Category Archives: Drinks

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.

#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.

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.

Example

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.

Pricing

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 .                                       
 R                                         
 I              .                          
 C                                         
 E                                         
 |                                         
 |                                         
  ===== QUALITY ==== correlation : 0.7373 ==================

This obviously makes more sense with more than 7 whiskies.

Code

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Conclusion

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 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 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 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 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.

Old and new Glenfiddich

I was given an old Glenfiddich miniature. It is probably from the 1960s and it has been stored dark and cold.

I bought a kit with the current Glenfiddich line of standard whiskies and made a little tasting. This is what I find about the old miniature.

The color is more pale, which is reasonable given that it the label says it was 8 years old when bottled, and there is no reason it should get darker being stored in a bottle.

A few minutes in the air made the aroma more pleasant. It was still a light, fruity (almost like white wine) aroma – not very different from the 12 YO.

Both on the nose and in the mouth I found the dominant thing to be “jerusalem artichoke”. I occationally find that in whiskies, never in Glenfiddich before, but sometimes in old whiskies.

All the modern Glenfiddich are partly stored on Sherry casks. I think the miniature was not, and I think that makes it taste a bit different.

I think most people would have prefered the 15/18YO to the miniature. But it is a matter of taste. It had not turned bad. If the difference between the miniature and the 12YO is mostly because of different production methods, or 50 years on a bottle, I can not tell.

I doubt this miniature had been a major success if it was sold. Everything was not better in the past, and storing whisky for half a century on a bottle is hardly a silver bullet to fanstatic whisky. Perhaps it give a taste that is hard to find otherwhise.

Whisky Head to Head

I have written a few other themed tasting pages for Johnny Walker, Benromach 7 woods, Jack Daniels, and Paul John. I also wrote a technical page on the method I used to rank whiskies based on my tastings.

Based on my notes below I have ranked the whiskies I have tasted:

1 Glenmorangie 19
2 Glenlivet Archive 21
3 Brora 38
4 Longrow 14 (old bottling)
5 Imperial 21 (Auld Rare)
6 Deanston 18
7 Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 Symposium #3077
8 Glenlossie 18 PX (The Maltman)
9 Longrow 18
10 Glenlossie 22YO Cadenhead
11 Redbreast 15
12 Old Pulteney 18
13 Bushmills Single Malt 21
14 Bunnahabhain 1986-2010 Carn Mor
15 Bunnahabhain 28 Untold Riches
16 Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 Samaroli
17 Bunnahabhain 1979-2000
18 Glenfarclas 25
19 Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso
20 Bunnahabhain 28 Statement
21 Springbank 9 Local barley
22 Glenlivet 18
23 Bushmills Single Malt 16
24 Springbank 15 Rum PC#629
25 Hibiki Harmony
26 Yoichi Single Malt Woody & Vanillic
27 Glenlossie 1996-2014 Cask 7058
28 Longmorn 16
29 Springbank 15
30 Hazelburn 10
31 Springbank 15 Rum
32 Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special release)
33 Glenfarclas 21
34 Highland Park 18 Viking Pride
35 Johnny Walker Blue Label
36 Dufftown 18
37 Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor)
38 Springbank 18
39 Glengoyne 21
40 Deanston 8 Red Wine
41 Glendronach 18 Allardice
42 Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve
43 Glenmorangie Signet
44 Macallan 1993-2013
45 Deanston 12
46 Longrow
47 Nikka Red
48 Highland Park Cask Strength
49 Glen Scotia 15
50 Highland Park Leif Eriksson
51 Glen Scotia Double Cask
52 Springbank 10
53 Deanston Virgin Oak
54 Balvenie 12 Double Wood
55 Longrow 14 Burgundy
56 Highland Park 10 Viking Scars
57 Redbreast 12
58 Bunnahabhain 12
59 Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004) Sherry
60 Glenfiddich 18
61 Mackmyra Reserve Elegant Ambassadör
62 Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek
63 Macallan Fine Oak
64 Johnny Walker 18YO
65 Aberfeldy 16
66 Bergslagen Two Hearts
67 Balvenie 12 Triple Cask
68 Glenlivet 15 French Oak
69 Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo
70 Super Nikka
71 Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured
72 Nikka from the Barrel
73 Longrow 13 Red
74 Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) Sherry
75 Glen Scotia Victoriana
76 Antiquary 21
77 Deanston Oloroso Finish (9Y)
78 Aberfeldy 12
79 Johnny Walker Black Label
80 Yoichi Sherry & Sweet
81 Nevis Dew Deluxe 12YO
82 Macallan 12 Sherry Oak
83 Glenlossie SMWS 9YO General Custard
84 Longrow 14 Sherry
85 Smögen Sherry P201
86 Balcones
87 Nikka Coffey Malt
88 Andalusia Triple Destilled
89 Old Pulteney 12
90 Nikka 12 Blended
91 Glenmorangie 10
92 Glenmorangie Sauternes
93 Highland Park 12 Viking Honour
94 Glenfarclas 15
95 Tottori
96 Glenfarclas 17
97 Oban 14
98 Bushmill Single Malt 12
99 Glenglassaugh Evolution
100 Oban Distillers Edition
101 Loch Lomond 15
102 Glenfarclas 105
103 Aberlour A’bunadh
104 Loch Lomond 12
105 Tomatin 18
106 Glenfiddich 12
107 Glenfarclas 12
108 Chivas Regal 12
109 Glen Moray
110 Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid)
111 Glendronach Batch 9
112 Suntory Toki
113 Paul John Edited
114 Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta
115 Glenlivet Founders Reserve
116 Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry
117 Johnny Walker Gold Label
118 Buffalo Trace
119 Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask
120 Highland Park 1998-2010
121 Jameson Black Barrel
122 Tomatin 15
123 Paul John Bold
124 Gentleman Jack
125 Balvenie 17 Double wood
126 Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select
127 Bushmill Single Malt 10
128 Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990)
129 Knob Creek 9
130 Glenglassaugh Revival
131 Jim Beam Rye
132 Glasgow 1770 The Original
133 Penderyn Madeira
134 Balcones Peated
135 Jim Beam Black
136 Jameson
137 Tomatin 12
138 Makers Mark
139 Mackmyra Preludium 06
140 Motörhead
141 Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage
142 TX Texas Straight Bourbon
143 White Walker
144 Glen Garioch 12
145 Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban
146 Jack Daniels
147 Macallan Gold Double Wood
148 Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006
149 Loch Lomond Original
150 Bushmills Original
151 Crown Royal Rye
152 Paul John Classic Select
153 Benromach 7 Woods (PX 2002-2010)
154 Ranger Creek Rimfire
155 Deanston 10 Cadenhead Small Batch
156 Benromach 7 Woods (Port 2000-2012)
157 Paul John Brilliance
158 Mackmyra Brukswhisky
159 Storm
160 Isle of Lime Midaik
161 Antiquary 12
162 Jura Superstition
163 Loch Lomond 18
164 Amrut Fusion Batch 10
165 Floki Young Malt
166 Bushmills Banyuls
167 Famous Grouse
168 Benromach 7 Woods (Madeira -2008 7YO+)
169 Benromach 7 Woods (Hermitage 2001-2010)
170 Grants
171 Johnny Walker Red Label
172 Benromach 7 Woods (Sassicaria 2002-2009)
173 Benromach 7 Woods (Pago C P 2002-2009)
174 Benromach 7 Woods (Tokaji -2006 5YO+)
175 J&B
176 Urquhart Castle
177 Officers Choice
178 Bagpipers Gold Reserve
179 Talisman
180 Bunnahabhain PX 2003-1017

Peated

Usually peated whiskies win on raw power compared to unpeated whiskies. However, that does not mean that a peated whisky is generally preferable on a given occation. But I made a separate list.

1 Brora 38
2 Talisker 18
3 Lagavulin 1984 Double Wood
4 Bowmore 18
5 Laphroaig 16
6 Lagavulin 16
7 Talisker 10
8 Ardbeg 10
9 Yoichi Peaty & Salty
10 Caol Ila 12
11 Longrow 18
12 Ledaig 10
13 Ardbeg Ardbog
14 Laphroaig 10
15 Kilchoman Machir Bay
16 Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek
17 Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated
18 Ledaig 2008 Sansibar
19 Laphroaig Port & Wine Cairdeas 2020
20 Paul John Peated Select Cask
21 Hven Tycho Star
22 Ardbeg Corrywreckan
23 Longrow
24 Bowmore 12
25 Glenglassaugh Torfa
26 Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt
27 Port Askaig 8
28 Ardbeg 5 Wee Beastie
29 Ardbeg Blaaack
30 Waitrose 10 Islay Single Malt
31 Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry
32 Finlaggan (Cask Strength)
33 Loch Lomond Heavily Peated
34 Ledaig Prerelease
35 Mackmyra Svensk Rök
36 Longrow 14 Sherry
37 NWSC Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso
38 Talisker Skye
39 Glen Moray Peated
40 For Peats Sake

Background and Idea

The idea is to drink two different whiskies and make a few comments. I usually do this alone, in the evening, with two small drams, a glas of water and some salty snacks (like crisps).

To me the way I experience a whisky can change from time to time. Not the least, it depends on what I have eaten and drunk before I taste the whisky. I find it very hard to drink one whisky one day, and another the next day, and compare them. I also find it hard to try many whiskies, because my senses quickly change. So two whiskies, head to head, should be the most fair way I can compare and rate whisky.

It is not my intention to rate value-for-money. I will mostly try standard whiskies that are produced and available, and expected to have somewhat consistent quality. I think it is more interesting to find good affordable available whiskies, than to seek the ultimate bottle from a lost distillery. Occasionally I will however try a more unique, rare and expensive bottle, to see how it compares.

General Findings

What makas a whisky better? This is obviously a personal experience, but when you look at my ranking (and perhaps find it strange), keep this in mind:

  • prefer smoothness to sharpness
  • prefer much flavour to little flavour
  • prefer long flavour to short flavour
  • prefer balance: when no flavour dominates
  • I do not quite like bitterness, chemical notes (like glue, synthetic aroma, fusel oil)
  • I appreciate peat, but I do not necessarily prefer it
  • I appreciate sweetness and sherry flavour, but not too much of it, and I do not necessarily prefer it
  • I do not appreciate sulphur, and it seems I find some sherry or desert wine whiskies raw and unsmooth
  • I appreciate bourbon and vanilla flavour, but I may not prefer it
  • I appreciate and usually prefer some saltiness, dryness, and a taste of malt or barley

I don’t think this is controversial or strange, but I know there are people who really have a preference for peated whisky, or for whisky matured on sherry casks, and I dont.

Originality and Experience

A more difficult thing I have found, is how to value originality. I will take one example: Hibiki Harmony vs Nikka Coffey Malt (you can read below). It is possible to argue that either:

  1. Hibiki is soft and easy to drink, close to perfect, while Nikka has strange notes of glue
  2. Nikka is a very interesting and pleasant whisky that anyone interested in whisky should try, while Hibiki is just an easy to drink boring blend

There can not be a definite right or wrong here. But to me, to taste (or smell) unpleasant is worse than being just boring.

Notes

Deanston 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Color very similar, Old Pulteney somewhat darker. On the nose Old Pulteney is more pleasant; sweeter and richer. Deanston is dryer and slightly more chemical. Old Pulteney tastes perfectly balanced with a clear (but not overwhelming) hint of its Spanish oak casks, nice after taste. Deanston also very nicely balanced, with (to my taste) a more dry traditional single malt character. Both are very stable representatives of 18 year old Scotch single malt, but neither is very brave. If I have to choose I prefer the Deanston, I find it more interesting.

Jameson Black Barrel vs White Walker: Jameson has a deep sweet characteristic scent while White Walker is more subtle, a bit chemical to me. Taste impressions are quite the same; White Walker has a quite thin, somewhat sweet taste (perhaps the best I can say is that its not too bad considering its a blend). Jameson tastes caramel, very good, but a bit too much of something. I prefer Jameson, even without considering it is both cheaper an generally available. The reason I tried these two is that I found White Walker ice cold quite nice. I froze another blend (J&B) and it was not at all as good, and not as sweet. So I thought perhaps White Walker had a sweetness like Jameson Black Barrel, but it wasn’t so. I will try Black Barrel frozen some day (since White Walker is limited edition).

Glenmorangie 10 vs Storm: Both rather pale color, and light fruity on the nose. The Storm may actually have a slightly richer aroma. Glenmorangie tastes excellent in its light simplicity, although some bitterness remains. Storm is heavier, more flavour, less fruity, a bit chemical and more bitterness: I lack a defined character. After a while, I clearly prefer Glenmorangie, despite it is lighter (usually a more heavy whisky wins head to head, is my experience). Later, Glenmorange remains flawless in its simplicity, while there is something unpleasant about Storm.

Makers Mark vs Motörhead: Unsurprisingly they are both nice dark amber in color, very similar. Makers Mark has a much sweeter (raisin, vanilla) aroma while Motörhead is much more subtle. Same is true for the taste; Makers Mark has a fine Bourbon flavour also after drinking the drier and lighter Motörhead. They are both good. For those who like Bourbon Makers Mark is clearly the winner. Motörhead is still a good oakflavoured whisky, perhaps too sweet and Bourbon-like to those who don’t like that. Considering price, or not, I must say Makers Mark is the better whisk(e)y. Although, there are situations when I could prefer Motörhead.

Caol Ila 12 vs Kilchoman Machir Bay: As I expected quite similar color and aroma. Kilchoman slightly paler. On the nose they are clearly different, but I have a hard time putting words on it. Caol Ila is heavier, more oily. Starting tasting Kilchoman is like a sparkling firework in the mouth, very good. Caol Ila is, even when it comes to flavour heavier, more oily and more smooth. Sometimes I love heavily peated whisky and sometimes I think it is too much. This time I like them both. Ultimately, Caol Ila comes out slightly better for being richer and more smooth, but it is very close.

Kilchoman Machir Bay vs Longrow (no age): Longrow is clearly a bit darker in color, while Kilchoman is clearly is more peaty on the nose. Longrow needs water and has a balanced, somewhat dry, bitter and pale flavour (not so salty though). Kilchoman is richer in flavour and has an Islay and island character not present in Longrow (despite it is a bit peated). These two whiskies are a bit too different to compare head to head, and neither of them really benefit from being compared to each other (they both smell funny, a bit like soap, after a while). While (the young) Longrow is very good and perhaps more easy to enjoy, head to head Kilchoman is much more interesting.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Glenmorangie 10: Deanston is a bit more amber colored while Glenmorangie is not that pale. Glenmorangie is light, almost like a wine on the nose, Deanston has a distinct oak and dried fruit aroma. These impressions are well reflected in a first tasting round. Deaston is a bit more rough and raw and Glenmorangie remains subtle and sophisticated. Both are rather young single malts in the lower price segment, both are very good, but lack perfection. I do prefer Deanston.

Jura Superstition vs Longrow: The Jura is more golden in color but quite similar. Both have a pleasant aroma, Longrow more peaty. Tasting both head to head is a clear win to Longrow: the Jura is hardly pleasant and Longrow is quite perfect.

Andalusia Triple Destilled vs Glenmorangie 10: The Texan is much darker in color, but to the nose they are very similar: Andalusia a bit more raisins perhaps, and Glenmorangie slightly lighter. The difference in taste is more significant: Andalusia focuses on the sweet oak flavour which is not bad at all (but a bit simple), while Glenmorangie has wider palette of flavours (but a little bitter). I realise that Andalusia, being triple destilled, should be compared to an Irish whisky rathern than Scotch. Head to head, Andalusia is the more pleasant whisky.

Hven Tychos Star vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: two Swedish peated (well, at least smoky) whiskies. Hven has a somewhat darker color. They smell rather different. Mackmyra has a very clear dry smoke smell, like burnt, almost fire, and not much else. First impression of Hven is that it has a more traditional peat aroma, but after a while I don’t know; it smells sweet. Starting to taste Macmyra it is surprisingly good – not very much flavour (just like its color and aroma) but not bad. I immediately add water. Hven has a much richer flavour, also surprisingly good and balanced. Mackmyra softens with some water but there is not much to discover. I prefer Hven, but it was more even than I thought, and I had lower expectations and was surprised.

Andalusia Triple Destilled vs Balcones: Both from Texas, pretty amber in color, Balcones even more so (but perhaps because it is stronger at 53%). Andalusia has a deep fruity aroma, very similar to Balcones it seems. Both need water, and they turn out to be very similar, for a while indistinguishable. Somewhat to my surpise I find Balcones to taste better (there are some unpleasant notes in Andalusia after a while, and head to head).

Bushmill Single Malt 12 vs Glenmorangie 10: As expected the Irish triple-destilled whisky has a darker color, and a sweeter aroma. I was a bit surprised though to find that the Bushmill is rougher, more crude and bitter, less smooth. And sweeter of course. Glenmorangie is more on the winey side. Although different in character they are similar in taste quality. If I have to pick, I prefer Glenmorangie.

Deanston 18 vs Macallan 2013 (distilled 1993, cask strength): Very similar in color, and in aroma as well. Perhaps Macallan is a bit more fruity. Macallan obviusly needs to be watered down but this evening I don’t find it tastes particularly good. Deanston is richer, a bit saltier, and tastier.

Storm vs Urquhart Castle 10 (a souvenir single Speyside malt): The castle whisky is very pale. It has a light aroma, but I like it better than the more sweet and chemical Storm. I taste both and find Urquhart not very smooth, it actually has a bit of this burnt sawdust flavour that I usually find in very young whiskies. Storm taste bitter-sweet in a way I dont particularly like, but it is still more pleasant than Qrquhart castle.

Glenlivet Archive 21 vs Old Pulteney 18: Similar color but Glenlivet a bit more red and Old Pulteney a bit more pale. Glenlivet has a fantastic balanced aroma and Old Pulteney has a sligthly saltier smell (perhaps like sea); so far very good and quite as expected. Also when it comes to flavour the Glenlivet is really good, a bit sweeter than I expected, but very nice. Old Pulteney is saltier (iodine?) and less soft. And less perfect. There are different preferences, but so far Glenlivet Archive 21 is the most flawless whisky I have tried (in this list).

Ledaig 10 vs Longrow: Very similar color (Ledaig perhaps paler). Somewhat surprised I find that Ledaig has more aroma, richer and more peat, while Longrow is more reserved (but not bad at all). Longrow tastes great, with its dry salty flavour, but I add a little water to it. Ledaig has more flavour, especially more peat and sea. This is why it is hard to test more peated against less peated (and Longrow – no age – has surprisingly little peat). So, while Longrow is a perfect whisky, Ledaig has more of everything. So in the peated category, Ledaig wins.

Deanston 12 vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Similar in color the Texan has a surprisingly sweet and nice aroma (it is Mesquite smoked so I expected it to be more sharp). When it comes to flavour though the Deanston wins (today I find Deanston 12 very good). I could be completely wrong, but the Texan reminds me a little of tequila and that is not to its advantage.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Hven Tycho Star: The Ardbeg i paler, but not surprisingly has a thicker smell. Tycho Star has a good flavour with a nice burnt, short smoky finish. Ardbeg is, quite similar or very different? I got confused. Even after tasting the (powerful) Ardbeg, Tycho Star actually tastes really good! And getting back to Ardbeg, this is not so easy! Corrywreckan is not my favourite Ardbeg, it has its moments. And if you like more of everything you probably prefer Ardbeg, but tonight I find Hven to produce a more appealing whisky than Ardbeg.

Balcones vs Deanston 12: Balcones being much darker in colour, Deanston still has more aroma. While Deanston has an aroma of whisky and wine Balcones is more raisins or rum. When it comes to the flavour Balcones is very sweet, yet a bit sharp (I did add water to the 53% Texan). Deanston is much more balanced, has more flavour to offer and is milder. Conclusion: while a more peaty whisky tends to beat a less peaty whisky head to head, the same is not true for a sweet whisky.

Deanston 12 vs Longmorn 16: Very similar in colour and not that different aroma. Deanston smells more caramel and Longmorn is more deep and subtle on the nose. I like the taste of both of them and I think they both represent good Scotish single malt that are neither peated nor particularly sweet (sherry). In the end, I think Longmorn is the better one, but not by much, and Deaston is both classic and a bit particular, while Longmorn is more anonymous.

Balcones vs Bushmill 12: Balcones is slightly more red in color, and more raisin aroma while Bushmill has more oak aroma. Quite similar though. At first taste, none of them is perfect: Balcones too sharp and sweet, Bushmill a bit bitter and dull (perhaps), lacking something. Balcones improves with water and even though it is sweeter than I prefer, it is the better of the two.

Deanston 12 vs Deanston Oloroso Finish (Selected Malts 2009-2018): The Oloroso whisky is slightly darker in color as expected. When it comes to aroma there is some difference: 12 YO is more caramel, Oloroso is sweeter, quite as expected. First impression of Oloroso is that it has a lot of flavour but fades away quickly (not so strange given its young age). I add water (its just above 50%) and find that not much remain. Oloroso is young and thin compared to 12 YO which is richer, deeper and tastier.

Deanston 12 vs Old Pulteney 12: I can see no difference in color. Not very different on the nose either, Old Pulteney is more sea, medicinal, while Deanston is more oak and a bit sweeter. Tasting Old Pulteney it is a little burnt, slightly bitter. Deanston tastes sweeter and more bourbon. Back to Old Pulteney it is a bit thinner, there is something (chemical) about it reminding me of a blend. I like Old Pulteney but I like Deanston more.

Longmorn 16 vs Old Pulteney 18: Very similar traditional whisky color. When it comes to aroma, Longmorn has a softer wine and fruit speyside character while Old Pulteney reminds of the and is a bit peaty. The differences in the mouth matches the differences on the nose. No immediate winner. Very close race actually, and it is even harder to pick a winner because they are quite different. In the end Old Pulteney wins. I don’t think its because it has more sea and peat, but because it is more rich and Longmorn is somehow a little thin and bitter. Both are good.

Bushmills 12 vs Old Pulteney 12: Old Pulteney quite paler as expected. On the nose Bushmill is more sweet and nice, while Old Pulteney comes of quite chemical. First taste of Old Pulteney is satisfying though. Tasting Bushmills it got difficult, Bushmills tasting sherry and little more. In the end Old Pulteney has more to offer, but it is really close.

Deanston Oloroso Finish vs Makers Mark: not surprisingly the bourbon is a bit more golden, but not so much. On the nose Deaston is much more elegant and subtle, the bourbon obviously sweet and oaky. Tasting Makers Mark: it is not bad at all, perhaps everything I want in a bourbon however a little sharp. Deanston, again, more elegant, and I add water to both. Tonight, I find this Deanston excellent, and better than Makers Mark.

Hven Tychos Star vs Kilchoman Machir Bay: To the eye Kilchoman is very pale compared to Hven. On the nose they both have a quite burnt peaty smell (more fire than sea), Kilchoman a bit more powerful. When it comes to taste, Hven is more sweet (although not very sweet) while Kilchoman is more sour. With a bit of water Kilchoman develops a bit and it has a deeper flavour, not entirely better, but in the end I prefer Kilchoman. Although this is a surprisingly close race.

Glenmorangie Signet vs Longmorn 16: Both quite deep and similar in color. On aroma, Longmorn is very classical speyside on my nose. I expected Signet to be more sweet and powerful, but I think Longmorn matches it very good. First taste impression of Signet is simply excellent; rich and tasty and not too sweet. Longmorn also very strong first impression, perhaps a bit more soft yet dryer. Not so little oak in Signet I realise on the second sip. This is a close match, Longmorn is richer and more complex, yet Signet does its thing very well (perhaps more flawless but less interesting). I will pick Longmorn as the winner, but if you are more into sherry casks you would perhaps disagree.

Balcones vs Glenmorangie Signet: With the above tasting ongoing, I decided to try Signet against Balcones and just as I expected Balcones has no chance (it lacks the balance and elegance).

Old Pulteney 12 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Quite similar color, Springbank slightly paler and also cask strength. Ahh, Springbank is fanstastic on the nose, a bit peaty, dry, and in comparison Old Pulteney smells perfume (admittedly, I like Springbank and this is clearly a subjective opinion). Starting to taste Old Pulteney I have nothing to complain about really, it is good. But the Springbank (with a splash of water), so much flavour in just 9 years! Tasting Old Pulteney again, still not much to complain with it is still decent after Springbank. Adding a bit more water to Springbank and there is no doubt it is the better whisky: not a hint of sweetness and quite perfectly peated.

Longrow vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Not surprisingly similar and pale color. On the nose Longrow has more peat (yes, it should, but I actually was not sure after previously tasting both of them against different whiskies), and the Springbank is richer otherwise, saltier and more barley. Tasting them, Springbank is fresh, salty, tasty, interesting and very good (and excellent for its young age). Longrow, unfortunately, is lacking both what I expect in a whisky from Springbank and is also not particularly peaty. It feels a bit closed and dead.

Jura Superstition vs Storm: Jura is really golden while Storm is pale, almost greenish. Storm is light on the nose, almost like a wine. Jura is deeper and a bit peated, not unpleasant. Storm tastes quite sharp, thin and chemical (perhaps just like a decent blend). Jura, it has a good island-whisky-component, but also a chemical unbalanced side that is not pleasant. Adding water to Storm it both smells and tastes of pear. Adding water to Jura, it just tastes bitter. I think Storm can have its moments and its fans, but Jura Superstition simply does not cut it.

