actually prefer a JW.

JW Black Label vs Chivas Regal 18: JW is slightly paler, they are probably both colored to the same perfect color. JW stands out as being more peated and Chivas Regal more bourbon, not just bourbon cask matured, but I actually thought it tasted not so little bourbon. None is perfect, JW is a bit more odd tasting, I prefer Chivas.

JW Black Label vs Bergslagen Gast: JW is darker, and more subtle on the nose. Bergslagen is more peated and with a slighly unusual woody sourness. Black Label is very smooth but with a somewhat industrial alcohol finish. Bergslagen Gast has more flavour, a bit peated and a somewhat salty and sour balanced body and it tastes better.

JW Black Label vs Writers Tears: These are two very good value whiskies. Black Label is more amber color, Writers Tears is more honey-yellow, almost a bit milkish. Very different nose, Writers Tears is sweet and spicy. JW is dirty, leather and a bit peated. Same impression in the mouth, JW is a bit softer more like velvet, Writers Tears ha more kick, even after adding some water. Given that these two blends are so different I could pick either of them, but if I have to pick one, it is Black Label.

JW Gold Label vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve: Again, these are exactly the same price in my store, and I am doing blind tasting. Color is probably identical, perhaps (A) is somewhat darker. A has a soft, sweet aroma, but B perhaps even more so. They are quite similar. Very similar. Well, I find B more fruity and fresh. A is a bit thicker – that could be more Sherry – which someone else could prefer while I dont. From smell and prejudice only, I would guess JW is A. Lets taste. A is surprisingly dry, perhaps not salted but a littler bitter – I would have expected a sweeter flavour. B is more of an explosion of flavours in the mouth, also some lingering bitterness. Back to A, I am not so impressed, a bit metallic in my mouth. And over to B, it is rather soft and fruity. Yes, I am quite confident now, that A has quite much blend character and that it is JW, and B is Glenfiddich. B wins in any case.

And it turns out I was right. Glenfiddich wins.

JW Gold Label vs Balvenie 12 Double Wood: Again, exactly the same price, but no blind test this time. Very similar color. Balvenie has a soft, kind of nutty and malty aroma, while JW has something alcohol/blend and sharp about it. Tasting both, I definitely find Balvenie easier to enjoy. Balvenie is more malty and full in the mouth, JW is a more sour, bitter and closed experience.

JW Gold Label vs Jameson Black Barrel: JW slightly paler. Jameson has a sweet smooth caramel-bourbon aroma. JW is more subtle, and more dry. It is the same when it comes to flavour, and the difference in character is so massive that it is hard to compare. In the end, there is something sweet and naive about Jameson and the more sophisticated JW wins, a narrow victory.

JW Gold Label vs Glenmorangie 10: JW much darker. JW is also heavier and more oily on the nose. Glenmorangie is more vanilla and caramel. They taste surprisingly similar. JW has a bit more of leather/oil flavour and also some more bitternes. Glenmorangie is softer and richer in flavour, and it wins (and it kind of wins the soft/sweet game of blended gold label).

JW Gold Label vs Balvenie 14 Caribbean: JW is slightly darker. Balvenie has more bourbon aroma, JW is more leather and oil. It is kind of the same when tasting them, Balvenie is the sweeter and softer, Gold Label has more character. Unless all you want is soft and sweet, JW is the better and more interesting whisky.

JW Gold Label vs Glenfiddich 12: Isn’t this the comparision of giants? Glenfiddich is a little paler. First impression is that Gold label has a thicker and more oily aroma, Glenfiddich is more subtle dry malty aroma. Glenfiddich is simple yet excellent in the mouth. JW has that oily, leathery, dirty kick (like Loch Lomond) – it is a surprisingly dominant characteristic for a blend like this. This is very close. JW is sweeter, thicker, richer. Glenfiddich is fresher, saltier and more complex. I personally prefer Glenfiddich, but I somehow have a feeling that I fail to appreciate why JW is the better whisky. But I like fresh and salt, so Glenfiddich it is.

JW Gold Label vs Glen Moray: JW a bit darker, and on the nose a bit oily, dirty, and almost peated. Glen Moray lighter, fruitier, a classic malt aroma. Tasting Glen Moray, it is rather dry and it lingers quite nicely. But it is rather sublte and very balanced. JW a bit peated, a little bitter and very balanced. I think I prefer Glen Moray, it is simple and good, and JW simply does not impress and I don’t like the flavour too much.