Bushmill 12 vs Motörhead: These are two whiskies I had better thoughts about before they ended up in the bottom of my list. Similar in color, Motörhead is a bit more red. Motörhead smells nice, quite sweet reminding of Glögg (Gluhwein). Bushmill has quite little aroma and is more like traditional whisky. First taste of Bushmill is fine, quite thin but not bad. Motörhead is not traditional in its taste, it is more like a whisky, than a whisky. Bushmill is the better whisky.

J&B vs Storm: Both blends are quite pale, not golden at all. Storm has quite little aroma, but it is not sligthly disgusting as J&B. Tasting J&B is perhaps better than smelling it, but it leaves a sharp sour taste in the mouth. Storm tastes better, but not completely pleasant. J&B loses against Storm.

Motörhead vs Storm: Motörhead is much darker to the eye, and much richer to the nose, than Storm. Motörhead, with its flaws is mostly pleasant while Storm is not.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Hibiki Harmony: Very similar color, none particlarly dark. I also find them very similar on the nose; Glenmorangie slightly more oak, Hibiki slighly more fruit, but this is subtle. Well, they both smell good. First taste impression of Hibiki is decent: elegant, light, tasty and quite much what I would expect of a good blend. First taste of Glemorangie is not as elegent and tasty actually, something chemical I dont quite like. After a little break trying them Glenmorangie first. Hibiki is better: richer, more spicy, more balanced, more elegant and more flawless.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Storm: These are both very pale, Mackmyra slightly more pale than Storm. First impression on the nose is not too bad for Mackmyra, the pear is clearly there though. Storm is richer on the nose, but a bit chemical and not necessarily more pleasant. Tasting Mackmyra, it is young, a bit sharp but not too bad. Well, that is quite true of Storm too it turns out. None of these are particularly amazing but Mackmyra has its particular charm and personality, while Storm lacks any of that. Mackmyra is more pleasant and interesting.

Makers Mark vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: Both bourbons very similar dark amber color. On the nose Makers Mark is sweet raisin and oak as expected. The Texan has a less sweet and perhaps less pleasant smell, a but thick and undefined. First taste of Makers Mark is quite what I expect of a bourbon; oak and vanilla. The Texan tastes younger, a bit sharper. I think Makers Mark is better.

Glendronach 18 Allardice vs Longmorn 16: Glendronach clearly more dark amber while Longmorn slightly to the green (although not that pale). On the nose, Glondronach is sweeter and heavier while Longmorn is lighter and fruitier. First taste impression of Longmorn is good; fruity and balanced with a clear malt character. Glondronach tastes surprisingly salty and powerful, not as much sherry character as i expected (feared). In the end Longmorn is very elegant and classy, and I prefer it to Glendronach.

Highland Park 1998-2010 vs Old Pulteney 18: Color very similar and both looks good, HP slightly darker. When it comes to aroma Highland Park is clearly peaty and Old Pulteney is quite pale. Tasting Old Pulteney it is very balanced, smooth, complex a bit salty and a touch of sea. Highland Park is clearly more peaty, powerful but less elegant. This is one of those cases where peat beats no-peat and in a way I am inclined to prefer HP, but I think in the end I prefer the old Old Pulteney anyway.

Jack Daniels vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: On a short note TX is preferable to Jack Daniels (which smells glue and candy).

Jack Daniels vs Urquhart Castle: I prefer Jack Daniels, but not by far.

Highland Park 1998-2010 vs Longrow 13 Red: On a short note, Longrow 13 is quite superior (although part of it may be that it is more heavily peated).

Longrow vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Similar, quite pale in color. Rimfire has a fine aroma, I had expected a little more smoke. Longrow is clearly peaty on the nose though. Rimfire tastes fine, a hint of desert. Longrow has a much more powerful taste, and that is not entirely a good thing. Rimfire again, yes, it has that hint of tequila. Adding some water to Longrow brings out much flavour but this Longrow (without age indication) lacks something. This should have been an obvious win for Longrow, but it comes down to preference and perhaps power, and I do pick Longrow. But I am not impressed.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Mackmyra is clearly paler. The Texan smells quite fine, Mackmyra not too different but more fruity. First taste of Mackmyra is decent, mot much flavour or depth though. Ranger Creek has not so much more to offer. I add a dash or water to both and I imagine that improved the Rimfire a bit. Mackmyra, not so much, the water rather brought out flavours I would have prefered not to be there. Rimfire wins.

Macallan 2013 (20y) vs Hibiki Harmony: Macallan is significantly darker (but also stronger). Hibiki has a pleasant spicy aroma. Macallan is sweeter on the nose, also pleasant. I taste Hibiki and find it flawless but a little thin. I find the cast strength Macallan strong and add a bit of water and the flavours come out. Also quite flawless it has sweet sherry notes, classic speyside flavour and it also tastes like an old whisky in a pleasant way. Back to Hibiki it now is clearly saltier and more dry than Macallan, still flawless which is good for a blend after an old Macallan! This perhaps comes down to preference, or watering, or what I eat with it. But this evening I do prefer Hibiki. It is a very nice whisky.

Highland Park 1998-2010 vs Longrow: Highland Park is much darker in color, and quite peaty on the nose. Switchin to Longrow it is almost fruity and not peaty at all. Tasting Longrow it is quite sharp and and a bit burnt (with a clear Springbank character of course). Tasting HP it gets tricky, it is sweet, a bit peaty, but there is something not quite perfect. This HP bottle is 40%, it has been open a few years and I think it lost its edge. Instead it is slightly chemical. I though HP was going to beat this Longrow (which is perhaps the worst Longrow I have had), but in the end Longrow wins if it is up to me.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Macallan 2013 (20y): Similar color (Macallan is slightly darker but also stronger). The aroma of Deanston is dominated by dry fruits and oak. Switchin to Macallan it is more subtle and elegant, switching back I find Deanston a bit crude. Macallan tastes very good, I had added some water from the beginning but add more. Deanston is suprisingly fresh, there is much oak but there is more to it. This is not the hands down win for Macallan that I could have thought. I find sourness and sharpness in Macallan and I add even more water. In the end Macallan wins for being more balanced. Deanston has its Virgin Oak charm, but this time that is a bit too much and not enough.

Old Pulteney 12 vs Johnny Walker White Walker: The blend has a strange sweet flavour (reminds me of Swedish Punch) that is meant to be nice when ice cold, but room temperate head to head with a single malt it is not enough.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Glenmorangie is richer and more balanced to the eye, the nose and the mouth. Johnny Walker White Walker comes in between.

Balcones vs Deanston Virgin Oak: Balcones is much darker in color, and sweeter to the nose. Smelling both of them, the heavy rich sweet aroma of Balcones makes Deanston appear a bit dull, but after a longer break the Deanston is excellent. Tasting Deanston first I like it. Balcones is too strong and very fruity. I add water to both, much more to Balcones. Now the Balcones is softer; it is a good whisky but there is something bitter about it that I dont completely like. Again, Deanston does not benefit from being tasted right after Balcones. In the end I find Deanston more balanced, more complex and more tasty.

Hibiki Harmony vs Longmorn 16: Very similar in color. Also very similar on the nose, Longmorn a little sweeter and thicker. They also taste quite similar, and both are good so this is difficult. Hibiki is saltier and have a spicy flavour while Longmorn is sweeter and richer. I will actually pick the Hibiki here, but I like my whisky dry rather than sweet, so I understand that you may disagree.

Deanston 18 vs Glenlivet 18: Deanston is slightly paler, and to the nose it is spicy but not perfect. Glenlivet has a more subtle smell. Glenlivet tastes excellent, at first I am a little surpristed that it has both a bit of salt and peat, but it does not linger as long as expected. Deanston tastes good, balanced and pleasant. It has a particular Deanston taste, hard to put a name on it, perhaps a bit mint. I have nothing bad to say about Glenlivet, but Deanston is more interesting and has more personality.

Longrow vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Very similar color. Longrow smells of iodine and the sea, but not much peat. Mackmyra mostly smells burnt wood, also not much peat. At first taste Longrow is really good, a bit burnt and thin, but dry and fine. Mackmyra is sour and fire. Back to Longrow it is definitely pleasant. The best I can say of Mackmyra is that it is an interesting experience of a young, wood-smoked, swedish single malt.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Longrow: Ardbeg is obviously more of everything, and darker in color. Putting the nose in Longrow I am surpised I feel anything, because for a while I thought Corrywreckan by just standing on the table would dominate all. Well, that said, Corrywreckan was not that powerful on the nose. First taste of Longrow is good. First taste of Ardbeg, well, it is too strong, but with water I actually think this can get interesting. Trying them again it got difficult, Longrow quite thin and Ardbeg not entirely pleasant. That is tough. Well, Ardbeg wins, if for no other reason than pure power (it may have been a mistake to put this Longrow in the list of peated whisky).

Kilchoman Machir vs Bay vs Talisker 10: To start Kilchoman is much paler (greenish), perhaps younger? However Kilchoman is more powerful (sour, fruity and peaty) to the nose. First mouth Talisker tastes excellent, surprisingly sweat and rich. Kilchoman is more extreme: fire, smoke and sea. Back to Talisker it is still excellent and I prefer it. However those who look for a more rough peat and sea experience can choose Kilchoman.

Longrow 14 Sherry Cask vs Longrow 18: Sherry cask has made it clearly darker and redder. On the nose the 14YO is more peaty and powerful. Tasting 18YO it is surprisingly thin, not bad at all, but not what I quite had expected of 18YO Springbank. The Sherry is evident in the 14YO but not too dominant, also not too peaty, and also very fine taste. I find both of them good, but I find the 18YO more balanced and it is more Sherry than I prefer in 14YO.

Longrow 14 (old bottling) vs Longrow 18: I think the old Longrow (think it is called 90s bottling) is excellent, and better than Longrow 18.

Deanston Oloroso Finish vs Longrow 14 Sherry Cask: These are two dark golden whiskies, Longrow slightly darker perhaps because it is stronger. Deanston has a fine Oloroso aroma and compared to that Longrow is mostly peaty. First taste of Deanston is good, it has its sweetness, but not that much more. Longrow tastes mostly peat, but the sweet sherry flavour follows, a bit like two drinks were mixed. Adding more water to Deanston and I am more impressed. Longrow, I am trying to understand it. If you cant choose between peat and sherry, definitely get this Longrow, but I choose Deanston.

Balcones vs Longrow 14 Sherry Cask: On the nose, Balcones is really fruity and sweet against this sweet Longrow.

Longrow 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Very similar color, not very red. On the nose, Old Pulteney is not peaty and Longrow is very peaty; distinct difference. Tasting it Old Pulteney is very tasty, has everything I want in a highland malt. And Longrow is also very good, peaty, rich a bit burnt. In the end Longrow wins. It is a bit unfair because power tends to beat elegance but there is more to it.

Hibiki Harmony vs Nikka from the Barrel (a bottle from 2005 that has been opened since long: Nikka is slightly darker but also slightly stronger. I like Hibiki on the nose and as before I think it is spicy. Nikka is heavier, denser and more sweet. Tasting Hibiki is very pleasant. Nikka is better than I remember it but it needs water (mine is rated at 51%). Adding water to Nikka improves it I find it both complex, balanced and pleasant. There is something bitter-sweet (almost metallic) that I am not completely happy with. After Nikka, Hibiki is a bit soft. Admittedly Nikka is way better than I remember it since long (after some water) but I think Hibiki with its dryer flavour is preferable. Those who prefer a sweet whisky may prefer Nikka.

Nikka from the Barrel vs Old Pulteney 12: Nikka is dark amber compared to Old Pulteney which is pale, almost greenish. On the nose, Old Pulteney is fruity, then sea/salt, then a bit peaty this evening. Nikka is surprisingly anonymous. Tasting Nikka (with some water) first it tastes mostly alcohol, then it becomes balanced and sweet; not bad but not too interesting. Old Pulteney: not quite so nice, chemical fruity flavour. After some cheese a second attempt at Old Pulteney is better. But Nikka has more to offer.

Balcones vs Makers Mark: Similar but different. A bourbon-lover would prefere the only bourbon in tha game, but I find Balcones better, although a bit bitter where Makers Mark is more soft. The softness however has a bit of glue or candy.

Glenlivet 18 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Glenlivet golden while Springbank pale, almost greenish, in color. Glenlivet is nice and soft on the nose, kind of vegetable-sweet, and Springbank is clearly peaty and a bit edgy. Tasting Glenlivet it has everything I want in a Speyside malt. Springbank, is very good, almost everything I want between Campbeltown and Islay. Back to Glenlivet it is less impressive after Springbank. Back to Springbank, still impressed. I appreciate both these whiskies, both styles, and I rank Springbank 9 Local Barley higher than Glenlivet 18.

Deanston 8 Red Wine vs Glendronach Allardice: Deanston is lighter in aroma and taste and quite flawless. Glendronach is richer, but somthing is not quite perfect. I prefer Deanston (this is a little bottle bought in the destillery).

Glenlivet 18 vs Hibiki Harmony: Glenlivet somewhat darker in color, but not so much. On the nose I get back to finding Hibiki spicy and dry/salt in a pleasant way. Glenlivet has a sweeter and more fruity aroma. Tasting both of them it is not very clear which I prefer. I do pick Glenlivet, there is something chemical (perhaps blended) and unnatural about Hibiki compared to this 18 year old scotch whisky. But it is quite close.

For Peats Sake vs Hven Tychos Star: Both has a nice very similar golden color. When it comes to aroma Hven is more powerful and peaty, and For Peats Sake is sweater and more chemical. Tasting For Peats Sake first, its quite nice: it has the iodine saltiness, it is peaty and quite soft. Hven is more burnt. However, after some more tasting I find that For Peats Sake has more of a blend character than a peated character, after all. Hven is more uncompromising, and wins.

Longrow 18 vs Springbank 9 local barley: Springbank much paler even though it is stronger (quite expected). On the nose, quite similar. If any is more peaty I’d say it is Springbank (not quite expected). I can perhaps say that Longrow is more complex and balanced on the nose, and Springbank ahs more “edge”, but perhaps I just want to think this since Longrow is twice as old. Tasting Longrow first it is quite excellent, for being 18 years it has quite same character so I add a little more water to it. Tasting Springbank my impression is immediately that it is younger, thinner, and more rough, and I add more water. And with more water it gets saltier tastes more like I expect a Springbank. Longrow remains great, and it is the better whisky.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Both have a nice pale color, Glenmorangie slightly paler. First impression with the nose is very good with Glenmorangie: balanced and elegant. Rimfire also good, sweeter. Glenmorangie tastes good, very light and a bit bitter. Rimfire is more bitter, right from the start. Taking a larger sip of Glenmorganie it is still enjoyable, although not perfect. Rimfire also decent on second try, it is more spicy and that is both a good and a bad thing. It is possible to argue that Ranger Creek is more interesting and has more flavour to offer, but the safe choice here is Glenmorangie.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Longrow: These are two whiskies with no stated age. Deanston is more golden in color, and its aroma is quite fresh. Against this competition Longrow is clearly peated, and that hides other aroma. After Longrow, Deanston smells a bit candy (probably oak). Tasting Deanston that impression (of candy and oak) remains. Tasting Longrow it is still mostly peat there. I add a splash of water to both. These young whiskies both are a little bit too much of what they are, and to little of what they are not. In that sense they are similar, but their character is very different. Deanston improved with the water: softer and richer. So did Longrow (and I felt a hint of horse, not necessarily good). Longrow overpowers Deanston, and perhaps that is why it wins in the end. I dont wan’t (peat) power decide, but Longrow is not peated enough to compete with truly peaty whiskies.

Deanston 12 vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Very similar color. Glen Scotia is light and elegant on the nose, Deanston more dried fruits. Glen Scotia is strong at 51% and first impression is a significant sherry component (slightly surprised because it does not say on the box/bottle). Deanston is good, rich and balanced, more grain and warehouse than fruit. Back to Glen Scotia with water, and I like it; sherry but not too much of it. But it not so much more than Sherry and I find Deanston much richer, so I prefer Deanston.

Deanston 12 vs Longrow: These are surprisingly similar, but the only advantage to Longrow is its peatiness, and Deanston has a deeper and more smooth flavour.

Deanston Oloroso Finish 9 vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Color is similar. Deanston has friendly aroma, not very powerful. Glen Scotia is more sweat and heavy. Tasting Deanston is it quite sharp and a bit thin, but good (I add more water to it). Glen Scotia is sweeter and also a bit saltier. Back to Deanston it has now more flavour; it is good but not too rich. Glen Scotia has more to offer though; even though its both salty and sweet it has a united body and it is very tasty.

Brora 38 vs Longrow 14: Brora is, despite its age, clearly more peated. And Longrow being a fantastic whisky tastes a bit simple and thin compared to this old Brora.

Glendronach 18 Allardice beats Glenmorangie 10.

Glendronach 18 Allardice loses to Highland Park 18 Viking Pride.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated beats For Peats Sake.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Bushmills Single Malt 12: The older whiskey is significantly darker in color, and has a richer aroma (raisins). The difference in taste is perhaps a bit less, but the 12 year old is better.

Famous Grouse vs J&B: Very similar in color. Famous Grouse smells glue and plastic, and that is not nice when it is not even compared to anything yet. J&B on the other hand smells “mash” or home made spirit. They are simply unpleasant in different ways, but I think J&B is worse. Tasting J&B is not that bad though. Famous Grouse is a lot saltier. Both taste kind of unnatural, but not trival to pick a winner. J&B is more dull, there is nothing I like about it. I think Famous Grouse wins, for at least trying and having some character. With some water and good will I almost like it.
(This was an old – worse – bottle of Famous Grouse)

Floki Young Malt vs Jura Superstition: Similar in color. Floki smells like the rotten water that can come out of a radiator when you air it. Compared to that Jura is excellent on the nose (but not very rich). With those expectations set, I kind of appreciate the taste of Floki. There is little I like about the flavour of Jura. Floki is very young, and that is how it tastes. If you are going to have one of these for your collection, get Floki for originality. But if I have to drink one, Jura is preferable.

Deanston 12 vs Hazelburn 10: Deanston a bit darker. Hazelburn is pleasant and balanced on the nose. Deanston is surprisingly similar. Hazelburn is also very pleasant in the mouth: soft, balanced and a bit creamy. Deanston is saltier and a bit rougher, surprisingly. These whiskies are not very different and I find it hard to pick a favourite. Very close, I prefer Hazelburn.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Makers Mark: The bourbon is much darker in color. The Irish is nice, balanced, fruity and a bit winey on the nose. The american is caramel and oak. Tasting Bushmills is good. Makers Mark also tastes good, much sweeter. Back to the Irishman it is still good. Despite Makers Mark being so sweet there is something not soft about it. Bushmills on the other hand is slightly chemical and bitter. I prefer Bushmills.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig a bit darker. Bunnah has that smell of old closet. Laphroaig is salty and peaty on the nose. Bunnah has so much flavour, it tastes sweet and old (despite its young age). After tasting Bunnah, Laphroig actually smells a bit pale. Tasting Laphroig is just excellent… salty and fresh. Back to Bunnah, it is still very good though, but Laphroig wins on simply being better.

Famous Grouse vs Jura Superstition: Jura is much darker. Famous Grouse initially not so bad on the nose, some glue though. Jura is sweeter on the nose. Famous Grouse tastes much alcohol and is quite sharp and a bit chemical (glue). Jura is not particularly good, but it smoother, and in this game that is enough to win.

Crown Royal Rye vs Jim Beam Rye: Very similar color. Also similar on the nose, the american a bit richer. Crown Royal is a firework of flavours in the mouth, a bit like 5 different candies at the same time. Jim Beam tastes more classic, like a stricter and dryer bourbon. Elderberry in Crown Royal, is this whiskey? I would almost have guessed a spiced liqeur or something. I can enjoy the canadian but Jim Beam wins.

Deanston 8 Red Wine beats Deanston Virgin Oak: the 8 year old is simply smoother and tastier.

Highland Park 18 Viking Pride vs Old Pulteney 18: Both whiskies are very easy to drink and soft, but both leaving me with a feeling of that I hoped for more. Highland Park is clearly but softly peated, but that comes with a significant sourness. Old Pulteney is a bit bitter first, but explodes in the mouth with nice flavours. I prefer Old Pulteney.

Balcones Peated vs Jim Beam Black: Similar color. Jim Beam has a characteristic bourbon smell, a bit chemical. Balcones is clearly peated on the nose, also sweet. At first Jim Beam tastes better than it smells, it is soft and rich. Balcones needs more water (being 65%), both sweet and peated also in flavour. Back to Jim Beam, still reasonably pleasant, but it does not benefit from being compared to a peated malt whisky. Balcones needs more water. I think Balcones is a whisky with a quite narrow sweet flavour, not very rich and interesting, with a hint of peat on top. On the nose it is much better than Jim Beam. When it comes to the taste I am not equally convinced, but I think Balcones is better than Jim Beam.

Jim Beam Black vs Jim Beam Rye: JB Rye is stricter, less sweet and chemial, on the nose. The same is true for the taste. I prefer the Rye, being like a bourbon, but a little bit less so.

Balvenie Triple Cask vs Bushmills 12: Very similar color. Balvenie is spicy and fresh on the nose, Bushmills more sweet. Tasting it, Balvenie is very good: rich, tasty and balanced and soft. Bushmills taste thin, bitter and chemical in comparison. Balvenie is better.

Balvenie 12 Triple Cask vs Hazelburn 10: Hazelburn is paler, and on the nose a bit peated or at least salty compared to Balvenie. Hazelburn tastes like the sea, a bit dry. Balvenie is a bit thin in comparison, but still quite good. I think Hazelburn is has more to offer and it wins.

Deanston 12 vs Glenfarcas 17: Very similar color, Glenfarcas perhaps a wee darker. On the nose Deanston is more winey, and Glenfarcas more anonymous. When it comes to taste Glenfarcas is soft and nice and it has something to offer. But to me, Deanston is superior.

Jim Beam Rye vs Makers Mark: Similar in color. Jim Beam has more wood character on the nose while Makers Mark has more candy character. Makers Mark tastes fine, a bit sharp. The Rye whiskey is more bitter. After a few more tastes it is clear to me that I prefer Jim Beam Rye.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Jim Beam Rye: Similar color. Jim Beam is sweeter, more chemical, on the nose. Tasting, Deanston is dryer and less sweet, but it is much softer and richer. Clear victory for Scotland, although there are similarities between these two.

Jim Beam Rye vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Similar in color, but Jim Beam has more to offer to the nose. When it comes to taste they both have good sides and significant bad sides (too much wood – particularly the Ranger Creek mesquite wood is weird). I prefer Jim Beam Rye.

Crown Royal Rye vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Mackmyra much paler. On the nose Mackmyra is like a white wine, while Crown Royal is more like a fruit liqeur (although I think more of vegetable). At first taste Mackmyra is decently good; dry, a bit burnt. Crown Royal is richer and tastier. Back to Mackmyra, it is this burnt undeveloped wood. I prefer the Canadian.

Glenfarcas 17 vs Longrow 13 Red: Color is quite similar. Glenfarcas has a nice subtle balanced aroma. Longrow is clearly peated. Tasting Glenfarcas is good, nothing to complain about for being an old speyside malt, but not too interesting either. Longrow is quite light despite the peat, also very pleasant. Back to Glenfarcas it is still perfect after trying the peated Longrow, and that is good for a non-peated whisky. Back to Longrow I more taste that salty dry Springbank flavour than the peat. It is not a trivial decision. I was about to pick Glenfarcas, but it is too dull. Longrow wins.

Jim Beam Rye vs Knob Creek 9: Knob creek is a bit darker in color. To the nose they are quite similar. Very similar. Knob Creek is a bit sweeter while Jim Beam is a bit more spicy. Tasting Knob Creek it is strong, rich and with a quite deep and impressive long lingering taste. Jim Beam is more thin. I add a few drops of water to Knob Creek, and two drops to Jim Beam. Tasting Jim Beam again, bitterness dominates. Knob Creek is better.

Bushmills 10 vs Knob Creek 9: The Irishman is much paler. The aroma, I would have expected Knob Creek to be much more powerful, but the difference wasn’t that large. Bushmills is lighter, more like wine. Knob Creek is thicker and sweeter. At first Bushmills tastes quite nice, a bit sharp, a bit bitter, but overall quite nice. Knob Creek is more powerful (it is 10% stronger but I have compensated with same water): sweet and bourbon wood. Back to Bushmills it is quite rich in flavour. And over to Knob Creek it is a bit overwhelming in its brutality. Bushmills, being softer, stands up nicely and does not fade in comparison. Knob Creek lacks in balance and elegance. I understand if you are a Bourbon fan, but I prefer Bushmills 10.

Longrow 13 Red vs Longrow 14 Sherry: These beasts are very similar in color. Perhaps the Sherry is darker but it is also strongar (57 vs 51). Red has a deep peaty aroma. Sherry too, but clearly with a Sherry touch. Otherwise they are very similar to the nose – but the Sherry is more dominant than the Red. Tasting Red (with a bit of water) it has so much flavour; very rich almost thick. Same for the Sherry, but it is not balanced as the Red. I add more water to both. Back to Red, it is an almost complete whisky. Switching to Sherry it is now watered down to a more pleasant level – although I find the Sherry too dominant for my taste. This is difficult because these are both quite overwhelming, even with not so little water. I prefer Red.

Longrow vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Quite similar in color, actually (the Sherry may be more watered down). Longrow has a quite light aroma (considering it is supposed to be peated). First impression I like the taste of Longrow – straight, dry and salty. Sherry is a bit richer (sweeter, fruiter, kind of obvious). Back to Longrow, it still holds. This is neither easy nor obvious. I prefer plain Longrow to its older and Sherry-stored brother. You may disagree, but I think Longrow does its thing better than Sherry.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask vs Smögen Sherry P201: I had the privilage to try a Swedish private cask from Smögen (P201) matured on Sherry Casks. It is a quite young malt (4-5Y), and I can notice that. On the nose it is a bit peated and a bit sherry. In the mouth it has the young burn immature wood flavour, some peat and not to little Sherry flavour. The aftertaste is bitter. I really like that new destilleries show up in my home country, and I am both willing to buy from them and be enthusiastic about their products. But it is also important to be realistic about what can be expected of a 4-5 YO whisky from a new destillery. A standard Macallan is a better sherry whisky for less money.

Balcones Peated vs Smögen Sherry P201: Balcones is more red in color. On the nose Balcones is sweeter (with a hint of peat) while Smögen smells more of fire. I have watered Balcones down, but not enough: it is sweet, sour and strong in my mouth. Smögen mostly has a peated character after Balcones. Back to Balcones it is getting better with water, but I add more. Smögen is getting better, really. These are very different whiskies. Smögen is much peatier with a subtle sherry flavour. Balcones is very sweet, with a subtle peat flavour. I much prefer Smögen.

Balcones vs Balcones Peated: Quite similar color. When it comes to the nose, the peated one has something sweet-and-sour, while the non-peated feels more fruity and rich. Tasting gives me the same impression; it is like the peat hides some good stuff, or compensates for some good stuff missing. Standard Balcones tastes much better than the peated one.

Smögen Sherry P201 beats Balcones as well.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Smögen Sherry P201: Quite similar color. The aroma of Longrow is both peat and sherry in a balance. Smögen is clearly more peated (at least to the nose). Tasting Longrow it is rich, peated and a hint of sherry (and a little swimming pool!). Smögen tastes fine after Longrow, but it is rougher and younger and simply just can’t compare.

Antiquary 12 vs Famous Grouse: Similar color. Antiquary has a much more subtle aroma compared to Famous Grouse, but it is also more pleasant. Tasting Antiquary it has a blend character, but it is also salty and has a quite smooth long after taste. Famous Grouse is more bitter and disappears quicker. Antiquary is clearly preferable.

Famous Grouse vs Storm: Storm is more subtle on the nose, and has a more balanced, rich and tasty flavour.

Antiquary 12 vs Storm: Storm is richer on the nose, but Antiquary is perhaps more pleasant (although very subtle). The same is true for the mouth, although these are quite comparable. Storm wins – for being richer – while Antiquary is very anonymous.

Antiquary 12 is more pleasant than Jura Superstition.

Antiquary 21 vs Glenmorangie 10: Antiquary is darker in color. Glenmorangie has lighter, fruitier and more white-wine like aroma. Antiquary has a saltier, spicier aroma. First taste of Glenmorangie is fresh and good, not very soft though. Antiquary, well it has complexity and it is salty and spicy… but it is not so tasty, and also not so soft. Adding some water to it and Antiquary gets a bit better – now I feel some peat too. I give it to Antiquary, it is better.

Laphroaig 10 vs Talisker 10: Very similar color. When it comes to the nose, this is like a wrestling game where they both try to beat each other. To me, there is a first impression, and then my senses are weakened. Laphroig is dryer and Talisker more oily. Tasting Talisker is great, powerful, complex yet smooth and balanced. Tasting Laphroig, a bit thinner. Back and forth, I Talisker is the more impressive one.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Tomatin 15: First impression is that Tomatin is remarkably pale. They have a very similar – very thin – aroma (speyside whisky). Tomatin was surprisingly sharp, almost having a hint of peat, when tasting it. Glenfarclas is richer, but slightly bitter. I add a splash of water to both. Tonight, both whiskies are disappointing and dull, with Glenfarclas having a slight advantage. Is this whisky for people who don’t like flavour?

Glenfarclas 17 vs Glenmorangie 10: Glenfarlas is darker in color. Glenmorangie is more wine and fruit on the nose, while Glenfarclas is very pure in its malt character. The flavour of Glenmorangie is initially a good experience, quite rich and balanced. Glenfarclas, again more subtle and perhaps less to offer. Glenfarcas sligthly on the bitter side, Glenmorangie a bit too sweet and fruity. If I were to argue for Glenfarclas I would say it is a very pure, clean and refined speyside whisky, and if I were to take it even further I would argue that if you don’t like it (or find it perfect) you dont really like malt whisky (but rather the “spices” or other brands). But I would fool myself and everyone else to say I prefer Glenfarclas.

Hazelburn 10 vs Hibiki Harmony: The japanese is perhaps slightly darker in color. The aroma of Hazelburn is dry with a hint of peat. Hibiki is more spicy, but not really sweet. I start tasting Hibiki and there is a lot of flavour; nice and balanced (I remembered it as more different but now it is very classic). Hazelburn is rougher (so I give it some water). In the end Hibiki has more to offer and is easier to enjoy.

Glen Scotia Victoriana vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Well, similar in color, Macallan smells a bit cheap compared to the more subtle Glen Scotia (I am not a big fan of sherry). Glen Scotia, being cask strength needed water, but in the end it remained solid, balanced, rich and a bit salty. Macallan, although balanced and rich, can not quite match this Glen Scotia (although a sherry lover whould probably disagree).

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Tomatin 15: Two very pale malts. Mackmyra has the classic pear-aroma. Tomatin on the other hand has a surprisingly rich and classic aroma. Tasting Mackmyra is a mixed impression – it has some quality and flavour. Tomatin is surprisingly thin in flavour, but more classic. Back and forth a few times, Tomatin wins.

Crown Royal Rye vs Jim Beam Black: Very similar deep color. The aroma of JB is more classic and CR is more elderberry. First taste of CR is not very convincing – too many weird flavours. Jim Beam is less sweet, a little more bitter, but I like it better.

Balvenie 12 Triple Cask vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Macallan is perhaps slightly darker in color. Macallan in soft on the nose but there is something about the Sherry that… Balvenie is fruitier, softer and more subtle. Macallan tastes excellent though. So does Balvenie. Back to Macallan it is not so good anymore. Balvenie clear winner.

Longrow 13 Red vs Nikka from the Barrel: Nikka slightly paler. First impression is that Nikka has a quite subtle but classic aroma. Longrow clearly peated. Nikka tastes good. Longrow has more, but it is also a little over the top. I add water to both. I am surprised to say it, but Longrow despite being peated and powerful is not so rich and full of flavour as I would have expected and I don’t think the red wine cask is to its advantage. Nikka och the other hand – being more conservative – is more balanced, refined and pleasant. I actually prefer Nikka.

Laphroaig 10 vs Ledaig 10: I don’t usually think of Laphroig as a whisky with dark color, but Ledaig is very much more pale. These heavily peated whiskies are difficult on the nose. First Ledaig is very powerful, then Laphroig and Laphroig smells not so much. Back to Ledaig it smells chemical. Starting over with Laphroig it is like Roquefort cheese. Ledaig more sour, maybe fish. To the nose, Laphroig is more balanced and Ledaig … out there. Tasting Ledaig it has what I expected of a salty peaty island whisky. Laphroig is more thick and oily. I was about to let Laphroig win, but… Ledaig is easier to drink yet it has the peat and the sea in a very dry and elegant way. Laphroig is more, but more is not always better (and it has nothing to do here, but Talisker was more than Laphroig in a more convincing way).

Caol Ila 12 vs Lagavulin 1984 Double Wood: This Lagavulin was bought and opened in 2001-2002, and it is much darker in color than the very pale Caol Ila. When it comes to aroma Lagavulin is remarkably rich and I clearly feel “jerusalem artichoke”. Caol Ila is, on the nose, not really in the game. Tasting Caol Ila is nice; salty, peaty, rich and nice. But also when it comes to flavour Caol Ila is not in the game: this Lagavulin has so much flavour, yet it is so soft (I wonder if the many years have made it slightly less strong and a bit rounder).

Brora 38 vs Lagavulin 1984 Double Wood: The Lagavulin (probably 17 YO when bottled) reminded me so much of my Brora 38 that I need to test them side by side. Color is similar, but surprisingly, on the nose Brora is much softer, almost like wine, after this Lagavulin. Leaving both alone for a while, when coming back Brora smells like a horse stable. Not touching Lagavulin. Tasting Brora leaves me speechless: perfection and completeness. Lagavulin is just vulgar, sweet and thick in comparison.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Very similar color. Not very different on the nose actually. Deanston has a slight bourbon character, while Victoriana has a slight Sherry (part of it is supposed to be finalized on PX casks) aroma. First taste of Deanston it has a clear bourbon character (of the virgin oak, obviously) but it is more like a scotch than a bourbon. First impression of Victoriana (apart from that it needs water) is that it is sweeter (perhaps in a red wine way) and slightly peated. It improves with water and turns Deanston quite dull. I read about the Victoriana that it is first matured on first fill bourbon oak, and second matured on PX and heavy charred barrels. I think I can somehow say that Glen Scotia tastes like different whiskies mixed, while Deanston is more compact. The more I drink and compare, the less sure I am. I choose Deanston: I think it does its thing better than Glen Scotia, and I think Deanston is easier to appreciate.

Springbank 15 vs Springbank 15 Rum: To my surprise, the Rum matured whisky is clearly paler. The aroma of the normal one is excellent, peated, salty and dry, just what I expect of a Springbank. The Rum one is less peated, more subtle. At 51% rum is quite enjoyable (although perhaps to strong for a real impression). The standard is very enjoyable, peated, salted and dry just as it should be. Back to rum, compared the standard it is missing something, while not having so much extra. I add more water and it (rum) is excellent. I choose to prefer standard, because I like Springbank the way it is. But people who find Springbank a bit rough can probably appreciate rum more.

Longrow 18 vs Springbank 15: These are very similar, both to the eye and to the nose. But, yes, Longrow is more peated, it perhaps needed a few minutes in the air first. Tasting Longrow it is clearly peated and it has an impressive richness, softness and balance. Springbank is fresher and a bit more … like just Springbank is. Back to Longrow, it is just so perfectly complete. Back to Springbank, it really gives this Longrow a match. If you love the Springbank character you will prefer Springbank, but if you find peat good, Longrow is more refined. Longrow wins.

Longrow vs Springbank 10: Longrow is the paler one (barely). Quite similar aroma, Longrow is a bit more peated and Springbank a bit more fruity (compared to Longrow, it is still a nice dry Springbank). Tasting Springbank; so many flavours, I think of white German wine. But it is ok. Longrow, with its clear peat and sea-character, is more conservative. Slightly… disappointed… with Springbank I think Longrow is a better whisky, and I think this Springbank is a little odd with all its fruitiness.

Balvenie 12 Triple Cask vs Springbank 10: Balvenie slightly darker in color. On the nose Balvenie is much richer, dried fruits, wine. Springbank is not quite there, very subtle. But there is much flavour in Springbank, and it is balanced in a good way, while Balvenie is a little sweet and flavoured. I prefer Springbank.

Balcones vs Balvenie 12 Triple Cask: Balcones very red. More oak aroma in Balcones, more like bourbon. Starting with Balcones it is sweet, like a bourbon but not quite. Good, I add water. Balvenie is less sweet and more in the sherry direction. Back to Balcones, it is enjoyable and good, but a bit too much of one thing (sweet mixed with bourbon). Balvenie is more balanced and interesting.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Springbank 10: Deanston is slightly darker. On the nose Springbank is dustier (drier) and Deanston, well, not that convincing in this company (a bit chemical). But Deanston tastes really good, classic scotch flavour with a touch of bourbon. Springbank is more peated. I like Deanston and it tries to match Springbank, but it is not quite there. Springbank wins.

Brora 38 vs Springbank 18: The only thing I own that I guess could match this Springbank is my Brora, so I poured up a wee dram. Color is similar, Brora slighly darker. On the nose, Brora is more powerful. Springbank is lighter, Brora has jerusalem artichoke (perhaps too much of it). Apart from everything I expect of a Springbank, first it is a bit oily and in the end it is a bit pepper. Brora is remarkably long and balanced (with the jerusalem artichoke). I add a little water to both and eat some cheese. Back to Springbank it has everything, I can’t describe it. Back to Brora, I am not decided which is better. So if you can never get your hands on a Brora 38; try Springbank 18 and you are almost there. For a short moment I thought of putting Springbank 18 first, but no, Brora 18 is better by a margin. I can’t explain the flavour, it is just so complete and so perfect.

Glenlivet Archive 21 vs Springbank 18: Springbank remarkably pale for is age. Glenlivet has a soft, deep aroma, hints of oak. Compared to that, Springbank is dominated by peat. Glenlivet tastes as soft and deep as it smells; quite perfect, perhaps lacking something extra. Springbank is peaty and much more sour. Sometimes power wins over softness, but the Glenlivet is not defeated so easily. Springbank 18 may be amazing, but Glenlivet is so tasty. I prefer Glenlivet.

Brora 38 vs Glenlivet Archive 21: Similar color. Brora more peated on the nose. Tasting both, it is quite close. They are different, Brora more powerful and Glenlivet so very soft. These two whiskies actually don’t bring out the best in each other; they both fade when compared (sadly). Anyone who prefers peated whisky would pick Brora, but when it comes to complexity and richness to me, they are equals. Glenlivet is easier to enjoy so I will let it win.

Longrow 18 vs Springbank 18: Longrow much darker than the very pale Springbank. Also, Longrow a bit more peated to the nose, but not that much difference. Tasting both, no, this Springbank can not match this Longrow.

Springbank 15 vs Springbank 18: Usually I almost just assume the older one is better, but this time I am not so sure. The younger one is darker in color. I am not going to write how Springbank tastes. The younger one is definitely better: softer, richer, deeper and more like a Springbank. The older one is more sour, sharper and rougher.

Lagavulin 1984 Double Matured vs Longrow 18: Lagavulin is darker in color, and to the nose Longrow is light when compared. This Lagavulin has probably evaporated a little over the year in is remarkably soft. Longrow is saltier and more distinct. This is hard. (to be decided).

Longrow vs Springbank 18: Very similar color. Very very similar aroma and taste as well. Is it the same whisky? I give victory to Springbank 18, but I am beginning to wonder what was in my Springbank 18 sample.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Longmorn 16: Longmorn a little paler. I like the aroma of Glenfiddich, soft and rich. Longmorn is not very different, perhaps Longmorn is more balanced and flawless. Tasting Glenfiddich it is surprisingly salty, a bit thin but not in a bad way, there is much nice flavour easily accessible. Longmorn is a little more powerful and I add little water to it. Both these whiskies have very typical Speyside character, with an extra touch of exotic barrels. Longmorn has a more dense flavour body, it is harder to separate the good flavours from each other, and it is a little bitter. Glenfiddich on the other hand has a wider flavour range, but is a bit thinner and … not so balanced perhaps. Longmorn is more fruit and wine. I think Longmorn is better, but it is perhaps more demanding. Glenfiddich 15 is very easy to enjoy, at first, but lacks something in the long run.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Loch Lomond 12: Glenfiddich is more pale, and has a light aroma: fruity fresh citrus. Loch Lomond has an aroma of leather, even a hint of farm, and something slightly chemical that could make me think it was a blend. Tasting Loch Lomond I was surprised to find it so rich and mature, even salty and peated. Glenfiddich is thinner, less flavour, which leaves a bitter and chemical impression. Loch Lomond is better.

Bushmills 12 vs Loch Lomond 12: The irish is a little darker. On the nose the Irish is more caramel. Tasting Bushmills, it is good. Very soft and pleasant to drink. Loch Lomond is more powerful and I add a splash of water to it, but that might not have improved it. Back to Bushmills, it does its thing very good. Loch Lomond, not quite so much.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Loch Lomond 15: Loch Lomond is a bit darker, but is also stronger so that could explain. Glenfiddich has a nice aroma but not much personality (it’s premium speyside with some sweet notes). Loch Lomond is thicker, I wrote leather and blend (whisky) on the 12YO and the 15YO is very similar. Not convinced. Glenfiddich 15 tastes excellent: balanced, slightly salty and soft like you would expect. Loch Lomond (again as the 12YO) is surprisingly peated. I find Loch Lomond has much … personality … it is a bit different. I add a little water to it, but it does not quite fly. This Glenlivet is quite flawless and delicate in its category, but I see no reason have this Loch Lomond at hand.

Old Pulteney 12 vs Loch Lomond 15: Loch Lomond darker and also more mellow, deep and pleasant on the nose, Old Pulteney a bit more … sour. Tasting Old Pulteney, not bad at all, easy to drink with a salty sea character. Loch Lomond has more flavour, but is it better? To me, Loch Lomond is too bitter. I prefer Old Pulteney here.

Glenfiddich 15 vs Old Pulteney 12: Glenfiddich Darker, Old Pulteney has more sea aroma while Glenfiddich is more reserved on the nose. These are both tasty whiskies, and I am a bit surprised (and disappointed) that Glenfiddich is not obviously better. They are surprisingly similar, with Old Pulteney saltier, but quite the same balance and wealth of flavour. But back and forth, Glenfiddich is the more pleasant whisky, and if you look for a slightly sweet, flawless, easy to drink whisky (perhaps for someone who never had single malt before) this Glenfiddich is a good choice.

Loch Lomond 18 vs Longrow: Longrow clearly paler. I can’t say anything about Loch Lomond 18 that I did not say about 12/15 when it comes to the aroma: leather and blended (a bit unusual, but not fantastic). Longrow is lighter, peatier, fresher. Tasting Loch Lomond 18, it is quite similary to (what I remember of) 12/15: thick, a bit peated (not so surprised anymore, perhaps it faded with the years or perhaps I got used to it). I add some water to both. I do prefer Longrow, it does it light peated salty fresh thing in a good way. Loch Lomond does not smell very good, and although the flavour is not bad, I can hardly say it is pleasant.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Loch Lomond 18: Very similar color. Glenfarclas has a light aroma, and for Loch Lomond I fear the smell I find dominating is fusel oil. I taste both, and they are both quite ok. Loch Lomond is more oily, Glenfarclas is more elegant. I prefer Glenfarclas.

Loch Lomond 15 vs Loch Lomond 18: Can not see any difference in color. 18YO is more oily to the nose (and it is a bad thing), while 15YO is fruitier. Tasting them, they are quite similar. 18YO is more powerful, requires more water. But both when it comes to aroma and flavour there is something unpleasant about 18YO, so I prefer 15YO.

Longrow 13 Red vs Longrow: To they eye, Red is redder. To the nose, Red is more powerful: more peat, more sweet and more blood (yes, someone else called it that). I taste Red, have mixed feelings about it, and add water. Honestly, whatever the red wine did to this Longrow, it was not for the better. Standard Longrow on the other hand is stable and good. Red is a bit “extra”: is that good or bad? I try to see it both ways. But standard Longrow is flawless in its own way, Red is a weird funny experiment. Standard wins.

Lagavulin 16 vs Lagavulin 1984 Double Wood: Very similar (rich dark) color. 1984 has more jerusalem artichoke aroma. 16YO obviously has a very rich and complex aroma, but somehow a bit shadowed by 1984. Tasting 16YO is great: so many flavours of sea, fire, wood and smoke, but it still has something fresh and young about it. 1984 is softer and very easy to drink (this bottle has been open for almost 20 years and I expect it to have changed). Also 16YO is very soft for being so powerful. It is hard to pick a favourite. I remember testing 1984 against 16YO many years ago and they were quite similar, with 1984 a bit more complex and rich. So I let 1984 win, but my old bottle is getting tired.

Motörhead vs Loch Lomond 18: Similar color. Motörhead has a sweet aroma with hints of bourbon and oak. Loch Lomond is (still) oily in a way I find unpleasant. Tasting Motörhead it is a bit sharp, a bit thin, a bit bourbon; mixed impressions. Tasting Loch Lomond without smelling it, it is bitter, sharp yet quite complex. Motörhead is mostly pleasant, Loch Lomond is not, so I prefer Motörhead.

Jura Superstition vs Loch Lomond 18: Similar color, and Jura has a lighter aroma, which is a good thing. First taste of Jura is not bad. Loch Lomond not too different. Jura is milder. Loch Lomond more powerful. Back to Jura it is really pleasant (who would have thought). Loch Lomond is not pleasant.

Jim Beam Black vs Makers Mark: Very similar color. JBB has a very pleasant typical bourbon aroma, MM very similar, parhaps a little more subtle and less sweet. JBB a bit more spicy aroma. Tasting JBB, it is quite good, not so overwhelming. Makers Mark is more pure alcohol and less flavour. Back to JBB, yes it is softer. Makers mark is harder to enjoy.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Jim Beam Black: Glenfiddich is more pale in color, and more pale on the nose, almost fruity. Tasting both, there is less flavour in Glenfiddich – it is more subtle, delicate, soft… and complex, and less bitter. Glenfiddich wins (but if you prefer bourbon to scotch in general you are welcome to disagree).

Makers Mark vs White Walker: WW is very pale. Immediately the smell, WW is quite unpleasant (chemical, sour) while MM has a nice bourbon aroma. WW tastes bad too, like fish, really unpleasant. I will add ice to both! That kind of eliminated the aroma of WW, which was a good thing. Tasting WW, well, less disgusting, definitely. There is not much character left, so if you don’t like flavour in general or bourbon in particular, WW with ice is better than MM with ice. But if you think boubon is fine and flavor is fine, don’t get WW.

Jim Beam Black vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: JBB is a bit darker in color, with a clear Bourbon aroma. RCR is a bit shy on the nose, it is whisky, not much more to say. Tasting RCR, a bit burnt and quite good (the mesquite wood not so dominant as I remembered). JBB has more flavour and is sweeter. Back to RCR, it is not bad but it is not enough.

Crown Royal Rye vs Ranger Creek Rimfire: Similar color and not so much aroma in either. Both these are a little weird for being whiskies, but CRR is at least weird in a funny way (candy and flowers) and tonight I prefer it to RCR.

Glenmorangie Signet vs Jameson Black Barrel: I was impressed with this Jameson and decided to compare it to Signet, but the difference is huge, Jameson is not at all up to Signet.

Hibiki Harmony vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Color is similar. On the nose Coffey malt is quite light, almost sour. Harmony is sweeter, more caramel. In the mouth Coffey malt is quite different though, a bit sweet, spicy and even oily. It has some candy-character both in aroma and flavour. Harmony is rich, balanced and soft (without the candy). Back to Coffey malt it is good, but not quite perfect and flawless the way Harmony is.

Ledaig “Sansibar”: I got a sample of this and it is quite pale and rather peated. Lets start against a Talisker 10, which is clearly darker in color. Well, the nose, this was not so easy. Ledaig is drier, more peated. Talisker is is more oily and rich. I prefer Talisker. I will try Ledaig against Hven Tycho Star (which also has quite much fire/smoke-character as I remember it). Hven is much darker. On the nose, Hven is less peated and less interesting. Tasting both, Hven is softer, more smooth, but in the category of peated whisky I think Ledaig is better. Finally I pour up a little Laphroaig 10 and find it darker in color and slightly less peated, but richer on the nose (than Ledaig). Laphroig is more oily, Ledaig drier. I think Laphroig has more to offer, Ledaig is very much dry and peat, but not so much more.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Loch Lomond 15: Similar color. Loch Lomond has more aroma, sweeter and more oily but Glenfarclas is more elegant. Tasting both it is a bit the same thing. Glenfarclas is perhaps more boring but it is also more flawless as I see it, and I prefer it.

Nikka Coffey Malt vs Old Pulteney 12: Nikka a little bit darker in color. On the nose Nikka is sweeter, I would like to say caramel but more synthetic. Old Pulteney is more sea and medicine. Tasting Nikka it has much to offer, there is a sweetness quite dominant, but saltiness and spice also there. Old Pulteney is not so different, but without the sweetness. I add little water to both. Nikka has wine in its aroma (I guess there is no sherry casks involved, but I know not). The flavour is, a bit like a blend. Old Pulteney is simpler. To the advantage of Nikka it is more spectacular (while OP is more boring conservative). To the disadvantage of Nikka it tastes synthetic glue. I am not going to say I prefer Nikka (on every occation) but it is more interesting and they both have their strenghts and weaknesses.

Loch Lomond Original vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Mackmyra is much paler. Mackmyra has a quite sharp aroma, a bit fruity and a bit odd. Loch Lomond smells like a stable. And after Loch Lomond, Mackmyra is like a Grappa. Lets taste! Loch Lomond is not so bad, it also has a taste of horse. Mackmyra is… smooth, a bit salty, and with a hint of nuts… interesting. I could rule either way. Both are unpleasant in different ways. Loch Lomond wins… for… being more original (and soft).