JW Gold Label vs Nevis Dew Deluxe 12YO: JW is darker. Nevis Dew has a light thin aroma. JW is richer, more oily and more sweet. Nevis Dew tastes surprisingly fresh, sweet and soft (although thin). JW is heavier, dirtier and more bitter in flavour. I prefer Nevis Dew.

JW Gold Label vs Chivas Regal 12: JW darker. Chivas has a soft aroma, mostly vanilla (with caramel and bourbon). JW more powerful, more oily and dirty. I taste Chivas and it is just like smelling it, vanilla and caramel, soft, not much to either like or dislike. But it is easy to drink. Drinking JW more happens, it is actually slightly peated and there are more flavours. It leaves me with an aftertaste of blended whisky alcohol, and I quite don’t like the flavour of it. I prefer Chivas.

JW Gold Label vs Glenallachie 10 Murray McDavid: JW is darker, with a distinctive leather aroma. Glenallachie is a little softer, on the fruity side, and also lighter. I taste JW and I find it soft and quite complex, the problem is that it does not taste so good. Glenallachie is lighter, less rich, also not quite so tasty. This is quite close, but I prefer Glenallachie.

JW Gold Label vs Highland Park 1998-2010: Similar color. Highland park a bit peated and leather, JW also a bit leather but more to honey. I taste Gold Label and it is a bit fruity at first, with a soft flavour. Highland park is more to old storage roam, seaside and fish. Back to Gold Label, the problem with it is that it is so balanced that no flavours stand out in an interesting way, and it is simply not so tasty. There is something odd with this HP that I dont quite like, so I think I would prefer JW in most cases.

JW Gold Label vs Deanston 15 Organic: JW is much darker, and on the nose much more dirt and leather. It is Deanston that smells like a blend. JW first has a quite rich and soft flavour (of dirt and leather), but it fades very quickly into a blend-alcohol flavour. Deanston is more salty and malty, a more slow change in the mouth, and less blend character in the end. Tasting again reach a different conclusion. JW is better.

JW Gold Label vs Benriach Heart of Speyside: JW is darker in color. Quite similar aroma, JW is a bit more sweet and mature, Benriach a bit more chemical. JW has a quite classic flavour, Benriach a little sharp, like som bitter herb or something. JW slightly better.

JW Gold Label vs Edradour 10: Edradour is darker, and has this odd smell of, is it fusel oil? I cant describe it, a bit minty. JW is a bit leather and peat. Tasting Edradour it has a thin flavour dominated by bitterness, not so much bitterness, but it is quite thin. JW wins.

JW 18YO vs Glenlivet 18YO: Again I blind taste, and JW is a bit more expensive. Very similar color. A has a smooth, rich, malty caramel aroma, very nice. After that, B strikes me as a blend: thin and much alcohol smell. I try more with B, and there is a nice subtle sweetness, sure there is. I taste B, it is softly everywhere in the mount, nothing bad at all, and very typical scotch (speyside) malt whisky. I taste A, it is saltier, rougher, less sweet, yet soft. My honest conclusion must be that A is the better whisky. If you just want light, smooth and slightly more sweet you might prefer B. I am quite sure B is JW (and it was).

JW 18YO vs Glenmorangie 10: JW is darker. Glenmorangie is a bit lighter and fresher on the nose, JW is more sweet and deep. Tasting JW I find it quite subtle and delicate (not heavy/rich), but it tastes very very good. Over to Glenmorangie, it is as complex and rich as JW, but JW simply tastes better. It makes Glenmorangie bitter. JW wins.

JW 18YO vs Glenfiddich 18: Same color. Glenfiddich has a more dry (like hay) aroma, and JW is more sweet (like sweet wine). They taste very different (in line with the aroma). JW has a very elegant sweetness and balance. Glenfiddich is like a rebel, tasting artichokes and salt, yet very soft. I prefer Glenfiddich: it makes JW taste bitter and boring.

JW 18YO vs Macallan Fine Oak: JW darker in color and stronger aroma, but more like a blend. Taste is quite similar, but Macallan is rich and soft enough to win.

JW 18YO vs Deanston Kentucky Cask: Deanston is much paler, but it has more aroma: a somewhat spicy and fruity vanilla aroma. JW is more subtle, it comes after a while, mostly elegantly sweet. JW has a soft, malty sweet flavour, very little bitterness and a hint of sweetness. Deanston is more like bourbon, caramel and vanilla, but it is a little bit strange in flavour. Deanston lacks the balance and sofistication of JW, and JW wins.