Loch Lomond Original vs Motörhead: Motörhead is darker in color. Compared to LL, Motörhead has an elegant aroma of bourbon, dried fruits. Tasting Motörhead it is very soft, mostly sweet (raisins) and not too rich in flavour. But it is much more pleasant than LL.

Longmorn 16 vs Springbank 15 Rum: Longmorn is slightly darker in color. On the nose Longmorn has a quite light but altogether pleasant aroma. Springbank is heavier: sweeter, more oil, more salt. I start tasting Longmorn and it has much of what I want in a speyside whisky, and the nice flavour remains for long in the mouth. Springbank is more powerful (and sweet and salty) but it does not quite remain as elegantly in the mouth as Longmorn. I add a little water to both. Back to Longmorn, it is simply very easy to like. Spingbank has sweetness (from the Rum) and its unique saltiness (for Springbank), but is it as good as Longmorn? I am surprising myself, but I enjoy Longmorn more, it is more refined, and Springbank is a marriage of two things and not as integrated and balanced as Longmorn.

Springbank 9 Local Barley vs Springbank 15: Local Barley is much paler. On the nose Local Barley is saltier and fresher while 15YO is heavier, deeper and sweeter. I add water to Local Barley (because it is cask strength) and it gets a bit fruity. Tasting Local Barley I really like it, salty fresh, rich, uncompromising (I add more water). 15YO has much softer flavour – it is sherry cask? These are two good whiskies that kind of don’t enhance each other head to head. I prefer 9YO local barley.

Old Pulteney 18 vs Springbank 15: Similar color, Springbank 15 has a sweeter (Sherry-like) aroma. Tasting Old Pulteney it is excellent: balanced, salty, sea, rich, soft. Springbank is also not bad, sweeter (I actually feel this blood-or-gundpower flavour in Springbank 15 that I have felt in Longrow 13 Red and Longrow 14 Sherry bofore, special, not necessarily great). I am surprising myself here, but I prefer Old Pulteney.

Glenmorangie Signet vs Macallan 2013 (20YO): Glenmorangie is slightly more red in color. Macallan has a very soft aroma, almost anonymous and secret, but very pleasant – yes a hint of Sherry, definitely. Glenmorangie is more overtly sweet (or Bourbon oak?). Macallan tastes just great, it has sweetness without too much sherry, but also speyside character, saltiness and a little bit of edge. Signet is very tasty, with a bourbon nutty caramel finish that I really like. Back to Macallan, it is (really) good but, lacking that extra? Signet, is it the best bourbon that is not a bourbon? Signet wins.

Glenmorangie Signet vs Springbank 15 Rum: Springbank is much paler. On the nose, both sweet but different flavour: bourbon for Signet, well (rum) for Springbank. Tasting Springbank, it is good. The sweetness/rum is subtle and the whisky is powerful and complex. Tasting Signet it has a perfect Bourbon flavour, it is soft and balanced. But Springbank has more to give. It is a matter of preference, obviously, but Springbank is the more interesting and rich whisky.

Longrow vs Nikka from the Barrel: Nikka is darker. Nikka has a rich, balanced, somewhat sweet aroma. Longrow is a bit peated and … fruity. At least, Longrow is more citrus and Nikka is more dark dried fruits. Tasting Nikka, hint of salty and spice, quite much oak flavour. Tasting Longrow, salt and sea, hints of peat but not too much. Not obvious at first, at least. Waiting a while and trying Longrow again: it is good, and over to Nikka, it is a bit sweet and (relatively) thin and dull. Longrow wins.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Similar color. Glenfiddich has a light, fresh appealing aroma. Nikka a bit heavier. Tasting Glenfiddich it is a smooth easy to drink and easy to enjoy whisky. Nikka has a stronger flavour (with that hint of syntetic glue). To me, Glenfiddich is by far the better whisky (like the real thing vs the toy, but if you prefer the toy it is up to you).

Glenlivet Founders Reserve vs Glenmorangie 10: Very similar (quite pale, Glenlivet slighly paler). Glenlivet very typical speyside aroma, a bit white wine fruitiness. Glenmorangie less fruity, more caramel. Tasting Glenlivet, a bit salty and dry, pleasant, a bit thin yet balanced. Glenmorangie sweeter as expected, a bit more personality, a little bitter in the end. No obvious winner here. Glenlivet is really an excellent reference whisky and a baseline speyside, but head to head, Glenmorangie has a little bit more to offer. Glenmorangie wins.

Antiquary 21 vs Glenlivet Founders Reserve: On a short note, Antiquary is a little darker on color, has a little more rich and sweet aroma, and tastes a little bit more complex: oily, salt, sweet and even a hint of peat. Antiquary is the better whisky, but not by so much.

Glenlivet 18 vs Glenlossie 18 (The Maltman, 1997-2015, PX Finish): Similar color. Glenlivet has a very classic speyside aroma. Glenlossie has clear Sherry aroma. Both are very pleasant on the nose. Tasting Glenlivet it tastes excellent, and I add a little water. Tasting Glenlossie it has a distinct sherry character and I add some water (it comes at 49%). Back to Glenlivet, it is a bit thin and dull. Over to Glenlossie (if I loved Sherry matured whisky I would completely love the aroma of it), it has a fresh saltiness first and a rich sherry character, very easy to drink… a hint citrus/sourness. To me this is a very even match with no clear winner. I will give it to Glenlossie.

Deanston 18 vs Glenlossie 18 (The Maltman, 1997-2015, PX Finish): Glenlossie has a more red color tone. On the nose, while Glenlossie has a very elegant sherry aroma, Deanston is a little rough: salty at best, but perhaps chemical. Tasting Deanston though is very pleasant: dry, complex, smooth and rich. Glenlossie has a more defined sherry flavour, but it lingers nicely for long. A little water in Deanston it is close to perfect in the mouth. Glenlossie does not have the same wealth of flavours (but its aroma is great and it lingers fantastically). Deanston may be a little more of a challenge, but to me it has more to offer and I prefer it.

Ardbeg Blaaack vs Ardbeg Corrywreckan: Similar color (neither very pale). Blaaack is quite fruity and sour, while Corrywreckan has the brutal salt, sea and peat that I would expect of an Ardbeg. Tasting Blaaack it is very thick and rich in flavour, almost overwhelming, and there is some peat there definitely. Corrywreckan is thinner, more burnt, more uncompromising. Back to Blaaack… I am not sure what whisky this Ardbeg wants to be. With more water Corrywreckan grows and I can’t prefer Blaaack.

For Peats Sake vs Ardbeg Blaaack: FPS is darker. AB a bit drier (and peatier) on the nose. Tasting both, For Peats Sake to Islay whisky what lemon dish washer is to a lemon. Ardbeg Blaaack wins on walk over.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Glenfiddich 12: Glenfarclas a bit darker, Glenfiddich has a fruitier aroma. Taste is surprisingly (disappointingly) similar, but Glenfarclas is a little deeper with sweet notes and even hints of peat. Glenfarclas wins.

Bushmills 10 vs Glenfiddich 12: Similar color, but Bushmills is lighter in the aroma, more fruity and a little chemical compared to Glenfiddich being more classic. Tasting Bushmills it is an easy to drink quite pleasant whisky, but it is quite clear that the drier Glenfiddich is the more sofisticated, elegant and rich whisky here.

Bushmills 12 vs Glenfarclas 17: Similar color. On the nose Glenfarclas has some raisins or dark dried fruits while Bushmills, lighter and a bit perfume. Tasting Bushmills it has a quite light yet classic tasty whisky flavour. Glenfarcas is a bit saltier, peatier and richer, and Bushmills can not compete.

For Peats Sake vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Mackmyra very pale. On the nose Mackmyra has a fresh aroma of fire and wood, while For Peats Sake more smells like the sour interior of a combustion engine. Tasting For Peats sake, it is enjoyable, but a bit strange. Mackmyra is lighter, more clean, much fresher and definitely preferable (I don’t even want to finish For Peats Sake).

Ardbeg Blaaack vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Mackmyra very pale. Ardbeg has a wealth of aroma and flavour that Mackmyra simply can not compete with.

Ardbeg Blaaack vs Longrow: Quite similar color, but Longrow is much more subtle in its aroma. I think also in flavour, Longrow is much more refined, balanced and enjoyable while Ardbeg is quite… noisy.

Aberfeldy 12: I had the opportunity to try Aberfeldy 12 against two familiar whiskies: Glenmorangie 10 and Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve. I found Aberfeldy and Glenfiddich nearly identical: Aberfeldy a bit sweeter, Glenfiddich a bit drier. I slightly prefer Glenfiddich. Glenmorangie 10 is good, but not as good as the other two.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenfarclas 105: Glenfarclas 105 is darker in color (even after being diluted to same strength). Also 105 has a quite clear bourbon aroma and taste, while 12YO is quite thin (yet flawless). I prefer 105.

Glenfarclas 105 vs Jim Beam Rye: Jim Beam is darker. Given Glenfarclas clear Bourbon character, and this Jim Beam being quite dry, the difference is not so big. Jim Beam is softer and very easy to drink, but Glenfarclas has more to offer.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Port Askaig 8: Ardbeg darker in color, and much heavier and more oily. Port Askaig is a light, yet peated, excellent young Islay malt. If you find Ardbeg “too much” or “over the top”, you will probably prefer the Port Askaig. To me, Ardbeg is slightly better.

Glenfarclas 105 vs Glenmorangie Signet: With both these I lately had the experience: this is like a bourbon but better. To how do they match against each other. Similar color, after Glenfarclas is watered down. On the nose Glenmorangie has more to give (it is probably a hint of Sherry there too – no surprise), it is very pleasant while Glenfarclas is more questionable (not bad). At first, Glenfarclas was to strong (not enough water) and Glenmorangie was way too sweet to me. This was difficult, not too impressed with either of them. They are not so different. Glenmorangie a bit (too) sweet and Glenfarclas slightly drier. Glenmorangie wins.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Glenmorangie Signet: Glenmorangie slightly darker. On the nose, Glenmorangie is more powerful and a little more sweet. Glenfiddich a bit maltier (perhaps drier). Tasting both, this is difficult. There is more flavour in Glenmorangie, more bourbon, sweet and sherry. But Glenfiddich has more malt whisky character. I understand this is a somewhat unconventional decision, but I prefer Glenfiddich.

Glenmorangie Signet vs Nikka Coffey Grain: Nikka more pale. Nikkas has a lighter sweetness on the nose. Tasting Nikka, it has saltiness, some spice, caramel (and a hint of syntetic glue, but not so bad). Tasting Signet, there is less flavour – it is not bad, but less. Back to Nikka I am not convinced. I take a little break, finish both of them, in bigger mouths, with a paus between. Nikka has its personality, but Glenmorangie wins.

Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004) vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018): Both on Sherry casks, color is similar dark, but brown rather than red. To the nose Mannochmore is surprisingly subtle with clear sherry hints. Strathmill is more fruity, also sherry of course. Tasting MM, this is a whisky very rich in flavour with a clear sherry origin although that is not too dominant. SM is slightly stronger but the impression is even more so; it needs water to open up I think (so far mostly sherry notes). MM is a truly complex whisky with Sherry and more. SM to me, is harder to get around. MM wins.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004): Longrow is more red in color, and a bit peated on the nose. Tasting Longrow it has a lot of flavour – not too peated – and hints of sherry. I like Mannochmore better.

Glen Scotia Victoriana vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018): Quite similar in color. On the nose GSV has a red-berry-like aroma, and bourbon. Tasting GSV, also (surprisingly much) bourbon. Strathmill is very good – but given the age – I wish it was more of it. GSV is more bitter and less soft. SM wins.

Deanston 18 vs Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004): Similar color. On the nose Mannochmore clearly has more sherry. Tasting Deanston, it is softer and less sweet than Mannochmore. I slightly prefer Deanston, but if you really like the sherry of MM or find the Deanston to kind you may disagree.

Deanston 18 vs Longrow 14 (old bottling): Longrow a little darker, and on the nose, a little more peated (yet softly). Tasting both, Longrow is more oily and has a hint of this old-whisky-jerusalem-artichoke. Both are very soft, and perhaps Deanston is easier to enjoy and Longrow has a bit more character. I prefer Longrow, but it is close.

Macallan 20 (1993-2013) vs Strathmill 24 (1994-2018): Strathmill slightly darker. Strathmill has a strong sherry aroma (iron/blood-smell, almost peated), while Macallan is softer and more traditional speyside character. The same goes for the taste: Macallan very balanced and soft with hints of Sherry, but Strathmill sharp and explicit. Strathmill may be more interesting or enjoyable to a Sherry fan, but I prefer Macallan.

Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004) vs Macallan 20 (1993-2013): Mannochmore a little darker. On the nose Mannochmore has more character while Macallan is softer (and more classic speyside, less sherry, aroma). Tasting both, actually quite similar! To me, Mannochmore is a bit too much sherry (blood?) and I prefer to drink Macallan. But Mannochmore might be more interesting.

Longrow 13 Red vs Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004): Longrow much more red in color, and Longrow has a more peated and salty aroma. Tasting Longrow first it was good, a bit thinner than expected and I thought MM would easiliy beat it, but MM was quite similar. MM is the softer version, Longrow the one with extra peat and stuff. I think Longrow is a bit “too much” and MM is more “just perfect” so I prefer Mannochmore, but if you like a hint of peat you will prefer Longrow.

Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) vs Longrow 13 Red: Strathmill slightly darker in color. To the nose, these whiskies are different in that Longrow is clearly peated and Strathmill is not. Tasting Strathmill it is nice and sweet (but surprisingly/disappointingly little more for being 24YO). Tasting Longrow, compared to Strathmill, its peated character dominates. I choose Longrow, for being more original and having more flavour, if nothing else.

Loch Lomond 12 vs Loch Lomond 15: Can’t see any color difference, both have a quite deep amber color. Similar on the nose, 15YO is perhaps a bit lighter (which in this case is probably a good thing) and pleasant. Tasting 12YO is a disappointment: sour, bitter and unpleasant at first. 15YO is not very different. I think 15YO is marginally better than 12YO.

Bushmills 12 vs Loch Lomond 15: Quite similar color, and Bushmills has the aroma of blue cheese and caramel, and Loch Lomond is more subtle on the nose. Bushmills also has a soft caramel and vanilla flavour. Loch Lomond, it is bitter but not that bad. Bushmills is a bit “cheap” and easy, and not at all perfect, but I cant really see any reason to prefer Loch Lomond.

Bushmills Original vs Motörhead: Bushmills is much more pale. Bushmills has that aroma of blended whisky – synthetic to me, while Motörhead is more dark fruity. After a few minutes I much prefer Motörhead under my nose. Tasting Bushmills it is thin: not so much bad, but it kind of tastes lika Bushmills plus vodka (which is not so far from the truth). Motörhead is sweeter, much bourbon character and fruity. It is the better whisky.

Crown Royal Rye vs Motörhead: Motörhead a bit darker and more red in color. This is a bit like smeeling two deserts: Motörhead is an autumn desert and Crown Royal a spring desert. Well, the flavour of Crown Royal is way too much like perfume. I prefer Motörhead which is classy and rich in this company.

Bushmills Original vs Storm: I can’t see any color difference (both quite pale). Both have a thin aroma, Bushmills slightly more pleasant, Storm with more of a blend character. Tasting Storm, well, it has something and lingers in the mouth being a bit bitter but it has quality too. Bushmills has a little less flavour, but in this situation that is probably good. Bushmills is better.

Bushmills Original vs Crown Royal Rye: Same color, Bushmills more classic aroma, and since I like whisky (and not fruit wine) I prefer Bushmills.

Caol Ila 12 vs Talisker 10: Talisker is much darker. Both are great on the nose, but Caol Ila has a sea and salt aroma that is very nice. The taste reflects the color and the aroma: Caol ila is consistenly drier and more fire-peat, while Talisker is more sweet and complex. If you are looking for the most straight and characteristic Islay experience, go for Caol Ila. But I think Talisker is a more pleasant and rich whisky experience (and it is not overpowered by Caol Ila).

Lagavulin 16 vs Talisker 10: Can’t say there is a color difference. It is hard to smell two whiskies like this: first impression is so powerful that whatever comes after diminishes. I find these similar on the nose, but Lagavulin is saltier, peatier and more brutal. It is the same with the flavour: Lagavulin is more uncompromising. In a way it is surprising that it has more edge and punch given that it is 6Y older. I can imagine a lot of occations when I want to play a little more safe with myself or someone else and I would pick Talisker 10 over Lagavulin 16. But head to head, Lagavulin wins.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Macallan Gold Double Wood: Balvenie is darker in color. Macallan has a very disappointing aroma, not pleasant. Balvenie is very pleasant though; classic sweet speyside and nothing to complain about. Tasting Macallan is not as bad is smelling it, but it tastes like this is a whisky to impress on people who just drink blend: it is more like a premium blend than a single malt. Balvenie is excellent though.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Deanston 12: Very similar color, and quite similar aroma: Balvenie a bit sweeter and Deanston benefits from a few minutes air. I think the more salty and spicy Deanston tastes better, Balvenie is less rich and has clear tones of wine in its flavour, but some people might prefer that. I prefer Deanston.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Macallan Gold Double Wood: I had a little left of Macallan in a glas, and when I opened Bunnahabhain I first thought it had a quite similar aroma as Macallan. However Bunnahabain is definitely better, both aroma and flavour. This is not peated Bunnahabhain – no peat at all – but quite nice rich malt flavour with hints of bourbon oak.

Ardbeg 10 vs Ardbeg Corrywreckan: Similar color (Corrywreckan perhaps darker, but hard to know since it is also stronger). These whiskies are quite similar. However 10YO is more distinct and more powerful. Perhaps if you find 10YO too much, you prefer Corrowreckan which I think is slightly lighter. But if you are anyway going for this brutal type of whisky 10YO is the more interesting one. I think Ardbeg 10 has more petroleum/diesel flavour than anything else I tasted.

Bushmills Original vs Macallan Gold Double Wood: Quite similar color. On the nose they are unpleasant in a similar yet different way. Bushmills smells mint while Macallan is just chemical (and milder, which is perhaps better). Tasting both Macallan is better though. But it is hard to believe Macallan is a single malt.

Bushmills 10 vs Glenlivet Founders Reserve: Perhaps Glenlivet is a wee darker in color, or not. At first the aroma is also similar. Glenlivet a bit more spicy. Taste is surpisingly similar. I brought out a Glenfiddich 12 and it is also very similar. I will place Glenlivet before Bushmills but after Glenfiddich, but this is all very subtle. If you like sweeter, go for Bushmills. If you like it more light and pure, go for Glenfiddich.

Loch Lomond Original vs Macallan Gold Double Wood: LL perhaps a little darker. To the nose, they are unpleasant in different way: LL smells leather or stable in a peculiar way, and Macallan smells alcohol like a cheap blend. But Macallan tastes soft and nice compared to LL which tastes of horse.

Bushmills 10 vs Macallan Gold Double Wood: Bushmills is a little darker, and it has more sweetness to the nose. Tasting both, Bushmills has more to give – richer, deeper more complex – and tastes better.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Macallan is a little darker, and it has clear very nice and pleasant sherry aroma. Nikka smells more caramel, Macallan more fruity. Tasting Macallan it is flawless, balanced, clear sherry flavour, it is long and smooth, but a bit thin. Nikka is more powerful, flavourful, but it also has chemical and bitter tones. Back to Macallan it is solid, tasty and high quality, but a little boring. Over to Nikka it stands up good. I add a little water to both but neither really benefit from it. I choose the conservative path and prefer the boringly perfected Macallan to the unusual and unique Nikka.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Nikka from the Barrel: Similar color (both quite dark, perhaps Nikka a little darker but it is also a little stronger). On the nose Balvenie has its clear sherry notes and is a bit richer, and Nikka is dryer. At first I thought perhaps it was to Nikkas advantage but after a while I appreciate both. Tasting Nikka it is quite distinct and uncompromising, not really very peated but som burnt flavours. Balvenie is a little lighter (somewhat surprising), more smooth and easy to drink and like. With some water Nikka gets a bit softer, but Balvenie tastes better.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Macallan 20 (1993-2013): Both color and aroma is very similar. There is a slight difference in aroma, but I can’t quite put words to it. Tasting Macallan it has much to give, surpringsingly saltiness and spiciness nicely accompanies the wine and sherry flavours. Tasting Balvenie, it is also good, but against this Macallan it is slightly bitter and has less of all the good flavour.

Deanston 12 has very clear vanilla character compared to this Macallan 20, but Macallan is better.

Glen Scotia 15 vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: On the nose Victoriana is mostly sweet but 15YO has leather and perhaps even a bit peat. Victoriana benefits from some water (being cask strenght) but the flavour is not too rich or interesting. 15YO is richer and more interesting: it is a bit like a peated whisky that is not peated.

Glenlivet 15 French Oak vs Glen Scotia 15: This Glenlivet is very smooth and flawless, but rather boring. Glen Scotia wins.

Glenlivet 15 French Oak vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Glenlivet is rather boring, but Victoriana is also quite boring being mostly sweet. I prefer French Oak. This is the whisky to serve to people who are not used to drinking whisky at all, who don’t like strong drinks, and who don’t want too much flavour.

Balvenie Double Wood vs Glen Scotia Double Cask: First putting my nose in Glen Scotia it was very fruity and mild, but after Balvenie I found Glen Scotia having some leather/stable character as well (as the 15YO Glen Scotia). Tasting both Glen Scotia is more powerful and sweet – yet balanced. Balvenie is more subtle and dry. I was about to argue that Balvenie is more flawless and balanced but in the end I think not, and Glen Scotia is more interesting and better. However if you like whisky that is not sweet and that don’t have too much flavour you might prefer Balvenie.

Talisker 10 vs Taliser Skye: Sky is supposed to be a somewhat softer and more accessible whisky. Head to head, 10YO is a greater experience and it stands out compared to Skye. But I can imagine some day when I want something not too peated, then Skye is a great option. 10YO wins though.

Glenlivet Archive 21 vs Longrow 14: Glenlivet i new bottle, just opened, and Longrow is an old bottle about to be over. Both whiskies are quite dark in color, Glenlivet more amber red. On the nose Glenlivet has everything except peat and salt: rich and soft. Longrow is more of an acquired taste with an amazing aroma of leather, peat and some dry fruit (actually). Tasting Glenlivet is a very pleasant, balanced and rich experience. Longrow is special: soft yet powerful, a bit sour and perhaps that wasn’t like that when I opened it years ago. Back to Glenlivet it does not disappoint even after the more peated Longrow. Over to Longrow I can feel that blood-and-gunpowder taste that it shares with some Springbanks. This is two very good whiskies, and in the end of the day it is down to preference, but I think Glenlivet is the strong whisky.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (Selected Malts 2009-2018) vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask: Similar color. At first Deanston surprised me with a yeast aroma, after that it is quite a speyside aroma rather than sherry. Macallan, on the other hand, is more Sherry and less pleasant to my nose. Macallan tastes good though. Deanston too, and it needs some water. Deanston has a quite subtle sherry flavour, not very sweet but not very dry either. It is good, balanced and perhaps the quite young age makes it not so soft. Macallan is softer. None of them are completely convincing here: both their charm and flaws. Deanston har more character, but it is a little thin and undeveloped. I think that is enough against this Macallan though.

Nordic Whisky Society Club Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso vs Talisker Skye: The NWSC has a very fresh aroma of barley mixed with peat. And caramel. I like it, quite unusual. Talisker is more oily. NWSC is just below 60ABV and at that strength it tastes very young, so I add not so little water. Talisker is surprisingly light in flavour actually. With water NWSC tastes fresh barley and peat, not much more, but that is not bad (I can’t say I find the Oloroso here). This is difficult, they are quite different. For a peated whisky Talisker Skye is definitely the safe and conservative choice. But NWSC is interesting and despite its young age and rather thin flavour there is truly nothing bad about it. I prefer NWSC.

Hven Tycho’s Star vs Ledaig Prerelease: Hven darker in color, more peated on the nose, and wins over Ledaig on raw power. Both are good: Ledaig is peated, salty and tasty, but rather thin.

Caol Ila 12 vs Ledaig 10: Caol Ila has a more powerful solid aroma, and Ledaig is lighter, slightly chemical. Tasting Ledaig is good, quite a dry peatad flavour. Tasting Caol Ila it is oilier, more soft and rich, and has less burnt flavour. Caol Ila wins.

NWSC Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso vs Ledaig 10: Against this Ledaig, NWSC smells more caramel than peat. Tasting both, Ledaig 10 is the better whisky in every way.

Ledaig 10 is also much better than Ledaig prerelease.

Ardbeg 10 vs Caol Ila 12: Both are pale, Ardbeg slightly paler. To the nose, I find these pretty similar (it surprises me, because last time I tried Ardbeg 10 it was very heavy). Tasting both, Ardbeg is heavier, and I think Ardbeg is the better whisky. But I can imagine situations where I would prefer the somewhat lighter Caol Ila. And I can imagine other people would too.

Balcones vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Texas is darker and has more of a sweet bourbon aroma, while Japan has more the character of a classic scotch whisky. Balcones tastes good – a bit overwhelmed I add water. Nikka – after Balcones – a bit dry and bitter. Back to Balcones, it is rather sweet but it is very rich with a long lingering flavour (just a little bitterness). Nikka is a bit synthetic on the nose, and it feels a bit naked after Balcones. I add a few drops of water to Nikka and take a short break. Now starting with Nikka it is a decent whisky, although not to impressed with it. Over to Balcones it is solid and convincing – it does what it does much better. If I want a sweet whisky Balcones wins. If I prefer something dryer Nikka is anyway not it.