JW 18YO vs Aberfeldy 16: JW a little bit darker, very similar. JW has a very classic whisky aroma, very little surprises. Aberfeldy a little more fruit and wine. JW perhaps a hint of peat, and a hint of mint, and not so little character. Aberfeldy tastes good, creamy and caramel. JW a little more dry, very soft and balanced. A hint of mint, and JW is more dry and malty than Aberfeldy. These whiskies are rather similar. JW is a bit more oily and heavy, Aberfeldy a little bit more fresh. Very narrow victory to JW.

JW 18YO vs Super Nikka: Very similar color, JW perhaps more red but not darker. Super Nikka quite light on the nose, very balanced and soft. JW a bit more powerful but also a something is more off: a hint of mint or hay that I did not quite expect (although I should have remembered from my Aberfeldy 16 test above). Super Nikka is more elegant, more dark caramel. I taste JW, it is nice, classic and balanced. Nikka is a bit more bitter, metallic even, but also classic. Back to JW it is somewhat fresh, quite dry, not fruity. Back to Nikka, not bad, but not quite up to it. JW wins.

JW 18YO vs Ballantines 17: Ballantaines slightly paler, fruitier, maltier and more bourbon. JW more sweet, honey, caramel, some peat and some leather. I think the occation for this kind of whisky is easy to drink, easy to enjoy whisky with people who are not much into whisky – I recommend Ballantines.

JW 18YO vs Bunnahabhain 12YO CS (2021 Special Edition): Very similar color JW slightly darker when Bunnahabhain is watered down . On the nose JW is more like velvet, soft, balanced but also some not so nice chemical notes. Bunnahabhain is more salt and raw, with more fruitiness. JW is soft in the mouth as well, easy to drink, kind of complex yet a bit thin. Bunnahabhain has more of a kick and a rough character, also some sourness. I give victory to JW.

JW 18YO vs Highland Park Cask Strength: JW is somewhat darker, less difference than I expected. JW has a velvet kind of aroma, soft, slightly dirty oil peated, not very powerful. HP is more dry and sour, and not as peated as I expected and also more subtle than expected. After a while I feel HP is coming a bit, and it has some maltiness to it. I taste JW and find it surprisingly fruity, soft, quite complex and easy to drink. HP (with not so little water) is a more dry, peated and pure experience. Not so easy to pick a winner. If JW wins it is because of the softer and richer full flavour. If HP wins it is because of it refreshing salty peated pure flavour. I will give a narrow victory to JW.

JW Blue Label vs Glenlivet 21YO Archive: I blind taste, and JW is a bit more expensive. Very similar color, A is probably slightly paler, and its aroma is actually dominated by smooth peat. B has more the aroma of malt, honey and caramel. I taste B and it is rich, full of flavour, and very well balanced. I taste A, it is softly dominated by peat, but it is more thin and it fades away. Well, anyone who simply prefers more peat will prefer A, but then there are more peated whiskies to find. I really appreciate both, and they are both very tasty, but by an criteria I can argue for, B is the better whisky. And I am quite sure B is Glenlivet (I was right).

JW Blue Label vs Highland Park 18: JW is about twice the price, and I blind taste. Very similar color, both are beautiful kind of dark brown, if I had to make a difference, A is darker. A has a thick aroma of leather and oil. B is surprisingly light and thin after A. There is some peat in B, and there is some bourbon, even fruitiness in A.

I taste B and find it very soft and easy to enjoy, with hints of peat, salt and Island whisky. I taste A and also find it soft, but it more raw and salty, yet less peated. There is also some sourness to A (that could be a hint of peat). Over to be, is is more soft and refined, and more openly peated.

I am happy to compare these two whiskies, they are similar enough, yet different.

I come back after a while and in A I feel more fruity aroma, almost like sherry. B more clearly has peat and island character. Tasting both, back and forth, A is much sweeter, in a sherry way, and more powerful, while B remains the softer (yet peated) whisky.

After trying different positions, arguing with myself, and getting back to them i different order I must decide that A is better than B. And I am very sure A is Highland Park (and it was).

JW Blue Label vs Longrow: JW is darker. On the nose JW is softer and Longrow saltier (and perhaps more peated). Tasting both, my first impression is that Longrow is thinner, more sour, and more peated. Yes, the very balanced, soft, rich and complex JW tastes better than Longrow (which is very unrefined and raw in comparison).

JW Blue Label vs Dufftown 18: Same quite dark color. Dufftown is very balanced, rich and elegant on the nose. JW clearly peated compared to Dufftown. JW kind of richer (and peated) in flavour, but it fades quite quickly, Dufftown a bit sweeter and more lingering, but lighter. I could argue both ways here, Dufftown is more elegant and easy to enjoy and JW is a bit heavier and both have more and less quality in different ways. I will give JW a narrow victory.

JW Blue Label vs Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074: After reducing Deanston from cask strength I see no significant difference in color. Deanston has a caramel and light bourbon aroma. Blue Label has a sweet peated aroma. After tasting both, JW is obviously softer, like velvet in the mouth (perhaps not so little because it is only 40%). Deanston tastes a bit, not so balanced, not so easy to define. I find Deanston a bit bitter and kind of lacking good character to compensate it. JW Blue Label may be a bit dull, and thick (as opposed to fresh), but victory has to go to JW.

JW Blue Label vs Mackmyra Reserve Förlagrat Refill Gravity: JW is darker, more classic whisky amber and Mackmyra is more greenish. JW has a rich, complex slighly peated nose, very balanced. Mackmyra smells more fruity, candy and kind of grappa after JW. Tasting is kind of the same, JW is rather boring for its price, but flawless. Mackmyra is very experimental and after JW it is not quite obvious that Mackmyra is whisky at all. I prefer JW Blue Label.

JW Blue Label vs Arran Quarter Cask: Blue Label is darker, with a soft lightly peated classic aroma. Arran is more caramel, almost candy and chemical. I taste Arran and find a creamy sweetness, JW is definitely peated. Neither whisky is quite perfect, but JW wins after a while.

JW Blue Label vs Springbank 18: JW is darker. Springbank is more dirty, oily and peated on the nose. JW is more delicate. These whiskies resemble each other in a strange way. Tasting JW I find it a bit salty, very balanced and quite rich in flavour, super soft, yet with some peated character. My Springbank experience is ruined beacause I taste that suphur finish, but apart from it, while JW is super refined and balanced, Springbank tastes like the unrefined product, process going wild. I have big respect for Springbank, and of course it is in a way a more interesting and authentic whisky, but I appreciate Blue Label much more.

JW Blue Label vs Oban 14: JW slightly darker. Oban has a more fresh, malty, fruity and salty aroma. JW smells more old and closed, slightly peated. Drinking is a bit the same, after going back and forth a few times JW tastes pretty dull and boring, Oban more fresh, interesting and refreshing. Oban wins.

JW Blue Label vs Writers Tears Double Oak: Similar color, JW perhaps slightly darker and more brown. JW being a very smooth and delicate whisky still has a bit of scottish peat, oil and leather. Writers Tears is equally smooth, but more caramel, creamy and nutty and absolutely no peat. I think the quality and overall experience is quite comparable. I think Writers Tears tastes very good, Blue Label is anyway more of an acquired taste, yet it is quite subtle. I appreciate drinking Writers Tears more.

JW Blue Label vs Hazelburn 2007-2021: JW a bit darker with a warmer color. Quite similar aroma, both a bit oily, JW slighly more peated and Hazelburn slightly more fresh. Blue Label is very soft in the mouth, a hint of peat, and it lingers nicely. Hazelburn is salter, maltier more fresh and less balanced and complex. Both do their thing very good and they both taste good being compared to each other. Hazelburn is even a bit peppery. I prefer Hazelburn.

Infinity Whisky Bottle – Good Idea?

I am not going to explain what an Infinit Bottle is. Use Google.

And I am not ready to just planlessly add my whisky remains to a bottle either. But I will experiment a little.

Motörhead + Storm

Motörhead and Storm are two whiskies in the lower part of my head-to-head ranking. I am almost out of of both of them and I am bored of them, so they could be good candidates for going into an Infinity bottle. Storm is too dry and bodyless. Motörhead is too sweet. Do they taste better if mixed?

Color: quite obviously the mix falls between the pale Storm and the dark Motörhead. I am not goint to argue that the color of the mix is more appealing.

Aroma: Motörhead has a very soft bourbon aroma. Storm has little aroma, a bit chemical. The mix is, quite obviously more balanced. It is much more promising than Storm, and not as in-your-face as Motörhead.

Taste: Being kind, Storm does not taste so bad. For being a blend it has some quality. Over to Motörhead, there are some very sweet dominant flavours that are not entirely nice. How about the 50/50-mix? Well, not too surprisingly it has less of the bad stuff than both the original whiskies. But it also has less of their characters – for good and for bad. In this particular case, my opinion is that it was more good than bad.

Conclusion: MotörStorm is better than both Motörhead and Storm