Ledaig Prerelease vs NWSC Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso: Ledaig is more pale. On the nose NWSC is peat and barley, quite pleasant. When it comes to Ledaig, there is something about the aroma that is not quite right for me – fusel oil? Ledaig tastes fine though, quite thin and mostly smoke, but not bad. NWSC is more powerful, but there is a strange… fatty flavour that I dont appreciate. Head to head Ledaig wins when it comes to flavour but loses on aroma. I give it little time. All by itself, NWSC has a nice aroma, but still the flavour (especially the lingering in the mouht) is questionable. All by itself Ledaig is rather nice. Ledaig wins.

Ledaig Prerelese vs Longrow: Longrow is a little darker in color. On the nose Longrow is more rich – not necessarily more peated, but there is more to discover. Tasting both it is no match – Longrow is so much better: depth, complexity, enjoyability.

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenfiddich 12: Very similar color (fiddich perhaps slightly darker). On the nose – subtle differences – fiddich is more fruit and citrus, but also something that perhaps is vanilla. Farclas is a bit more mellow, subtle and there is something reminding me of blended whisky. Tasting farclas, it is ok; alcohol, some bitterness, quite thin, some speyside character. Fiddich, not that different, but it is a bit softer. Glenfiddich 12 wins over Glenfarclas 12. If you want one of them, pick the one with the best price or nicest bottle.

Andalusia Triple Destilled vs Bergslagen Two Hearts: Color is very similar. Bergslagen has a sweet fruity aroma – almost cherry or even strawberry. Andalusia smells bourbon. Back to Bergslagen I kind of smell that blood-and-gunpowder of Springbank. Andalusia is slightly lighter, more conservative. First taste of Bergslagen is good and it has much flavour. Andalusia is more sour first, then comes the bourbon, but not in a completely convincing way. I add water to both. Andalusia got softer with water – mostly quite sweet now, it is not bad, but not so much to offer either. Drinking Bergslagen I ask myself how it comes it resembles some Springbanks. Bergslagen wins, with quite thin margin.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Glenlivet 18: No difference to the eye: both have a fairly dark color. ‘fiddich has a very pleasant aroma: vanilla and a bit of fresh fruits. ‘livet is a bit more conservative, less fruity. Tasting ‘livet it is nice, balanced, dry, flawless but a little boring and thin. Tasting ‘fiddich it lacked the fruitiness I expected and while I thought it was going to defeat ‘livet this suddenly got tricky. Glenfiddich has a dominant bitterness while Glenlivet is softer and richer. I add little water to both. Perhaps it brings out a little more from ‘livet, but ‘fiddich is hopelessly behind.

Longrow vs Port Askaig 8: Longrow clearly darker in color (Port Askaig very pale). Longrow has a more dry, subtle aroma, while Port Askaig has a sweet barley aroma (not that different from the NWSC Islay). Tasting Longrow it is dry, with a light but clear peat, and overall a nice complex flavour. Port Askaig is more open, “naive”, it is smoke and barley in your face. I prefer Longrow – power does not always win in the peated list either.

NWSC Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso vs Port Askaig 8: Even with not so little water NWSC is slightly darker in color. On the nose these two are quite similar (and could very well be the same destillery, despite neither of them is known). They are both peated, both with a clear barley aroma (it is almost like being in the destillery building), and quite sweet. Tasting NWSC it starts good, but there is a strange flavour – bad cooking oil – that unfortunately ruins my experience. Port Askaig is almost dry in this company and although these are similary whiskies I clearly prefer Port Askaig.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs NWSC Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso: Mackmyra is slightly paler. First impression of Mackmyra it has a quite simple but distinct and elegant aroma – it is clearly smoked, not bad. NWSC is sweeter, richer to the nose. Tasting Mackmyra, simple, smoked not bad. NWSC – more complexity and flavour, but it has that lingering aftertaste that is just not nice (I add some more water). Mackmyra is more dry, boring and thin, but in this case that is a good thing.

Glen Scotia 15 vs Glen Scotia Double Cask: Similar color. Double cask has a more powerful aroma thanks to its Sherry origin – head to head it dominates the 15YO. But giving some time 15YO has a very nice balanced classic malt whisky aroma. Tasting Double Cask has a shorter more intense and more sweet flavour. 15YO is drier, more complex and lingers longer. I prefer 15YO but if you think a Sherry hint is always nice you may disagree.

For Peats Sake vs Talisker Skye: These are surprisingly similar – subtle smoke mixed with some sweetness, but in the end and head to head Talisker clearly wins. Talisker is a bit drier, less chemical, and does not taste like a blend.

Hibiki Harmony vs Yoichi Single Malt “Woody & Vanillic”: Yoichi slightly darker, also stronger. Woody & Vanilla is a very accurate name for this single malt with not so little bourbon aroma. At 55% it needs water. Back to the nose, Hibiki has more of wine/sherry aroma now that it got some air, and Yoichi is actually not equally pleasant – more sharp and chemical. I taste Hibiki and it is rich and good – more sweat than I remember it. Over to Yoichi it is more interesting now with water, not that different from Hibiki, a bit sour and bitter. Back to Hibiki it is softer, and less salty. There is more flavour in Yoichi, but for me that is not enough. By little margin, I prefer the blended Hibiki.

Ardbeg Ardbog vs Laphroaig 10: Ardbeg a little darker (none very pale). Ardbog has a rich, sweet, soft, yet peated aroma – promising. Laphroaig is drier, less fruity. Tasting Ardbeg – very good – more flavour than Laphroaig. I have not read anything about this Ardbeg but it would surprise me if it is not an Ardbeg on sherry casks. I will rate Ardbeg Ardbog higher than standard Laphroaig, but for those who don’t prefer the sweater character or prefer a more classic Islay whisky Laphroaig is probably a better choice.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Longrow 14 Sherry: I water down Longrow immediately and find these whiskies to both have a quite rich color. Bergslagen has a thick, somewhat sweat aroma with hints of oak/bourbon. Longrow is not that different, but it also has a hint of peat. Both has this aroma that for the moment I can’t find a better word for than blood. Tasting Bergslagen it is soft, very sweet, almost reminds me of something spiced and sweat as Gluwein (glögg). Longrow is a bit more powerful, peated, but it also has something unpleasant about it – but I can kind of get used to that. Well, back and forth, Bergslagen wins: it is more pleasant, more balanced, and that bourbon touch is not bad.

Macallan Gold Double Wood vs Motörhead: Macallan is quite pale and Motörhead is dark amber. Motörhead has a sweat bourbon vanilla aroma, while Macallan disappointingly smells ethanol (red spirit) – not only, but it is unfortunately quite dominant. Tasting Macallan is not that bad though, quite thin but soft. Motörhead is richer and sweeter – almost like a red berry juice. Macallan has a more classic whisky flavour but if I didn’t know better I would think it is blend. Motörhead wins.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Tomatin 12: Bushmills is slightly paler. Tomatin has a very light aroma – a thin classic speyside aroma – even more so compared to Bushmills that has much more caramel. Tasting Tomatin, again classic and very thin. The good thing with Tomatin is that it is not bad. But Bushmills taste like a 18 year old malt in comparison, and wins.

Bushmills Original vs Tomatin 12: Very similar color. Bushmills is richer on the nose, but that is not necessarily a good thing: Tomatin more flawless yet thin, while Bushmills has an ethonol/blend smell. Tasting both, Bushmills is a bit richer and softer, but its a chemical niceness. Tomatin wins, with very little margin.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Bergslagen sligthly darker. Glen Scotia has a ligher more elegant aroma, while Bergslagen smells a bit thick and sweat. Tasting them I find Bergslagen more powerful and raw, while Glen Scotia is a bit more shy. This is very close: Is Glen Scotia elegant enough, or Bergslagen original enough? The safe choice is Glen Scotia. But this time I will give the victory to Bergslagen.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated: After adding some water to the cask strenght Corrywreckan it is paler than Bunnahabhain. At first, Ardbeg is divine under the nose. Bunnahabhain is more old closet and less fresh, but what a character! After Bunnahabhain, there is something chemical and not so fresh about Ardbeg. I take a few small sips of both but it is mostly confusing. A larger mouth of Bunnahabhain is very satisfying though, but a little shadowed in the company of this Ardbeg. A larger mouth of Ardbeg – first there is something not too pleasant about the aroma – flavour… it is much! I take a little break and try Ardbeg: it is solid, salty, peated… nothing missing and nothing extra. Another break and Bunnahabhain: it is richer, softer, more interesting, more unique. Bunnahabhain wins, a close one.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Tomatin 18: These are quite similar, but Glenfiddich is softer and richer, and I prefer it.

Balvenie 17 Double Wood vs Hibiki Harmony: Hibiki slightly paler. On the nose Balvenie is sweeter while Hibiki is more creamy. Tasting Balvenie it is disappointingly bitter and in the end it can not match Hibiki which is easy to drink and rich in flavour.

Longrow 18 vs Talisker 18: Neither of these bottles are easy to find. Talisker is more peated on the nose, while Longrow is more sour. Tasting Longrow it has this blood-and-gunpowder which I often find in Springbank. Talisker is fantastically rich, soft and peated (with a clear Jerusalem Artichoke touch). Talisker wins.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Glenfiddich much darker color. Not very different aroma, but Glenfiddich has a freshness and fruitiness (pear?) while Old Pulteney is more oily. Tasting both Old Pulteney is more salty and has more flavour, on comparison Glenfiddich is a bit dull and not as pleasant. Old Pulteney wins.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Tomatin 18: Same quite golden color. Aroma is rather similar – both good classic speyside – Glenfarclas a bit more caramel and oak, while Tomatin a bit lighter, perhaps spicy (or chemical). Tasting Tomatin it has a fine classic flavour, not so soft and a bit thin. Over to Glenfarclas is more smooth and balanced. And back to Tomatin, it is more bitter. Glenfarclas wins.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Tomatin 18: Similar color. Glenfiddich has a clearly fruity aroma, and compared to that Tomatin is a bit leather/stable. Tasting Glenfiddich it is easy to drink and enjoy, Tomatin is perpaps a bit harder to enjoy but also more rewarding. I give victory to Tomatin.

Ardbeg Ardbog vs Longrow 18: Ardbeg a little darker. On the nose, quite similar, Ardbeg a bit heavier. Both are clearly peated, a bit sweet and rich. Tasting Longrow is a firework of flavoures, yet balanced. Ardbeg is not that different, but it more sweet notes (sherry?) and also a bit more peat. This much comes down to taste (of course) and I could probably rule either way. Ardbeg may have more aroma and flavour to offer, but Longrow is not far behind and to me it is more balanced and flawless, and less mixed feelings. Longrow wins.

Antiquary 21 vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Similar color. Antiquary a bit sweet on the nose. Not very different from Macallan, but Macallan is more chemical. Antiquary tastes better: it is richer and tastier.

Antiquary 21 vs Macallan 1993-2013: Similar color. When it comes to Aroma Macallan is softer and Antiquary has a hint of leather. The same is true for the taste, Macallan is softer and Antiquary a bit rough (strange for a 21YO blend!). It is not like Macallan beats Antiquary in every way, but together it is the more balanced and enjoyable whisky.

Antiquary 21 vs Nikka from the Barrel: Nikka a little darker. Antiquary has a little leather aroma, while Nikka is more dry. Tasting both, they are surprisingly similar! I find Nikka slightly better: more elegant and less chemical.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Glenfiddich 18: Perhaps 18YO is slightly darker. Also 18YO has a “darker” aroma; more vanilla and raisins. 15YO is a bit more in the fruity sherry direction. Somewhat surprised I find 18YO more pleasant under my nose (but if you really like Sherry whisky you may disagree). Tasting 15YO it has much flavour, it lasts long, there is nothing bad about it although it is perhaps on the thin side. Tasting 18YO is not very different. 18YO is a bit more bitter while 15YO is a bit more sour (in the sherry way). I do not really know how to pick a favourite. The bitterness in 18YO is not perfect to me. 15YO, on the other hand, has a quite subtle Sherry character – it at least does not dominate – and that is perhaps in my book a perfect sherry balance. So I prefer Solera Reserve.

Bunnahabhain 12 beats both Nikka Coffey Malt and Old Pulteney 12: Bunnahabhain is a bit darker (more amber in color) and richer and tastier in the mouth.

Bushmills Original vs Loch Lomond Original: Perhaps Loch Lomond is a little darker in color. Bushmills as a quite soft, somewhat chemical classic aroma. Loch Lomond has a much richer aroma – leather and stable. Tasting Bushmills it is surpisingly soft, quite sweet, and with a very clear oak/vanilla character. Loch Lomond tastes more stable as well, but it is not that much. Back to Bushmills, it is like a whisky that wants to be what it is not: like a Single Malt whisky mixed with vodka (which is kind of what a blend is). Loch Lomond is definitely more interesting, it is less chemical, and as soft as Bushmills. Loch Lomond wins.

Glen Scotia Double Cask vs Hazelburn 10: In this Campbeltown showdown, Hazelburn starts out being the paler whisky. On the nose Hazelburn is dry, almost peated. Glen Scotia, a bit anonymous. Giving it a few minutes Glen Scotia comes back being a bit citrus fruity and some vanilla. Hazeburn more classic malt. Tasting Glen Scotia it has a quite clear sherry flavour, quite soft and a little bitter. Hazelburn is classic, dry, quite light and it does not stay so long – but it is so good! This was easy, Hazelburn wins every day and my only objection to it is that I want it to be more of what it is.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Longrow 13 Red: Longrow a little darker (brown rather than green) than Bergslagen. Both have a thick quite sweet aroma, Longrow a bit peated and Bergslagen a little more fruity (like cherries or strawberries). Bergslagen tastes good, but it fades away a bit quick. Longrow is saltier and more peated, but it also has a hint of – like old fat that I experienced above in NWSC – that I dont like. Bergslagen is the safe, easier to drink, choice. Somewhat reluctantly I have to say, it goes a long way. I prefer Bergslagen.

Brora 38 vs Talisker 18: Brora is slightly darker. Talisker has a very pleasant aroma; salt, peat and so much depth. Brora is even richer, but a bit less peated. Tasting Brora it is fresh, crips, peated, deep and soft. Talisker is quite similar, not just as soft and rich. These whiskies resemble each other very much, Brora is just older and – no doubt – tastier and better.

Longrow 18 vs Talisker 10: Both quite dark, if anything Longrow is more pale. Longrow has a somewhat sour, thick aroma. Talisker is not so different, but it is more refined rather than sour. Longrow tastes excellent, very complex and balanced, in this salty peated genre. Talisker is a bit more open, simple in its flavour (the flavours dont mix so subtly). I taste both again, there is something thick and fat about Longrow which is not completely pleasant (same as I find in Longrow 13 Red just above). Talisker, on the other hand, is both perfectly tasty and interesting enought to me. They younger competitor from Skye wins.

Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Balvenie slightly deeper amber color, and much more promising on the nose. But when it comes to taste Balvenie disappoints, being thin and somewhat bitter, and Nikka wins.

Port Askaig 8 vs Waitrose 10 Islay Single Malt: Port Askaig is very pale. Waitrose is an unknown distillery bottle made for a supermarket (Waitrose). It is a whisky that has a nice aroma and tastes even better. But Port Askaig 8 is better.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Port Askaig 8: These whiskies are quite similar, but Port Askaig is a bit richer in flavour, and wins.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Storm: Chivas is slightly more subtle and fruity on the nose, which is better than Storm which is more chemical. Chivas tastes quite fine, a bit of bourbon and vanilla and a classic whisky character. Storm has a bit more flavour, but it feels a little over loaded and I add water. Back to Chivaz, it is not impressive, but it tastes better than Storm, clearly so.

Loch Lomond 12 vs Tomatin 18: Both are quite dark brown in color, Tomatin perhaps a little more so. Tomatin has a fresher and fruitier aroma, Loch Lomond is more mellow. The same is true about the taste, but which is better? Loch Lomond is richer and more powerful. Tomatin has a nice vanilla flavour. Back and forth a few times, Tomatin is preferable (although perhaps more boring).

Ardbeg Ardbog vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Both are rather dark in color. Ardbeg has a more dust-and-closet aroma while PC has a somewhat overwhelming sour sherry character. Before tasting, both whiskies smell a bit over-the-top. PC has a nice mix of peated Islay and sherry flavour. Ardbeg is dryer, but also has something fatty about it. After every sip I add little water to both of them, and in the end I find them very very similar. I choose Ardbeg – but if I had another opportunity to dry, I might change my mind.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Tomatin 12: Similar color (perhaps Tomatin a bit darker). Chivas has a mild somewhat sweet vanilla aroma, Tomatin is even more subtle. Tomatin has a classic speyside malt flavour, soft and sweet. Chivas is richer, a bit saltier. Back to both, the difference is quite minor. Tomatin is a little bit more bitter, or chemical, and Chivas wins being a little easier to enjoy.

Deanston 12 vs Glenfiddich 18: Deanston is more pale. Deanston has a light, fresh yet quite rich aroma. Glenfiddich is more mellow and sweet (as in raisins). Deanston more dry. In the big picture these two are more similar than they are different. Tasting Deanston it is soft and rich with not so little fruitiness. Glenfiddich has more bitterness and feels like the tastes are a little locked in. After a few more sips, the impression is that Deanston is a little easier to enjoy and has a little more flavours to discover: I can feel Deanston in more of my mouth and for a longer time. Deanston wins – but not by so much.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (Selected Malts 2009-2018) vs Glenfiddich 18: Similar color. Deanston is more fruity on the nose, Glenfiddich sweeter. When it comes to taste they are surprisingly similar. They young Deanston does not quite reach the softness and complexity that the old Glenfiddich has. Glenfiddich wins, by no big margin.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Glenfarclas 12: Similar color. I didn’t do blind testing but if I had, I would have got these wrong: Chivas has a soft sweet aroma, while Glenfarclas has something chemical and crude about it. Tasting both, well, Chivas is round and soft but not much more. Glenfarclas is not perfect, it is more of an acquired taste, but in the end of the day it has a little more to offer. People who don’t really appreciate whisky would probably prefer Chivas though.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Ardbeg Wee Beastie: Corrywreckan is slightly darker, and on the nose Wee Beastie is more openly heavily peated. Corrywreckan might have a deeper aroma and thus a more “subtle” peatiness. In the mouth Corrywreckan is complex and salty. Wee Beastie is thinner, a little bitter, and not as good.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Jim Beam Rye: Jim Beam is darker, and much more powerful on the nose. Chivas has a more undefined aroma while Jim Beam has very much of a Bourbon aroma. Against Chivas it is hard to imagine that it is more dry than typical bourbon. I taste Chivas, it is ok (which is good for a blend), but not so much more. Jim Beam is not so much more powerful when it comes to flavour though. Jim Beam has a stronger, but not richer flavour, and it is less balanced. Chivas wins. At least this day.

Hazelburn 10 vs Yoichi 10 Woody & Vanillic: Yoichi is much darker in color. Hazelburn has a more dry and peated aroma, Yoichi is fruitier. Tasting Yoichi is has some saltiness and a hint of peat though, but mostly it is sweeter and a bit richer than Hazelburn, which is not quite as good.

Springbank 15 Rum vs Yoichi 10 Woody & Vanillic: Yoichi is clearly darker. Yoichi has a soft bourbon aroma compared to Springbank which is rougher, a bit peated. It is the same story with the taste. It is quite a different flavour, you may prefer Springbank, but I think Yoichi is easier to appriciate still being rich and complex.

Longmorn 16 vs Yoichi 10 Woody & Vanillic: Quite similar color. Yoichi has a more naive bourbon aroma, Longmorn is fruitier and a bit more subtle. Tasting Longmorn, it has a wealth of flavour, is very balanced and soft. Yoichi is a bit more immature, sweet and sour, bourbon and spices. Tasting both again Yoichi is the winner.

Glenlossie 18 PX (The Maltman 1987-2015) vs Old Pulteney 18: Glenlossie is a little bit darker. When it comes to aroma they are very different; Glenlossie is absolutely sherry and Old Pulteney is malt whisky without a hint of sherry. I taste Glenlossie, and for someone who is not overly enthusiastic about whisky that tastes like sherry, this is really good. But Old Pulteney is fresh, balanced and a bit salty, also good! Back to Glenlossie, it is more ordinary after Old Pulteney, but still good. Head to head, and if it was just up to my nose, I would choose Glenlossie. Old Pulteney tastes kind of perfect to me – I just ask for more of the good flavour. But Glenlossie has something extra, and wins.

Hazelburn 10 vs Springbank 15 Rum: Color is very similar, but the similarities end there. Hazelburn has a classic vanilla (almost bourbon) aroma, while Springbank i sweet and sour. Sweet of rum, sour of peat and old Springbank. Tasting is the same: Hazelburn appears to be a very traditional, tasty and nice whisky. Springbank is a unique and remarkable mix of hard to find flavours (yet sweet and sour is the best I can write). In the end I think Springbank is too odd and too unbalanced, while Hazelburn is very good at what it does.

J&B vs Urquhart Castle: Both are rather pale, but J&B has much more color than the almost colorless UC. There is little aroma in Urquhart castle, just alcohol with a hint och whisky. J&B is much more thick and sweet, in a somewhat more unpleasant way. Tasting UC it is just very little flavour, not very different from a vodka. J&B is more soft and “rich”. None of these are pleasant, but J&B is more drinkable and more “interesting”, while I see absolutely no use at all for UC.

Deanston 12 vs Glen Scotia 15: Deanston slightly paler. On the nose Deanston is oak, vanilla and caramel. Glen Scotia a little more shy. After a while, these have very similar aroma. I taste both, back and forth, and to me and tonight, it is almost the same whisky. Perhaps there is a hint of peat and Campbeltown in the Glen Scotia. I find Deanston a little bit more open, some more flavour, and a little softer, and I prefer it.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Deanston Virgin Oak: Bergslagen a bit darker. Bergslagen has a more sweet and gritty aroma while Deanston is more like an elegant bourbon. I taste Deanston and it is a malt whisky with not so little bourbon character – not overwhelming but soft. Bergslagen tastes more raw (blood and gunpowder). Back to Deanston it still stands up, not much to write but not much to complain. Bergslagen is the spectacular one and Deanston the safe classic. But Deanston is also rich and balanced, with a long nice taste. Deanston wins.

Glenlivet 18 vs Old Pulteney 18: Glenlivet a slightly more amber in color. Old Pulteney has a slightly more oak/bourbon/vanilla aroma and Glenlivet is a bit sweeter and fruitier. Tasting Old Pulteney it is soft, rich and easy to enjoy. Over to Glenlivet it is very similar, a bit more shy. Back to Old Pulteney it has more salt. Glenlivet is so balanced that no flavours really stand out. I prefer Old Pulteney. I think it has more character and I like the oak/vanilla rather than fruit. These are very similar whiskies though.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Color is identical, but there ends all similarities. Mackmyra has a subtle smoke aroma combined with characteristic green fruit/pear. Ardbeg is much more peated and also thicker, heavier and sweeter. The same thing can be said about flavour. What is fascinating is that both are rather young smoked malts. But Mackmyra ends up being dry, thin and undeveloped, while Ardbeg is a bit overly soft and rounded (reminding a bit of the blend For Peats Sake in that sense). The Ardbeg wins, no doubt.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Mackmyra Preludium 06 (old sample): Very similar color, if anything Preludium is slightly darker. Brukswhisky has a more fruity and woody aroma, there really is not much aroma in P06. Tasting both, P06 is really good – much better. Even though the taste is more suble, it has a pleasant sweetness and en elegant smoke-hint. Preludium 06 is much better than Brukswhisky. I wonder if the years on a small sample bottle have improved it.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Mackmyra Preludium 06: Bushmills a little bit darker in color. Mackmyra has a lighter aroma while Bushmills is deeper and sweeter, but also a bit chemical. On the nose Mackmyra has a hint of leather and stable actually. Tasting both Mackmyra needs water to campare with the very soft Bushmills. Even with water Mackmyra is very dry and young and Bushmills 10 is a tastier whisky.

Bushmills Orgininal vs Mackmyra Preludium 06: Bushmills clearly darker in color. None of them has very much of what I like in aroma. Bushmills is quite chemical, and Mackmyra subtle with a bit of stable. Bushmills is softer in flavour and Mackmyra more sharp, but I appreciate Mackmyra better: despite being young it is a quite simple, natural and honest whisky, while Bushmills tastes like something coming out of a chemical factory.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004): Mannochmore sligthly darker, maybe. Oak is in the name of Deanston, oak is what it smells. Mannochmore has a richer aroma, it is also cleary sherry dominated. Deanston tastes fine, not so complex but there is much flavour and good balance. Mannochmore has flavour, the sherry is there, but behind there is also this raw Springbank character of blood and gunpowder. Back to Deanston it is very easy to enjoy, in its relative simplicity. At first Mannochmore seems to be to powerful, but it also fades away, and its impression is not so much stronger than that of Deanston. I prefer Deanston.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004): Similar color. Quite similar aroma actually, Bergslagen a little less refined. Both are quite sweet whiskies, but Mannochmore is dryer in the mouth and Bergslagen is softer. I don’t see any reason to prefer Bergslagen though, Mannochmore is the better whisky.

Andalusia Tripled Destilled vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Andalusia is more red in color, and more sweet in aroma (like plum or cherry). Nikka is a bit more spicy and vanilla. Andalusia is also sweeter and more powerful in flavour. After some time I find that Nikka is more pleasant and more interesting, Andalusia being too much dominated by sweet fruit.

Glenfarclas 105 vs Glen Scotia Double Cask: Similar color after watering down. Not so different aroma, Glen Scotia has oak and vanilla but Glenfarclas only has sweet fruits. The same goes for flavour. I prefer Glen Scotia.

Glenfarclas 105 vs Glenfarclas 17: I find that Glenfarclas 105 only has a sweetness, and virtually no malt characters, so I think the very boring but flawless speyside whisky that Glenfarclas 17 is wins.

Ardbeg 10 vs Lagavulin 16: Remarkable color difference: Arbeg completely pale and Lagavulin very dark. The aroma is not that different – and it is hard because the nose quickly gets used to the peat and smoke. When it comes to flavour they are both rich and powerful. Lagavulin is soft and quite easy to drink. Ardbeg is dirtier with a clear petroleum character. So Ardbeg is the more spectacular choice, but I think Lagavulin is the better whisky.

Macallan 20 (1993-2013) vs Yoichi Sherry and Sweet: Both are quite dark in color at cask strength, Macallan slightly paler. Yoichi has a very clear and dominating sherry aroma. Macallan has more oak. It is the same tasting them, Macallan being surprisingly dry after Yoichi. I find Yoichi decently good, but it can not match Macallan when it comes to complexity and balance.

Talisker 10 vs Yoichi Peaty and Salty: Similar color, but Yoichi is cask strength. Yoichi has a fresh dry peated aroma – nice! Not so different from Talisker, but Yoichi has a clear caramel character not found in Talisker. Also the taste is rather dry and uncompromising with Yoichi. Talisker is softer and more oily. Back to Yoichi, a little thin and burnt. Maybe, just maybe Yoichi is more interesting, but Talisker is more balanced and matured. Talisker wins, but I can understand someone making another decision.

Laphroaig 10 vs Yoichi Peaty and Salty: Laphroig is darker, and on the nose it is heavier and more peated. Yoichi almost fruity in comparison. Tasting both, well, after starting with Laphroig at least the Yoichi is standing up good. My impression with Yoichi is quite stable here, but I quite cant decide about Laphroig. There is more flavour in Laphroig, and that is both good and bad. I prefer Yoichi here.

Bowmore 18 vs Highland Park 18 Viking Pride: Bowmore is darker in color. Highland Park has a kind of fruity aroma compared to Bowmore being clearly peated. I imagined an 18YO Bowmore might not have so much peat left, but compared to HP it does. Both whiskies taste very good, but none of them overly convincing. I can not really pick a favourite. Highland Park is the safe and easy choice, Bowmore is a bit more challenging. Bowmore goes to the peated list and Highland Park to the normal list.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Old Pulteney 12: Same quite pale color. Glenmorangie has more powerful and more sweet aroma. Old Pulteney has an original caramel-and-salt flavour that it does very well. Glenmorangie has more fruit/wine/citrus character and also some oak. It is hard to pick a winner. Glenmorangie is a bit richer and clearly sweeter. But Old Pulteney is original and very pleasant. Old Pulteney has a more natural flavour, Glenmorangie tastes a bit manufactured. I will pick Old Pulteney, but these are very comparable.

Springbank 15 Rum vs Springbank 15 Rum Private Cask#629: The Private Cask, destilled in 2000 and bottled in 2016, is more pale. Also, the private cask has a more dry and peated aroma, while the standard 15 rum is softer and more subtle. The more I try both the more difficult it gets. I think in the end the Private Cask has a little more character and I prefer it.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Bowmore 12: With some water Corrywreckan (57%) is paler than Bowmore (40%). I don’t find so much peat in Bowmore! And there is something about how it smells that I don’t like. Well, I got used to it, but in the peated category Ardbeg has a better aroma. Tasting Bowmore, well, a hint of peat and not so little vanilla. Unfortunately, there is something questionable about the entire Bowmore experience although this can probably be a fine choice for people who want something not so peated. But to me, Corrywreckan definitely wins.

Balvenie 17 Double Wood vs Glenfiddich 18: Very similar color, both rather amber and dark. Quite similar on the nose, Glenfiddich a bit lighter and more wood and Balvenie more mellow with dark fruity tones. Tasting Glenfiddich, it is rather caramel and vanilla than fruit. And Balvenie is more fruity. Especially Balvenie seems to need water. These two whiskies are very similar. Balvenie is bitter, and Glenfiddich has more speyside malt character. I’d rather drink Glenfiddich.

Balvenie 17 Double Wood vs Glenfarclas 17: Similar color. Glenfarclas is light and fruity and Balvenie is heavier on the nose. Tasting Glenfarclas, it has a characteristic Speyside character, some oak and a little salty. Balvenie tastes sweeter, I thought of caramel but I am not sure. There is nothing wrong with Glenfarclas really, but it is so boring. But Balvenie is also boring, and a bit bitter. Glenfarclas wins.

Yoichi Sherry & Sweet vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask: Quite same color, but Yoichi is stronger and perhaps watered down it is slightly paler. Yoichi has a more raw sweet aroma, while Macallan is softer but somewhat artificial. Macallan tastes good though (better than it smells) with a nice balance of malt and sherry. Yoichi tastes a little bit “fatty” (as the NWSC Oloroso I have tried before), and I don’t like that. But it is also fresh, young and sweet. After Yoichi, Macallan is not so impressive anymore. Yoichi wins.

Ardbeg 10 vs Yoichi Peated & Salty: Ardbeg is more pale. Yoichi has a fresh peated salty aroma. Ardbeg is more heavy and dirty. Yoichi has much flavour and it tastes good. Ardbeg is first more powerful and then remains for longer with its almost petroleum like flavour. Yoichi much more light and fresh. Ardbeg stands out a bit being so raw, but I think it is the better peated malt.

Longrow 18 vs Yoichi Peated & Salty: Longrow slightly darker. Yoichi is lighter, Longrow slightly fatty. I think Yoichi is easier to enjoy, and interesting enought to beat Longrow.

Crown Royal Rye vs Texas TX: Quite different character, Crown Royal is not really a bourbon. Texas TX is richer in aroma and flavour. I prefer Texas TX.

Glendronach 18 Allardice vs Yoichi Sherry & Sweet: With Yoichi at cask strength color is very similar. Glendronach has a fruity but also malty quite pleasant aroma. Yoichi appears (to the nose) a bit more raw, which tasting it confirms (but I need more water). Glendronach is surprisingly salty, and clearly wins for being more balanced, more rich and easy to enjoy.

Glen Scotia Victoriana vs Yoichi Sherry & Sweet: No significant difference in color. Glen Scotia has a softer aroma, mostly fruity but a hint of malt as well. Yoichi almost has a hint of peat, and smells young. Tasting Yoichi it is both sour and bitter while Glen Scotia is more sweet. These whiskies are perhaps more similar than they are different, and i prefer Glen Scotia for being more balanced and soft.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Yoichi Sherry & Sweet: Longrow a bit darker in color, and a bit more peated on the nose. I think it is safe to say that Longrow clearly tastes more peated as well, and it is a bit richer and deeper. But I think Yoichi wins, for tasting more fresh.

Deanston Oloroso 9YO vs Yoichi Sherry & Sweet: Deanston more red in color, lighter and more fruity on the nose, and more pleasant to taste.

Glendronach 18 Allardice vs Macallan 1993-2013: Macallan slightly more pale. Glendronach has a classic flawless sweet malt aroma, Macallan not so different but there is something odd about it: mint? I taste Macallan and there is something spicy, almost like a herb, about it. Over to Glendronach, it is clearly more sweet. Sherry-lovers would pick Glendronach but that heavy Sherry character comes at a cost, and Macallan is more classic. However, in this case I think Glendronach has more to offer and it is a rather elegant Sherry-flavoured whisky.

Glen Garioch 12 vs Highland Park 12 Viking Honour: Same color, but the similarites end there. Glen Garioch is sweet, almost flowery (Heather is the first aroma they list on the box) on the nose making Highland Park clearly (but subtly) peated and much drier. Glen Garioch tastes good, but it has little classic malt character and is dominated by its sweetness although I don’t think it is so much sherry, and it ends in a bitter way. Highland Park 12 Viking Honour is this evening almost the perfect whisky for me in this price/age-category: salty, slightly peated, soft – just want it to taste more of everything.

Glendronach 18 Allardice vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve: Glendronach is darker in color, and on the nose it is more sweet wine (sherry, port) while Glenfiddich is lighter and fresher (white wine). There is more flavour, depth and complexity in Glendronach, which has a clear but balanced sherry character. Glendronach is also surprisingly salty. So unless you really detest sherry character Glendronach is the better whisky.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve: Aberfeldy has a mellow caramel aroma while Glenfiddich is more light and fruity. Tasting both Glenfiddich is more complex, while Aberfeldy is a bit dull.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Glenfarclas 17: Aberfeldy has a sweet caramel aroma and Glenfarclas is a bit sharper, almost a hint of blend. Glenfarclas is also a bit sharper, less developed and more dry in flavour and Aberfedly is very soft. I can enjoy both but I think Aberfedly is better.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Mackmyra Reserve Elegant Ambassadör (4YO): The Reserve is much darker in color. On the nose Brukwhisky is more like a white wine while Reserve is more dark fruits and mellow. Tasting both they are rather similar, but the Reserve is much better.

Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek (4YO): The reserve is much darker in color, and clearly has a more smoky aroma. The reserve is a rather rough whisky that should rather be compared to more peated malts. The much lighter Svensk Rök can not compete.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Jack Daniels: Jack Daniels is darker. These are both rather sweet whiskies, both with qualities and unpleasantries. I prefer Jack Daniels.

Balvenie Double Wood vs Deanston Virgin Oak: Same color. Not the same aroma! Deanston is very much oak in a fruity and nice way. Balvenie has a “darker” aroma, perhaps it is the sherry cask. Deanston tastes fine, quite ligth, a bit sharp, but it does its thing. Balvenie, it is probably the Sherry that differs, it comes of as a bit bitter. I prefer Deanston.

Bushmills 12 vs Highland Park 1998-2010: Very similar color. Bushmills is more chemical, HP more peated, on the nose. Highland Park tastes a bit of stable, and in the end Bushmills being rather dull is anyway preferable.

Bushmills 10 vs Highland Park 1998-2010: Bushmills lighter both in color and aroma. When it comes to taste Bushmills 10 is rather thin and not very tasty, and Highland Park wins despite being a bit quirky. Admittedly, this is an old HP that has been left opened for a little to long.

J&B vs Officers Choice: J&B is much paler. However, J&B has much more aroma. If that is good or bad is not quite clear, because it is a very typical blended aroma with little quality. Tasting both, J&B actually has some whisky character and flavour, while Officers Choice first tastes pure alcohol followed by something rather disgusting unnatural mint/sweet.

Glenglassaugh Evolution vs Glenglassaugh Revival: Revival is darker in color, but that is it. On the nose, both are quite light and elegant, Evolution is richer and has a hint of leather (stable, even peat). Revival tastes flawless but rather dull, with a somewhat creamy character. Evolution on the other hand is more complex even with peated notes.

Highland Park 12 Viking Honour vs Longrow: HP slightly darker in color, but with mostly a sour aroma. Longrow is dominated by a balanced peated aroma, and that is also how it tastes. HP tastes good, but very balanced to the brink of dull, and it fades away quickly. Longrow wins.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Deanston 12: Bunnahabhain is darker. Deanston is more spicy, dry and malty while Bunnahabhain is more mellow, sweet and sherry, on the nose. I think Deanston tastes better, and I prefer it, but perhaps it is because i prefer dry whisky to sweet whisky, in general.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Bunnahabhain 12: Similar color. Bunnahabhain has a more elegant and pleasant aroma, and the same goes for the flavour. Bunnahabhain wins.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Glenfiddich 18: Similar color. Deanston has a bourbon character that dominates, both its own aroma, and also makes Glenfiddich rather… balanced. I taste both and find Deanston fresher, and I prefer it.

Bunnahabhain 12 vs Glenfiddich 18: Same color. Bunnahabhain has a sweeter aroma, Glenfiddich is more subtle and spicy. After a while, quite similar actually. Tasting, Glenfiddich is saltier, more balanced and Bunnahabhain is more powerful and sweet. This is very close, but i give victory to Bunnahabhain.

Deanston Virgin Oak beats Bunnahabhain 12.

Talisker 10 vs Talisker 18: Not much differnce in color. Also the aroma is very similar, 18YO is perhaps a little drier and richer. In the mouth 18YO tastes like an older whisky (Jerusalem Artichoke) and it has more to offer. Peat level is quite similar, perhaps a bit reduced with 18YO. I am surprise these whiskies are quite similar after all. 18YO is better, but 10YO has a more straight peated character which is also a good thing.

Glenglassaugh Torfa vs Glen Moray Peated: Moray a little more pale. On the nose Glen Moray is more peated and Torfa more sweet (with a more subtle peat). Torfa tastes like a classic malt with a hint of peat and Glen Moray tastes soap (and peat). Glenglassaugh Torfa wins.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Similar color, Mackmyra a bit sweet with subtle peat (or rather smoke). Longrow less peated. Mackmyra wins with its dry wood and sweet flavour, Longrow unfortunately dominated by unpleasant bad margarine taste.

Longrow 13 Red vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra slightly darker. Longrow is more sweet/oak (bourbon) and Mackmyra more dried/wood. Similar peat level. Mackmyra tastes more fruit and smoke while Longrow is more deep and complex. By little margin, Mackmyra wins.

Longrow vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra is darker and has a sweeter aroma. In the end Longrow wins by being more flawless and generally higher quality.

Note: This makes sense for the non peated list (where neither of these whiskies perhaps belong). On the peated list, Mackmyra has beaten whiskies that in turn has beaten Longrow.

Longrow 14 (old bottling) vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Longrow is darker in color and a more compex complete product. Springbank is light with not much oak/barrel character, yet very good and with much potential. Longrow wins.

Highland Park 18 Viking Pride vs Springbank 15 Rum: Springbank is more pale. Highland Park has has a rich smooth aroma, not so little bourbon character and a hint of smoke. Springbank is more sour, and not so much vanilla and oak. Highland park is soft and smooth in the mouth, refined, complex, rich and balanced. Springbank is more rough, straight, with a clear saltiness and a hint of sweetness from the rum, not much barrel character. To me Springbank wins. With a splash of water Springbank is very pleasant, while Highland Park has some bitter and somewhat unpleasant flavours.

Glen Moray Peated vs Talisker Skye: Glen Moray is paler and its aroma is dominated by peat with a hint of barley. Talisker is more subtle on the nose. But drinking Glen Moray there is something not quite right, I find it questionable. With some water Talisker is boring as hell, but it does not taste bad. I prefer Talisker.

Hazelburn 10 vs Longmorn 16: Hazelburn is rather pale and Longmorn has an elegant amber color. Hazelburn is light and dry on the nose, and Longmorn has a distinct fruity aroma. Back to Hazelburn, a bit leather. Tasting Hazelburn it has a dry sweetness that lingers. Longmorn on the other hand is really sweet, as in plums or desert wine (well, compared to Hazelburn, that is). I am tempted to choose Hazelburn because I appreciate the dry style and it is more original, but I think Longmorn is richer. Hazeburn ha probably a more narrow or acquired taste and I think moste people would go for Longmorn. Hazelburn will stand out more in your collection though.

For Peats Sake vs Glen Moray Peated: FPS slightly darker in color. GMP more peated both on the nose and in the mouth. FPS has some bourbon/barrel character on the nose but the taste is very flat (but not bad). GMP is drier with a clear taste of fresh barley, and peat. GMP wins.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Glenlivet 15 French Oak: Aberfeldy has slightly more color, and much more aroma and flavour. Both whiskies are rather safe choices: soft, easy to drink and balanced. No smoke at all. Glenlivet is remarkably subtle in every aspect. Aberfeldy, being quite sweat, wins on having more of everything.

Floki Young Malt vs J&B: Floki slightly darker. J&B has a light aroma, not entirely pleasant, not entirely unpleasant, and not entirely like a whisky. Floki has the aroma of water in a radiator – not a light spirit – I guess much of the “tail of the fish” went into the whisky when it was destilled. First J&B is not so bad in the mouth, but then the whisky flavour quickly disappears and a questionable ethanol flavour remains. Floki tastes better than it smells. It actually has much flavour that remains for long, and some early notes of very young whisky/wood. For the whisky enthusiast Floki is a clear winner.

Bagpipers Gold Reserve vs J&B: The Indian Bagpipers is perhaps a little darker in color than J&B, or not. To the nose Bagpipers has little to offer, J&B is rich and malty in comparison. Bagpipers smells like a disinfectant of some sort. Tasting it is the same, J&B has whisky character, Bagpipers, I don’t know, perhaps someone could fool me into thinking it was grappa.

Famous Grouse vs Grants: These two blends have the same color. And the same aroma. And the same taste. Well, seriously, Grants is a bit more dry, in an unpleasant way in the mouth, and I prefer Famous Grouse.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask: After adding not so little water to the Cask Strenght Longrow I think Macallan is a bit darker. Both are rather dark amber in color. Macallan has a very clear sherry aroma. Longrow is dominated by its peated character, but under it, much sherry. The same with flavour, Longrow is two whiskies in one compared to the pure sherry Macallan. Is that a good thing? Macallan is obviously the safe choice, Longrow the spectacular and interesting choice. I have before found an old-margarin flavour in this Longrow, and somewhat similare notes in Macallan I believe. Not so much today. These – both sherry dominated – whiskies dont expose each other that way, perhaps they rather enhance each other. Well, I find Longrow too unbalanced on not quite good enough to defeat this Macallan.

Glenglassaugh Evolution vs Glenmorangie 10: Evolution is more pale. Both have a rather light aroma. Back and forth, Evolution has a hint of leather and is a bit heavier. Tasting Evolution, it is a bit thin though: dominated by a dry burnt bitterness. Glenmorangie is richer, deeper, softer and tastier.

Glenglassaugh Torfa vs Longrow: Very similar color, perhaps Longrow is a little more pale. Torfa has a more peated aroma, Longrow is more sour on the suspect side. However, when tasting Torfa it is quite dull: smoke on top, and quite thin beneath. Longrow on the other hand is soft, salty and complex.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Bushmills Single Malt 21: Similar color. Aberfeldy has a classic malt and sweet aroma, not bad but not too much to write about. Bushmills on the other hand, very rich aroma, like a light bourbon with so much fruitiness in it. Aberfeldy tastes fine, classic, both a bit salty and sweet, and nothing unpleasant about it. Bushmills is very soft and balanced. It lingers for long on the mouth, it is truly pleasant and it is a little firework of flavours. It kind of lacks saltiness and other dry flavours (certainly no peat), but this is an Irish whiskey made to taste fantastic, that is it. If someone has already made up their mind and thinks that scotish whisky is good, and irish whiskey is not, they can probably argue for Aberfeldy somehow. But for the rest of us Bushmills is better.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Glen Scotia 15: Same color. At first Aberfeldy has a very sweet and friendly aroma and Glen Scotia seems more thin and a bit of an acquired taste. But after a few minutes Glen Scotia wakes up a bit and becomes more complex and interesting. Aberfeldy has a flawless but somewhat uninteresting flavour. Glen Scotia is richer and saltier with its Compbeltown origin. I can imagine people prefering the more easy to like Aberfeldy, and I can see myself choosing Aberfeldy over Glen Scotia on some occation, but in the end I must rate Glen Scotia as the better whisky.

Ardbeg 5 Wee Beastie vs Waitrose 10 Single Malt: Ardbeg slightly paler. Waitrose has a classic Islay aroma and flavour without being too much or extreme in any way. It is absolutely good, but nothing extra. Wee Beastie has a powerful sweet aroma of barley and peat. There is something chemical about it. I think Ardbeg 10 has a petroleum smell, and I cant really say the same about Wee Beasty, but it is something like that. In the mouth Ardbeg has a rich smoky flavour, but not much more. I think it is reasonable to say that Wee Beastie is an interesting and funny product for enthusiasts, but all in all, Waitrose is the more safe and complete choice.

Finlaggan (Cask Strenght) vs Longrow: Similar color, Finlaggan probably slightly more pale. Finlaggan definitely has a peated aroma, with a bit of barley. Longrow is more subtle and sour. In the mouth Longrow is more soft and complex, Finlaggan more crude, young and unrefined. I prefer Longrow.

This is a Finlaggan sample I received. I don’t know more about it. It appears to be a rather young whisky.

Finlaggan (Cask Strength) vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Finlaggan perhaps slightly paler. Mackmyra has a more dried and burnt aroma. Finlaggan more sweet peat. Finlaggan has a more classic solid peat whisky flavour, Mackmyra is a little bit off/odd. Finglaggan wins.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Finlaggan (Cask Strength): Ardbeg a little darker in color. On the nose, these are much more similar than they are different – very similar. Ardbeg a bit more peated. Ardbeg is much saltier and a bit fresher in flavour. I prefer Ardbeg.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Isle of Lime Midaik: Isle of Lime slightly darker. At first Isle of Lime is soft, balanced and sweet to the nose. But when compared to Bushmills it is definitly rougher – dry as the very young whisky it is. Tasting leads to the same conclusion. Bushmills is soft and pleasant. Isle of Lime is more demanding, not bad, definitely interesting and promising, but I can not say I prefer it to 10YO irish whiskey.

Isle of Lime Midaik vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Isle of Lime is much darker. These whiskies both have the aroma of you whisky and raw wood. Isle of Lime is heavier and sweeter. I taste both and both being Swedish you whiskies the are quite similar. Isle of Lime is heavier with more complexity and body, which is both a good and a bad thing. I would prefer Isle of Lime, it it were not for the rather raw (wood) flavour that I actually don’t find too pleasant. Mackmyra is easier, lighter and more elegant.

Floki Young Malt vs Isle of Lime Midaik: Similar color. Isle of Lime may have a raw wood aroma, but not compared to Floki. Floki is surprisingly soft though. Not so different in flavour, but Isle of Lime is much nicer on the nose, and wins.

Isle of Lime Midaik vs Jura Superstition: Jura is more red in color. On the nose Jura is more subtle, balanced, while Isle of Lime is dominated by raw wood. The problem with Jura is that it just does not taste good (today, mostly stable and horse flavour). I prefer Isle of Lime, being more refreshing and interesting.

Bushmills Single Malt 21 vs Longmorn 16: Bushmills a bit more red. To the nose Bushmills is more sweet. In the mouth Bushmills is softer and lingers much longer.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Mackmyra Reserve Elegant Ambassadör: Similar color. Bergslagen more powerful, sweet and kind of think, on the nose. Mackmyra lighter but quite flawless. In the mouth Bergslagen is first rather sweet and after that rather bitter. Mackmyra is surprisingly clean and tasty, although quite light. I prefer Mackmyra.

Hven Tychos Star vs Mackmyra Svensk Ek Extra Rök: Mackmyra is darker in color and has a more powerful aroma: wood, turpentine and smoke. Hven is more classic barley and peat. Tasting Hven is good, but Mackmyra is better; more interesting and more powerful, very oily and rich.

Bowmore 12 vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Bowmore much darker in color. Mackmyra is light, dry and burnt on the nose. Bowmore is more deep, sweet and more peated. Mackmyra is not particularly soft when first tasting it, but not bad. Again, Bowmore is more sweet and rich. Bowmore has a different kind of smoke flavour (peat rather than burnt wood), but the real difference is that Bowmore is very oily and Mackmyra very light – with some unpleasant bitterness. Victory to Bowmore – but it is a rather boring whisky.

Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Mackmyra slighly more red in color (both rather amber). Mackmyra has a more fruity aroma and Port Charlotte… a bit sour in a challenging way; it could be the sherry that is rather subtle in the situation and smells odd. Mackmyra is rather stable, a bit sweet with smoke, in flavour. Port Charlotte has this old margarine flavour (in lack of better word) that I have also found in Longrow Sherry, and I don’t find that pleasant. Otherwise it is qualities, but I must prefer Mackmyra.

Glen Moray Peated vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: GMP much more pale, and with subtle peat and mostly grain aroma. PC has an aroma that is not too easy – my wife just mentioned rotten eggs (I don’t know). PC is obviously more interesting, rich, powerful, special and everything. But is it better? Would I prefer it? Since it is the peated category, I will let Port Charlotte win, but I could have choosen GMP tonight.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Penderyn Madeira: Similar color. Both are rather light and fruity on the nose, Glenfiddich a little sweeter. The taste was more different though, Penderyn being more raw and powerful, with some bitterness. Of course Penderyn is interesting with potential, but I think it is safe to say that Glenfiddich is the better whisky. I find more Madeira in the aroma than the flavour of Penderyn.

Penderyn Madeira vs Storm: Penderyn is darker. Penderyn has a more sweet and rich aroma. It is a bit more raw and dry than Storm, but it is more interesting and also more pleasant.

Glenglassaugh Revival vs Penderyn Madeira: Similar color. Glenglassaugh has a subtle classic malt aroma, with some light fruitiness. Penderyn possibly has more of a Madeira character. Glenglassaugh is soft and easy to drink and enjoy, although not very remarkable. Penderyn is more demanding, more dry and bitter. Victory to Glenglassaugh.

Motörhead vs Penderyn Madeira: Motörhead much darker. Penderyn has a more sharp and light aroma compared to the soft and sweet Motörhead. But quite similar. Both taste quite young. It could be that my Motörhead has lost a little strength over the years, but Penderyn is fresher and has more to offer (although a little bitter). Penderyn wins.

Bushmills Single Malt 10 vs Penderyn Madeira: Bushmills very slightly darker. Bushmills has a soft and sweet aroma and Penderyn is a bit more raw. Tasing both, Penderyn can not quite compare. It is interesting and young, but Bushmills is soft and pleasant. Bushmills wins.

Jim Beam Rye vs Penderyn Madeira: JB is darker, and has a more thick round aroma. Penderyn is more fruity. JB is soft and mellow, far from the raw and slightly bitter Penderyn. JB wins.

Motörhead vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: Both are rather dark in color. Quite similar aroma, TX a bit more powerful. TX is a bit more lika rollercoaster in flavour while Motörhead is more soft and consistent. For the bourbon connaiseur TX is perhaps more interesting and with the right style, but for the rest of us I think Motörhead is a nicer drink. TX has a sourness that is not entirely pleasant. Motörhead wins.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Glenlivet 15 French Oak: Fiddich slightly darker (maybe). On the nose these are very similar: subtle, malty and a bit fruity (fresh, like apple). Livet is more mild and soft in the mouth – no flavours standing out at all. Fiddich is a bit saltier and maltier, with more character. This is quite close, but I can not come to any other result than Glenfiddich is better.

Glen Garioch 12 vs Glenmorangie 10: Garioch darker in color. At first Garioch is rather fruity on the nose, Morangie is more subtle and caramel. But back to Garioch it has a leather character, which I could not notice until after Morangie. Quite different aroma. Tasting Morangie it is very soft, flawless, a bit boring. Garioch more sharp, more bitter and more of a challenge. If you are bored of whisky like Glenmorangie and you want more rough character Glen Garioch may be your choice. But in general, I find Glenmorangie more pleasant and Glen Garioch not so easy to drink.

Bushmills Single Malt 21 vs Glenlivet Archive 21: Glenlivet is more red in color. Bushmills has a rather fruity and flowery aroma. Glenlivet is more classic, malty (scottish). The same goes for a first tasting, Bushmills is more sweet and (yes actually) flowery, while Glenlivet is more dry. These whiskies are rather different, both with a long lingering taste. And they don’t really benefit from being compared to each other. Bushmills is more spectacular (and perhaps a little over the top), Glenlivet more classic and solid (and perhaps a little boring). Tonight, it is victory to Glenlivet, for me, but I think Bushmills is a remarkably good whisky to introduce to people.

Deanston 10 (Cadenhead Small Batch) vs Deanston 12: 10YO is remarkably pale despite being cask strength. Also on the nose 10YO is more pale – it almost has blend character – compared to 12YO which is malty and spicy. When 12YO is soft and rich in the mouth, 10YO is tastes like a much younger, more raw, less refined whisky. That can be interesting, but 12 is definitely the better dram.

Bushmills Original vs Deanston 10 (Cadenhead Small Batch): Bushmills slightly darker and more yellow. Deanston is more sour, Bushmills more sweet, on the nose. If I was about to pick the blend based on aroma, I would fail every time. I was about to write that my impression changed with tasting, but no, after a while I conclude that also when it comes to taste, I would fail to pick the blend every time.

Deanston 10 (Cadenhead Small Batch) vs Famous Grouse: Deanston is more pale. Famous Grouse has a more soft and subtle aroma. Deanston has a more dry, rich and pleasant flavour compared to the more thick and chemical Famous Grouse. I prefer Deanston.

Deanston 10 (Cadenhead Small Batch) vs Storm: Deanston is more pale. Very similar aroma, at first at least. After a while Storm is more subtle and Deanston is more sour. Well, Storm is perhaps more soft and sweet but Deanston has more character and a richer flavour. Victory to Deanston.

Glenglassaugh Torfa vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: PC much darker. Torfa first has a dry peat aroma, I imagine both the smoke from the peat and the peat itself. PC unfortunately has an aroma reminding of sewer water. Same level of peat. A fascinating thing is that Torfa has a nice bourbon aroma, that I discover after PC. Perhaps PC reveals it, perhaps Torfa needs time. Tasting Torfa is good, rather dry, but it works fine. PC tastes better than it smells, but it is not good enough.

Longrow 14 Sherry vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Longrow has a better aroma, PC has a better flavour. That gives victory to PC.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Bushmills Single Malt 16: Bushmills a little bit more red, and has much more powerful aroma, much bourbon character there. Aberfeldy more subtle. Aberfeldy is rather classic and nice in the mouth, softly balance between sweet and dry, and it lingers nicely. Bushmills is more of a flavour explosion, soft sweet and flowery. Bushmills if the better whisk(e)y, but if you don’t want anything too sweet perhaps you prefer Aberfeldy.

Bushmills Single Malt 16 vs Glendronach Allardice 18: Rather same color. Bushmills has a more sweet aroma with bourbon, Glendronach more sour with fruits. Glendronach is dry in the mouth but also with a sweet flavour. Bushmills is more gentle. Glendronach – usually a rather soft whisky – has more edge and character; like an old classic scottish whisky with extra extra sherry. I am really fond of the bourbon flavour, in the central to the experience of this of Bushmills. It is victory to Bushmills.

Bushmills Single Malt 16 vs Bushmills Single Malt 21: 16YO was good enough to at least go up against 21YO. Color is essentially the same. Aroma is rather similar, 16YO is a bit more bourbon, 21YO is a bit more deep and complex. Flavour is similar, but 21YO has kind of an extra gear. When 16YO tastes bourbon and fades away, 21YO is richer lingers with flavours and more flavours. No doubt 21YO is better, but when it comes to value 16YO is definitiely in the game.

Bushmills Original vs Jameson: Jameson slightly darker. On the nose, Bushmills a bit more sour and alcohol, Jameson a bit more subtle and soft. In the mouth kind of the same experience, Jameson is more soft (but there is something strange about it) and Bushmills more sharp and harder to like. I prefer Jameson.

Bushmills 16 vs Hibiki Harmony: Bushmills is more amber in color, it is more rich and sweet on the nose. I usually describe Hibiki as spicy, but against Bushmills 16 it is a strange chemical false spicyness against Bushmills has a very soft natural fruitiness. This is a quite close match, as often down to taste, but to me Bushmills wins.

Highland Park 12 Viking Honour vs Old Pulteney 12: Similar color. Old Pulteney has a more rich aroma, yet more sweet and soft. HP is more subtle, more leather. Tasting both is a similar experience, OP very soft, caramel and salt, nice. HP is a little harder to get around, it is good and soft and easy to enjoy for being a whisky with a peated character. You may prefer any of them, I hold OP for the better whisky for being a more solid experience.

Glenglassaugh Torfa vs Talisker Skye: Similar color. Torfa is a balanced tasty speyside, nicely peated. Both taste and aroma is dominated by barley and peat. Talisker Skye has a very subtle peat character. It gives you a hint of the real thing, without being challenging at all. Unfortunately the result is rather arfificial and sweet. Torfa wins.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Glenglassaugh Torfa: Ardbeg more pale. On the nose Ardbeg is much more powerful, making Torfa fade away. However, Beastie has a rather chemical and strange aroma, peat being in there somewhere. In the mouth Ardbeg does not domintate on power so much, it is a rather interesting experience for Islay/Ardbeg enthusiasts, but Torfa is the better whisky.

Bushmills Single Malt 21 vs Deanston 18: Bushmills has a richer, more fruity and more sweet aroma. When it comes to taste Deanston has a classic, complex, soft whisky character that I find better than Bushmills sweet flavour with strong hints of sherry and madeira casks.

Busmills Single Malt 12 vs Glenfarclas 105: Same color. Bushmills has a sweet aroma, perhaps with a bit of bourbon in it. Glenfarclas to me smells like a blend compared to Bushmills: like some tasty whisky mixed out in a lot of ethanol. I like how Bushmills tastes, and Glenfarclas while not really bad, is rather boring and thing. Bushmills wins (but a friend who finds Irish whisky too sweet disagreed).

Glenfarclas 105 vs Glenglassaugh Evolution: Evolution is much more pale. On the nose Evolution is like being inside a destillery, much malt. A hint of pear, or maybe just young wood. Glenfarclas smells nothing compared to Glenglassaugh. Evolution has a surprising taste, it is clearly a young malt with lots of potential, but it also has much flavour. Victory to Glenglassaugh.

Bushmills 12 vs Glenglassaugh Evolution: Bushmills much darker. Both on the nose and in the mouth, I found Bushmills more refined and more pleasant. If you don’t like Irish/sweet whisky or look for something more unusual and intereting, go for Evolution. But I prefer Bushmills.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Balvenie 12 Double Wood: Aberfeldy slightly paler, and with a rather lighter aroma compared to a more mellow Balvenie. These are quite similar in flavour and I do not find it easy to find a favourite. But I think Balvenie is a little less bitter, a little more rich (and salty) and a bit more tasty to me.

Bushmills 16 vs Redbreast 15: I can see no difference in color. Redbreast is slightly more light, fresh and fruity on the nose. Bushmills is more deep and flowery. I taste Redbreast and it has much bourbon character, more so than Bushmills which is more sweet wine. Redbreast arguably has a more simple flavour, it is more like an american whiskey and more like a scotch whisky than Bushmills. Head to head, Bushmills has something artificial and slightly bitter about it, while Redbreast is very pure. I like Redbreast more.

Lagavulin 16 vs Laphroaig 16: Lagavulin is darker in color, and has a slightly more sweet and heavier (more oily) aroma. Laphroaig is more dry. These whiskies are more similar than they are different though. Laphroig is quite perfect in flavour, and Lagavulin is a little more sweet and more oily. Laphroig is more dry and salty. I prefer Laphroig – it is a fresher experience.

Laphroaig 16 vs Talisker 18: Laphroaig more pale, but more openly peated and saltier. This Talisker is very balanced, complex and tasty, and I think it wins. But obviously if you are looking for more raw Islay power, go with Laphroaig.

Longrow Burgundy 14 vs Longrow Red 13: Both rather dark in color, Burgundy perhaps darker but also slightly stronger. Quite similar aroma. Perhaps the wine is a bit more obvious for Burgundy. Quite similar flavour as well. I have come to think that these whiskies have some sulphur character, and that it oxidises quickly. If that is the case my Red 13 has degenerated more, and I prefer Burgundy 14. Apart from that difference I think they are very different. But victory to Burgundy.

Bergslagen Two Hearts vs Longrow Burgundy 14: Same color. Bergslagen more fruity and sweet (I think of cherries) while Longrow is more uncompomisingly raw. It is easier to enjoy Bergslagen but Longrow is richer and has more to offer, but it is also more of an acquired taste. Well, in the end I think it can only go one way, Longrow wins.

Glendronach Allardice vs Longrow Burgundy 14: Longrow is darker, and Glendronach very fruity and mild on the nose compared to Longrow. The taste is different, but head to head, Allardice is rather flawless and Burgundy requires more effort. Allardice wins.

Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök vs Longrow Burgundy 14: Mackmyra slightly darker, and a more openly peated aroma. Same with flavour, Mackmyra is more simple and peated, Longrow more complex. Well, this is not obvious at all, but Longrow wins for being more rich and deep.

Glenlossie SMWS 9YO General Custard vs Old Pulteney 12: Lossie very pale. On the nose Lossie is light and fresh, Pulteney a bit thicker (wax?). Lossie tastes good, surprisingly dry young wood and not very rich. But after Lossie I find Old Pulteney a bit chemical and unnatural (although soft). To me Glenlossie wins.

Glenlossie SMWS 9YO General Custard vs Nikka from the Barrel: Nikka is very rich in color and on the nose it is rough: leather and stable. Glenossie light and fresh and a bit fruity. Against the rich, soft and sweet Nikka I find Glenlossie to thin, (raw)woody and dry. Nikka wins.

Bushmills 10 vs Jameson Black Barrel: Bushmills is paler. Jameson is quite sweet and fruity on the nose while Bushmills is mostly more boring. Tasting is quite similar. Jameson is really tasty, sweet and easy to enjoy, but it is a bit simple and thin. But it is enough to leave Bushmills 10 behind.

Bushmills 21 vs Redbreast 15: Both are rather dark amber and I can tell no difference, but the similarites end there. My nose and my mouth agrees. Bushmills is very soft, flowery and easy to like. Redbreast is drier, with strong bourbon character. I could argue that Bushmills is softer, richer and more complex. Or I could argue that Redbreast has more attitude and a more straight whisky taste. But in the end, head to head, I simply like Redbreast better.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (Selected Malts 2009-2018) vs Jameson Black Barrel: Similar color. Quite similar aroma, Deanston a bit more complex and malty, while Jameson is nice sherry and bourbon but a bit thin. Tasting Jameson it is first very sweet (too much too me) and over to Deanston it is richer, both sherry and malt in a balanced fusion. For the whisky enthusiast Deanston has more to offer. But Deanston is not that perfect and Jameson is still quite good, so it is victory to Deanston but not by a lot.

Highland Park 12 Viking Honour vs Glenglassaugh Evolution: HP darker in color. Glenglassaugh is very pale, with a pure malty aroma. HP has a more subtle but richer aroma, with some peat in it. Tasting experience is similar. For the enthusiast Glenglassaugh may be a more interesting young whisky and HP quite dull. But Glenglassaugh loses on being rather thin and not so little bitter and HP wins for being soft and nicely peated – not too impressive though.

Longrow 18 vs Mackmyra Reserve Svensk Ek Extra Rök: Both rather dark in color, Mackmyra darker. Mackmyra has a few very obvious traits: it is wood, it is a bit sweet, and it is smoked. And it is very good. Longrow is much harder to describe, definitely peated but subtly so, no obvious cask/barrel flavour, a bit salted but not a lot. It is so many flavours very finely interleaved into a full experience. Perhaps what you could expect of an 18YO whisky that is more spirit driven than cask driven? Longrow wins.

Jameson vs Jameson Black Barrel: Black Barrel is darker in color and a bit richer and sweeter (both Sherry and Bourbon I think) on the nose. There is more flavour in Black Barrel too, and it is better in every way (unless you prefer a light thin spirit).

Jameson Black Barrel vs Redbreast 12: Redbreast very slightly darker in color. Jameson has a more sweet Sherry aroma compared to more oak in Redbreast. Tasting both Redbreast definitely has a dominant bourbon character, and I think Redbreast is the better whisky.

Redbreast 12 vs Redbreast 15: Perhaps 15YO is slightly darker. There is more aroma in 15YO, vanilla. Flavour is quite similar, but 15YO is more complex.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Glen Garioch 12: Similar, rather pale, color. Glenfiddich has more citrus aroma, Glen Garioch I don’t know how to describe it: flower/perfume perhaps, or leather. Tasting Glenfiddich it is rather thin, but good. Garioch is richer but it is a little strange. I try to convince myself that Garioch is more interesting but there is something not quite right with it. Victory to Glenfiddich.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Bushmills 10: A little bit more color in Amrut. Both have a quite light aroma, Bushmills more fruity and Amrut more leather. Bushmills is more soft (with a nice touch of bourbon) and Amrut is rather thin, probably dominated by some wood I dont usually associate with whisky. Victory to Bushmills.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Mackmyra Brukswhisky: Amrut is darker and more oily. Amrut has a thicker, leathery, aroma while Mackmyra is light and with some dried fruit (pear probably). There is more flavour in Amrut, which is both a good and a bad thing. Mackmyra is the safe choice here, Amrut the more interesting (or not).

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Glen Garioch 12: Amrut is more pale. They both have a leathery aroma, Glen Garioch is more sweet and Amrut more… sour, or neutral. To my nose, Garioch is more strange. When it comes to flavour Garioch is more rich and sweet and Amrut mostly sharp and thin. Garioch wins.

Glen Garioch 12 vs Jim Beam Rye: Quite similar color. Jim Beam no doubts smells like a bourbon and Glen Garioch… it is like rotten vegetables. But tasting head to head is tricky, the sweet bourbon neutralizes the odd flavours in Garioch, which surprisingly taste salty and nice. Nevertheless it is victory to Jim Beam Rye.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Famous Grouse: Same color (somewhat surprisingly). More aroma in Amrut: leather, orange, and cedar tree (to say something). Famous Grouse is rather subtle and not too pleasant. Tasting both there is nothing to argue about, Famous grouse is thin and chemical, Amrut is rich and flavourful. Amrut wins.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Jura Superstition: Amrut paler. Not so different aroma, Amrut perhaps more fresh and Jura more complex. At first taste, very similar (after watering down Amrut a bit). After a second taste Jura wins: it is softer and richer while Amrut leaves more bitterness and odd flavours in the mouth.

Famous Grouse vs J&B: Perhaps Famous is a little darker in color. Aroma is similar, perhaps a hint of something extra in Famous. And, yes, when tasting Famous Grouse is preferable: softer, more good flavour, less chemical.

Famous Grouse vs Floki Young Malt: Floki is darker in color. Floki smells rotten, Famous smells nothing. Floki wins for being more interesting (and it does not taste as bad as it smells), but chanes are you are better off with a Famous in your cabinet.

Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 Symposium #3077 vs Old Pulteney 12: Old Pulteney a bit more of everything: color, aroma and flavour. But Bunnahabhain is incredibly balanced, very fresh, slightly salted, a hint of peat and quite perfect. Nothing wrong with Pulteney, but it seems a bit artificial in comparison.

Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 Symposium #3077 vs Longrow 18: Longrow much more of most everything. But I find Bunnahabhain has more quality.

Glenlossie SMWS 9YO General Custard vs Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo: GC is slightly paler. On the nose, PV has a very clean malt whisky character with a hint of bourbon. GC is a little bit more odd, chemical and candy. In the mouth GC has more flavour, but it is a little bit everywhere, and a bit bitter. PV is nice and classy. I prefer PV.

Glenlivet 15 French Oak vs Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo: Glenlivet is darker in color, and it has more aroma, quite flowery and sweet. Glenlossie becomse a bit anonymous here. In the mouth Glenlivet is ridiculously soft, quite boring but very good. Glenlossie, against this competition taste rather raw and immature. Glenlossie is more interesting for the enthusiast and more challenging to enjoy, but victory is to Glenlivet.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Jameson Black Barrel: Deanston is much paler on the eye, and also on the nose. Jameson has a thick sweet aroma, Deanston a nice light bourbon aroma. The same is true for the flavour. Deanston, being very light is anyway very pleasant and easy to like. I smell a hint of mint of something, perhaps a bit like a blend, but not much. Jameson is more powerful, it is both better and worse than Deanston. I can not deny that I am a little biased here; I want to prefer Deanston. But I think I can argure for it: it is very light but for being so light, nearly perfect (this is not an expensive whisky). Jameson is harder to enjoy, thick, over the top, artificial. If you like a rich sweet whiskey, go for Jameson. I prefer bourbon to sherry, and Deanston is easier to drink.

Glenlossie 1996-2014 Cask 7058 vs Glenlossie 22YO Cadenhead: Both rather pale, 22YO slighly less so. 18YO has a light, rather fruity aroma that makes me think of white wine. 22YO has a richer, sweeter aroma with perhaps some leather. 18YO first seems to fade away, but then it lingers nicely in the mouth, fruity and very pleasant to drink, not a spectacular experience for the adventurous. 22YO has a bit more of variation to offer in the mouth, very fruity, and I like it both less and more than 18YO. In the end it is victory to 22YO for being more of an experience – 18YO is not quite that perfectly balanced and refined to win by being subtle and perfect.

For Peats Sake vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Longrow slightly darker. For Peats Sake is a mix of soda and peat. Longrow is fantastic, except its very dominant sulphur, that is very unpleasant. I give victory to Longrow, but I guess I am the only one who will every test these two head to head, and I doubt anyone will have a choice between them.

Bagpipers Gold Reserve vs Imperial Blue Whisky vs McDowells No1 vs Officers Choice: I cant do anything of this. They look like whisky, they don’t smell like whisky, and they dont taste like whisky. And it is really hard to finish a small glass of either of them.

Highland Park 1998-2010 vs Highland Park Leif Eriksson: Very similar color, Leif Eriksson perhaps a little more pale. Leif Eriksson is also a bit lighter yet a bit peated, both in aroma and flavour. In the end I appreciate the fresher flavour of Leif Eriksson better.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Highland Park Leif Eriksson: Glenfarclas slightly darker. On the nose HP is peated compared to GF that has more of wine character. Tasting GF it is not bad at all, but it has not so much to offer. Leif Eriksson has a richer more interesting flavour and is not less perfected. HP wins.

Glenlossie 9YO General Custard vs Highland Park Leif Eriksson: HP is darker. Glenlossie has a lighter more fruity aroma, HP is more leather and peat. HP is also a bit too much more powerful for an enterely fair competition (perhaps it should go in the peated category), but I think it is the better whisky.

Glenlivet 18 vs Glenlossie 1996-2014 Cask 7058: Lossie is much paler, and with a slightly ligher and fruitier aroma. Livet a bit maltier. Lossie has a very nice flavour that lingers long and nicely. Livet is richer, softer and it simply tastes better. I can see that Lossie is a single cask while Livet is most like a very mixed and refined product. So while an enthusiast may prefer the Lossie for different reasons, the Livet is more of a whisky.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Floki Young Malt: Same color. They have similar, but different aroma, but whatever is difficult about it (sewer) is stronger in Floki. But Floki tastes a little better than it smells and the quality of the taste is comparable. Floki is crazy and extreme, Amrut more just lacks quality and refinement. But putting it together, Amrut wins.

Highland Park Leif Eriksson vs Longrow: Both quite pale. Longrow is more peated, drier and Highland Park is more sweet and thick. When I taste them, Longrow is much more powerful and rewarding: salty and fresh. HP is rather boring and a bit leathery in an unpleasant way. And it is not peated enough for the peated list. Victory to Longrow.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Hven Tycho Star: Hven a little darker. Bunnahabhain has this dominant aroma of very old closet/attic, and a bit of swimming pool. But compared to Bunnahabhain, Hven is not very peated but quite light. Hven is good, peated and burnt with a hint of sweetness. Bunnahabhain is a softer experience, not so dominant when it comes to comparing flavour though. It is however quite a difference and Bunnahabhain wins.

Bowmore 12 vs Waitrose 10 Islay: Bowmore a little darker. Waitrose has a fresh, salty peated aroma. Bowmore a bit deeper, sweeter, leathery but less peated on the nose. Tasting both, Bowmore is softer in flavour while Waitrose is very straight and dry, but a bit sharp. If you are looking for peat you may prefer Waitrose but all in all I think Bowmore is better, without impressing so much.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Ledaig Prerelease vs Waitrose Islay 10: Ardbeg is slightly darker, Ledaig slightly more pale. Ledaig has a slightly more fruity aroma compared to Waitrose, which is more classic Islay dry and peated (althoug these are quite similar). Ardbeg is different, more peated and powerful. In the mouth Ledaig has a hint of dry/raw wood that I don’t really enjoy and I find Waitrose more soft, rich and lingering. Ardbeg is again more powerful and peated. I find Waitrose to be decent Islay reference whisky, not more but it is good. Ledaig is not quite there. Ardbeg is more of an experience, far from flawless and not very rich and complex, but in this company it is enough to win.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release): Glen Ord a little paler (and cask strength). Glenfarclas has a malty, somewhat salty aroma, with a chemical hint. Glen Ord is deeper and more mellow. Back to Glenfarclas it is more sour and Glen Ord is more sweet. A hint of leather in Glen Ord. I taste Glenfarclas first, it is fine, but not much more. Glen Ord is surprisingly dry and clean in its flavour, back to Glenfarclas it is almost Sherry sweet (and rather bitter). Glen Ord is rather fresh, not so complex though, but perfect in it simplicity – I would probably have guessed something younger. I enjoy Glen Ord better, and I don’t find Glenfarclas very nice side by side with it.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Macallan Sherry Oak Cask: Deanston much paler, and has a light caramel aroma. Macallan a deeper sherry aroma, but I find it too much. Deanston is more naive and simple, and not so little bourbon, but easier to enjoy. Tasting Deanston it is light, a bit caramel, bourbon, vanilla and rather fresh. Macallan is perhaps a bit more powerful (or not), but with a rather sour flavour. Back to Deanston, it is light but it lingers and it is tasty. Macallan, it is not a favourite of mine. I prefer this Deanston.

Glenlossie 1996-2014 Cask 7058 vs Deanston Virgin Oak: Glenlossie much more pale. On the nose Deanston, not surprisingly, has much bourbon and vanilla. Glenlossie a bit sharper, and perhaps fruitier (like grape or white wine – compared to the sweet Deanston). Glenlossie is subtle, balanced, a little salty and very delicate in the mouth. Deanston has much of the good stuff of a bourbon, and little of the bad stuff. Regardless of preference, Deanston stands up surprisingly well, being soft and lingering in the mouth, even compared to the older Glenlossie. I can imagine people prefering Deanston, and I could perhaps do it myself, but Glenlossie has a depth and perfection that stands out.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Deanston Virgin Oak: Kentucky is definitely paler. On the nose, I first found more caramel in Kentucky, but after a while they are very similar. Virgin is a bit more dry and straight, while Kentucky is a bit more chemical and sweet. In the mouth the are more different, Kentucky being surprisingly soft with caramel and vanilla, while Virgin has more traditional malt character and salt. I have to decide that Kentucky comes of as a bit dull, and I like Virgin better.

Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 Symposium #3077 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release): Similar color, Glen Ord slightly darker. Comparing aromas was quite tricky, my first impressions did not last long. These whiskies have quite similar aromas, Bunnahabhain being more powerful. Both are classic and complex with a hint of dirtyness or leather. I had a hint in the aroma, but tasting both makes it clear that Bunnahabhain has some peat, and its Islay-roots separate it from Glen Ord. I find that Glen Ord has a simple and easy to like perfection about it, while Bunnahabhain is thicker, more oily and more dirty; there is both more to like and dislike about the Islay malt. It is victory to Bunnahabhain, but this also reminds me why I have a peated list for more powerful whiskies: Bunnahabhains strongest advantage is its more rich range of flavours compared to the more sublte and delicate Glen Ord.

Highland Park Leif Eriksson vs Nikka from the barrel: Nikka a bit darker. HP has more aroma, first a fresh classic malt, but also some leather and peat; it shadows the Nikka. When it comes to taste Nikka is a bit softer and HP a bit saltier, the difference is less now. I prefer HP, it has a more clean whisky flavour compared to the somewhat chemical Nikka.

Highland Park Leif Eriksson vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra is darker, and it is also more powerful, peated and sweet on the nose. HP more delicate and classic in this company. I taste Mackmyra and it has a rather burnt peated flavour, with a rich sweetness. HP has more caramel and even bourbon now when its peat leather is not so dominant. I much prefer the flavour of HP.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Highland Park Leif Eriksson: Balvenie is darker in color. As expected the aroma is very different, Balvenie like a sunny day and HP like a rather gray day. They are both good, and kind of bring out the best in each other rather than the other way around. I prefer the saltier HP here, and Balvenie gets a little bitter-sweet.

Aberfeldy 16 vs Bergslagen Two Hearts 8: Aberfedly is slightly paler. These whiskies are rather different. Bergslagen has a more oily aroma, somewhat sherry dominated and a bit single minded. Aberfeldy has a lighter more balanced aroma, I think I find herbs in it. Tasting Aberfeldy it is soft, very balanced and it disappears disappointingly in the mouth. Bergslagen is again rather dominated by its sherry flavour, and it has some sulfur notes as well, which is not so pleasant. Aberfeldy may not be so interesting, but it is good enough and easier to enjoy.

Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006 vs Glenmorangie 10: Dalmore much darker, really red. Despite having less Glenmorangie in the glass and pouring it up later, Glenmorangie has a richer aroma: vanilla and caramel. Dalmore, not so much, and not so pleasant either, a bit dirt and oil, Glenmorangie much more fresh. Tasting Dalmore is not so bad though, surprisingly sweet. Glenmorangie is more salty, spicy and it remains nicer in the mouth. Back to Dalmore, it really has quite little to offer.

Bushmills Original vs Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006: Bushmills much more pale, on the green side, Dalmore darker to the red. On the nose Bushmills has much blend character, a bit chemical and not too pleasant. Dalmore is more sweet but more sublte than the irish blend. I really don’t know how to describe this Dalmore. Bushmills actually has some flavour and some complexity, mostly caramel. Dalmore still sweet in the mouth, very balanced, and better than Bushmills.

Bushmills 10 vs Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006: Dalmore much darker. There is more aroma in Bushmills, a bit drier, not necessarily nicer than Dalmore. Dalmore as before very balanced and rather subtle. Bushmills tasted good, soft and balanced. Dalmore is sweeter and more sharp, and less complex. I prefer Bushmills.

Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006 vs Johnny Walker White Walker: Dalmore much darker, and still very subtle on the nose. White walker has a somewhat chemical blend aroma, and it is otherwise more dry, also quite subtle. White walker is sweeter in the mouth, it has some chemical flavour, but it is also quite tasty. Dalmore comes off as bitter, without offering much itself. It is actually victory to Johnny Walker.

Bushmills Orginal vs Jack Daniels: Bushmills slightly paler. Jack Daniels has the aroma of a bourbon (not so surprisingly), not so powerful as I would have expected. Bushmills is more subtle, and it kind of resembles the bourbon but also being more dry and perhaps chemical. Tasting both, JD is more powerful, and it has a slight glue-flavour to it. Bushmills is softer. But to me, softer is not enough. I can tolerate pure bourbon and I prefer it to the rather dull Bushmills.

Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006 vs Jack Daniels: Dalmore is more dark red. On the nose , this is typical bourbon against a very shy Dalmore. The same in the mouth, Dalmore is not bad, but I have very little to say about it. I prefer Jack Daniels.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Redbreast 12: Deanston much paler, and with a mild vanilla bourbon aroma. Redbreast not very different, perhaps a little bit more like the real (bourbon) thing – that could be both good and bad. These are a Scottish and an Irish whisy, both with very much American Bourbon character. Tasting both I come to the same conclusion as smelling them: Deanston is milder, Redbreast more like a real bourbon, rougher in the mouth. I could argue that Deanston is like a bourbon but also more: more complex, more interesting, yet very soft. But in the end I think it just can’t quite match Redbreast.

Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask vs Glenfiddich 12: Balvenie slightly darker, and with a more sweet and mellow aroma. Glenfiddich is more citrus and white wine. In the mouth Glenfiddich is richer, more complex, and the more singleminded sweet Balvenie cant quite compete.

Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask vs Bushmills 10: Balvenie slightly darker. There is something slighty suspicous, chemical, blend-character about the aroma of Bushmills. When it comes to flavour, perhaps there happens more in the mouth with Bushmills although it is quite thin, but it is not quite flawless what happens. The singleminded Balvenie wins, with little margin, on pure quality here.

Deanston 12 vs Redbreast 12: Deanston a bit paler. Redbreast has a very clear bourbon aroma in this company, Deanston is more malt, almost like dry wheat. Same with the flavour, the difference is almost greater now. How do I not make this into an I-prefer-bourbon(-or-not) contest? Although the flavour is different I find them very comparable when it comes to complexity, balance, bitterness and how long and nicely they linger. Well, after a while Deanston wins, it is easier to enjoy (although I like bourbon) and it has more variety and complexity to offer.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release) vs Macallan 2013 (20y): Glen ord is paler. Both cask strength, Glen Ord has a rather suble aroma with some malt, spices and leather. Macallan slightly more sweet and sour, it feels like it does not come out at cask strength. Very small sip of Macallan is tasty, dry rather than sweet. A smalls sip of Glen Ord, it is lighter, with a dry and leather taste. I add a splash of water to both. Glen Ord still lighter, maltier, easy to enjoy, and Macallan is heavier and more bitter. Perhaps more in need of water, I added more water to both and Macallan softens and develops. Glen Ord is a very stable delicate single malt, Macallan has a bit more character for good and for bad. I give victory to the fresher Glen Ord (I am no fan of Sherry whisky, and I am quite sure Macallan has some of that).

Bushmills 12 vs Jameson Black Barrel: Very similar color. Rather similar aroma too, Jameson a bit more straight sweet, Bushmills slightly drier in the smell, but that is not only a good thing. It is quite the same with the taste, Jameson has a nice sweet taste, Bushmills a bit more malty and spicy. I find Bushmills more balanced, mature and complex in flavour, and it is the better whisky.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Bowmore 12: Ardbeg is much paler. At first, Bowmore has a nice balanced peated aroma, and so do Ardbeg but it is more powerful. Back to Bowmore there is something sour an chemical about it, and over to Ardbeg again, it is more the real thing. Bowmore tastes good, it is a quite dry peated flavour and some complexity. Ardbeg is more peated, but it is less whisky. Unless peat and power is the only thing you are looking for, Bowmore wins.

Grants vs Talisman: Grants has a deeper darker color. Grants has a more subtle aroma, and that is a good thing. After a little sip of both, I am about to prefer Talisman though, but that impression does not remain after another tasting. These are both blends with very minimal character. For all practical purposes these are equivalent, but if I had to get a big dram of one of them I would choose Grants.

Grants vs J&B: Similar color, Grants slightly darker. Somehow, both the aroma and taste, Grants feels more conservative and J&B a bit more the challenger. The difference is little, but I find Grants a bit more smooth and soft, so it wins.

Johnny Walker Red, Black, Gold, 18YO & Blue: see Johnny Walker special page.

Balvenie 14 Caribbean vs Balvenie 17 Double Wood: Very similar color, 17YO slightly darker. On the nose, Caribbean is mostly bourbon aroma, with some good will some rum/caramel as well. 17YO is lighter, more subtle, and more dry. The more I compare, the more Caribbean dominates and 17YO fades away. Starting to taste 17YO it is surprisingly and disappointinly thin, some burnt sugar, some bitterness (not much, but there is not so much else) in the end. Caribbean is in comparison an explosion of flavours, quite nice but a bit of bitterness in the end. Caribbean wins.

Balvenie 17 Double Wood vs Glenglassaugh Revival: Glenglassaugh is more pale, and smells like blend and bourbon. Over to Balvenie, no smell at all (no, not exactly, but it is subtle). Tasting Balvenie is flawless but not very interesting. Glenglassaugh is a bit interesting, but not flawless. Balvenie wins (but I could probably come to another conclusion another day).

Balvenie 14 Caribbean vs Jameson Black Barrel: Quite similar color, I think Jameson has a little more color. Jameson has a more powerful, fruity and sweet aroma, Balvenie has a more elegant bourbon aroma. Tasting Jameson, there is some bourbon tone in it. If you like it to be round and sweet, your may prefer Jameson, but if you prefer a bit maltier and saltier, Balvenie is the better whisky. I prefer Balvenie.

Dufftown 18 vs Glenmorangie 19: Dufftown a bit darker, and with a very classic speyside aroma and taste. Glenmorangie, on the other hand, is sweet bourbon caramel and vanilla. Both are really good. I tend to like salty and dry, which would make Dufftown win, but I also tend to like bourbon and that would point to Glenmorangie. I understand and respect any opinion here, but I prefer Glenmorangie.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Edition) vs Imperial 21 (Auld Rare): Very similar color, not very dark for the age. Glen Ord has an elegant classic speyside malt aroma. Imperial is more powerful, not very different but more of it, some fresh fruitiness and some malt. Glen Ord is more bourbon and more subtle. Both come at cask strength and I taste very little and water them down. Glen Ord is balanced: a bit salt, malt, fruit and oil, very nice. Imperial is a little sweeter, and it has a surprising flavour of something I would say is some type of wood – but not really so much oak – unusual but quite nice. Perhaps it is the flavour of “old” – not really jerusalem artichoke, but something like it. After Imperial, I enjoy Glen Ord less. Still, it is quite close, Imperial has something “old and rare” about it, Glen Ord is fresher, perhaps more complex but less refined. Finishing both drams, it is victory to Imperial.

Ardbeg 10 vs Talisker 10: Ardbeg very pale. On the nose Ardbeg is more powerful and extremely peated. In this company Talisker only seems lightly peated. There is something almost fruity about Ardbeg. Talisker is more classic malt (although I cant say I feel any bourbon). I taste Talisker and it is soft, balanced yet powerful and peated. Ardbeg is more petroleum and fire. Against Ardbeg, Talisker becomes a bit shy and subtle, very balanced and smooth. Ardbeg is the more extreme experience, but it is victory to Talisker.

Laphroaig 10 vs Mackmyra Reserve Svensk Ek Extra Rök: Mackmyra darker. Mackmyra has a rather sweet and smoked aroma. Over to Laphroaig my first impression is… mandarine. Well, it says something about how openly smoky Mackmyra actually is. Tasting Mackmyra it is still sweet and smoked, and it has quite much flavour of burnt wood. Laphroaig is more salty, balanced and complex. Laphroig is not sweet at all, but a little more malty than Mackmyra. Back to Mackmyra, I find that it is quite dominated by this dry burnt wood flavour – it is like being in a furtniture factory. This is quite even, but I prefer Laphroaig.

Glendronach 18 Allardice vs Mackmyra Elegant Ambassadör: Glendronach a little darker, and it has a more powerful sweet aroma, with not so little bourbon in it. Mackmyra simply more subtle. Tasting Mackmyra is good, a bit crude, but quite sweet and soft, and somewhat complex and balanced. Glendronach has a nice initial saltiness, nice sherry notes with some sulphur (and I dont like that), finishing like a port wine. Not bad at all. Over and back to Mackmyra, it is 4.5YO instead of 18YO, and the raw wood becomes too dominant. Glendronach is simply better.

Aberlour A’bunadh vs Glenfiddich 12: Aberlour a little darker. Both quite delicate on the nose, Glenfiddich drier and Aberlour sweeter. Aberlour is kind of exotic making me think of wine but not sure of which. First taste of Aberlour is rather soft and a bit unusual for whisky; is it too much, too experimental, or is it quite perfect? Glenfiddich suprises less but it wont surrender without a fight. If you like it sweet Aberlour is the obvious winner, but it is on the brink of too much sweet liquer to me. However, I will give victory to Aberlour because it is both original and good.

Deanston 18 vs Redbreast 15: Deanston is paler. Both have a perfect aroma, Redbreast more to Bourbon, Deanston more to malt. I taste Deanston, and it has an incredible wealth of flavours; so balanced and so complex. Redbreast, it is the perfect bourbon, but against Deanston that just is not quite enough. Deanston wins.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Edition) vs Hibiki Harmony: Very similar color. Glen Ord has a balanced aroma: malt, some oiliness, both dry and sweet. Hibiki is sweeter without being particularly fruity, but it has a more exotic aroma. They taste more similar than they smell, actually (especially after I watered down Glen Ord which comes cask strength), Glen Ord is not so dry and Hibiki not so sweet. I add more water to both, and the difference becomes more clear. Hibiki is richer and softer, and not too sweet – so I prefer Hibiki.

Glenmorangie 19 vs Redbreast 15: Glenmorangie paler, and perhaps richer in aroma, a bit more caramel. Both are very good, but Glenmorangie is incredibly soft and balanced. Glenmorangie wins.

Macallan Fine Oak vs Redbreast 12: Macallan more amber, Redbreast a bit more greenish. Redbreast is more light vanilla, Macallan is a bit more sweet/mellow. Redbreast is better – it is better first, and then comes the nice bourbon finish to completely settle it.

Bushmills 16 vs Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990): Bushmills much paler (Glenburgie is remarkably dark). Bushmills is lighter, more flowery on the nose, and Glenburgie is dominated by sherry notes (i fear sulphur, I hope it was not). I had some water in Glenburgie, but it was too strong, and I fear that is sulphur in the flavour too. Bushmills tastes sweet caramel and a bit malt and bourbon, very nice. With more water, Glenburgie had not developed so much as I hoped, and i still mostly taste sherry and sulphur. Unless old sherry is all you want, Bushmills wins.

Bergslagens Two Hearts vs Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990): Bergslagen more pale. Bergslagen has a more dirty and gritty aroma. Glenburgie more strong sherry, a bit over the top. In the mouth, Bergslagen has a more rich and soft flavour, a fine balance of bourbon and sherry. Glenburgie is more single-minded sherry and more sharp. I prefer Bergslagen.

Balcones Peated vs Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990): Balcones is darker (more red). Not too different on the nose, Balcones has a hint of peat while Glenburgie has a hint of sulphur. First I failed to realise that Balcones is cask strength at 65%. With water Balcones tastes like som sherry wine with peat – not very good. I prefer Glenburgie.

Balcones vs Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990): Balcones more red, not necessarily darker. Glenburgie is saltier and Balcones sweeter. Both of them have something un-whisky-like about them. I think there is more flavour and more to like in Balcones.

Glenburgie 29 (Gordon Macphail 1990) vs Jameson Black Barrel: Quite similar color. Jameson more sweet and caramel, Glenburgie more raw (sherry and sulphur). I like Jameson better.

Dufftown 18 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Edition): Dufftown darker. Glen Ord has a more dirty leather and oil aroma, while Dufftown is more soft and sweet classic speyside. Dufftown tastes like an excellent speyside malt: malty, a little salty, spicy and somewhat fruity. Glen Ord, being cask strength, is a bit more unruly first. With more water, Glen Ord is still a more rough, unrefined and rather un-sweet whisky. It would be easy to pick Dufftown, it it were a little better. Dufftown is the more safe choice, Glen Ord the more interesting choice (and it requires proper watering). Glen Ord wins.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Redbreast 12: Deanston a little paler. Very similar aroma, Deanston a little fresher and Redbreast a little heavier. Also, very similar flavour. But, yes, it is the same difference in flavour, Deanston is a little lighter, a little maltier, a little spicier. Redbreast is a little oilier and sweeter. Redbreast is more like a bourbon, Deanston is a bit softer, and I think I like Deanston better.

Aberlour A’bunadh vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Aberlour is darker in color, and it is quite nice on the nose: sweet soft bourbon, not so fruity. Glen Scotia has a more rough, dirty oily aroma. At first both tastes very sweet, particularly Aberlour which is almost un-whisky-like-sweet. I taste Aberlour again, and I almost think I could mistake it for something not whisky. It is not bad though, I keep adding more water to make sense of it. Glen Scotia is a solid complex interesting whisky, perhaps not for beginners. Aberlour is nice, it has a sweetness with bourbon and berry notes, but it is not enough this time. Glen Scotia wins.

Aberlour A’bunadh vs Balcones: Aberlour paler in color. Rather similar aroma: Balcones a little fruitier, Aberlour a little maltier. After tasting the soft and sweet Balcones, I almost feel some peat and salt when approaching Aberlour – it tastes drier. I feel Balcones is a more rich and full experience while there is something missing in Aberlour. Victory to Balcones.

Aberlour A’bunadh vs Andalusia Tripled Destilled: Aberlour is the paler whisky. Very similar aroma. Andalusia is more fruity, as in berries. Andalusia has a particular and unusual flavour: like mint or some exotic wood. I thought that would perhaps decide it to Aberlours advantage, but Aberlour is more thin and less interesting. I find Andalusia more enjoyable.

Aberlour A’bunadh vs Bushmills 12: Similar color, Aberlour slightly darker. Bushmills has a somewhat drier aroma, with something spicy perhaps even mint. I taste both and Bushmills has a somewhat odd flavour (perhaps it is just Irish) that is not quite perfect. But Aberlour is sweet and thin. You can argue either way. I think Bushmills may be more appealing to the beginner because it is softer, and more appealing to the more experienced whisky drinker because it has more complexity. To me, Bushmill wins.

Dufftown 18 vs Glendronach 18 Allardice: Glendronach perhaps a little more pale. Dufftown is very fresh on the nose, Glendronach more heavy sherry, and more dirty. Dufftown also tastes very classic malty, and Glendronach a bit more sherry and oily. I enjoy the lighter and more deliate Dufftown, Glendronach is more demanding to me, and not quite perfect.

Deanston Virgin Oak vs Mackmyra Elegant Ambassadör: Very similar color, Deanston perhaps slightly paler. Deanston rather straight bourbon, Mackmyra more concentrated sweetness. Mackmyra a bit more subtle aroma. Deanston surprisingly dry for having so strong bourbon aroma. Mackmyra a bit bitter chemical.

Ledaig Prerelease vs Mackmyra Svensk Rök: Very similar rather pale color. Mackmyra perhaps darker. Mackmyra mostly smoky. Ledaig has a more classic peated island character, a bit lemon as well. Mackmyra a bit heavier, but more single minded. Ledaig tastes very fine, but it is rather subtle for being a peated malt. Mackmyra tastes fire and wood, but it is not bad. I rather drink Ledaig.

Balcones Peated vs Knob Creek 9: Both rather dark, similar color. On the nose, Knob Creek has a more honey-sweetness and Balcones more a cherry-sweetness. Knob Creek, being a bourbon, smells more like a bourbon. Balcones has a very sweet flavour, with the not dominant peat coming after a while. Knob Creek tastes a bit perfume or soap. These whiskies are quite different, but also quite similar. Both have some quality, and both are also rather odd. Tasting both back and forth, Knob Creek is the winner in every way. It is a bourbon and with some water it gets quite soft. Balcones really has identity issues.

Balcones Peated vs Jim Beam Rye: Balcones a bit more red in color (but not necessarily darker). Jim Beam has a classic bourbon aroma, Balcones is cherry-with-peat. After all single malt drinking, I think this rye-“bourbon” is like a reference bourbon, and it is better than Balcones.

Bunnahabhain PX 2003-2017 vs Macallan 20 (1993-2013): Bunnahabhain is dark brown at cask strength, but with water it got cloudy. Bunnahabhain is rich and soft on the nose, quite much sherry character and at first not so much else. Macallan not so fruity, perhaps more classic but I have hard to find words for it. Tasting Bunnahabhain it is first rather sweet, a bit too much alcohol (too little water added), and unfortunately not so little sulphur flavour. Macallan can also need more water, it is somewhat bitter, but I absolutely prefer it.

Bunnahabhain PX 2003-2017 vs Longrow 14 Sherry: Can not compare color with this misty Bunnahabhain. Longrow has a powerful aroma with peat in it, compared to that Bunnahabhain is very light and fruity. Longrow is a quite excellent whisky compared to this Bunnahabhain.

Balcones Peated vs Bunnahabhain PX 2003-2017: Well, these two whiskies that smell equally suspicious. Both way too sweet for my taste. Balcones more exotic wood, Bunnahabhain more bad wine. In this company Balcones really reminds me of a bourbon – that might tell how little cask character there is in Bunnahabhain. The sulphur finish of Bunnahabhain is just unbearable. Victory to Balcones.

Amrut Fusion Batch 10 vs Bunnahabhain PX 2003-2017: Both rather pale, and none too powerful aroma, which is a good thing. Amrut more chemical, Bunnahabhain more sulphur. There is nothing I really like about this Amrut, but it is bette than Bunnahabhain (which I wonder if it is degenerating by the minute in my glass).

J&B vs Bunnahabhain PX 2003-2017: J&B – smooth and subtle, is absolutely preferable to this Bunnahabhain. I wonder if something happened to it in the sample bottle.

Bushmills 21 vs Old Pulteney 18: Bushmills slightly darker. On the nose Bushmills is rich and sweet, OP is more subtle and a little more sharp (almost “like a blend” in comparison). However, in the mouth OP is not disappointing at all. Bushmills is extremely soft and easy to drink, with a flowery finish, and it lingers nicely, but for the experience whisky drinker it lacks that something extra or that kick. Old Pulteney tastes excellent, more salt, sea and malt. I personally prefer OP, but those who have a more sweet preference may disagree.

Deanston 18 vs Glenmorangie 19: Both rather pale, perhaps a little bit more color in Deanston. Deanston is malty, dry and a bit spicy on the nose. Glenmorangie a bit sweeter and a bit more winey, perhaps nuts. Tasting Glenmorangie it is soft caramel (probably rather than nuts). Deanston is saltier and fresher, a bit more all over the mouth. Back to Glenmorangie, it is rich and it lingers both long and nicely. I like Deanston but against this Glenmorangie it is a bit disappointing, Glenmorangie wins.

Super Nikka vs Tottori: Nikka slightly darker. For both aroma and taste, Tottori is light, soft, bourbon and vanilla; very easy to drink but with a feeling of blend. Nikka on the other hand is more oily, dirty and leathery. Which one you prefer is much up to your taste, Tottori probably being the safe choice for the beginner. I hesitate a bit, but I like Nikka better.
(these are not listed as long as they are not tested more)

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Edition) vs Hazelburn 10: Glen Ord slightly darker (also stronger). Hazelburn has a very straight malt aroma, with a bit of bourbon in it. Glen Ord not so different, a bit sweeter and softer. Back to Hazelburn it is dry like hay. I taste Hazelburn and it has a lot of flavour, salty malty, perhaps it fades quite quickly. Glen Ord first is a bit – not much – more fruity. Still quite similar – old school unsweet scotch single malt. A bit more bourbon in Hazelburn, also in the flavour. I think Glen Ord is more of an acquired taste, but I have a hard time really getting it, and in the end it is a narrow victory to Hazelburn.

J&B vs Talisman: Both rather pale, Talisman probably the paler. Smelling both, this is hard, could be the same whisky. Both are thin and dominated by ethanol. Perhaps J&B has a little more something – if that is a good thing is not clear though, Talisman more subtle. Tasting both, yes, J&B is a bit softer and Talisman a bit salter and sharper. I choose J&B.

Glenmorangie 19 vs Glenlivet Archive 21: Glenlivet is more dark/red in color. On the nose Glenmorangie is caramel and a bit of bourbon – very soft. Glenlivet is a bit maltier, spicier and the aroma indicates it will be a richer less soft experience. I taste Glenmorangie and it is both soft and rich and it lingers nicely, very balanced and nothing dominates in a bad way. Over to Glenlivet, I am a bit disappointed: it is perfect but I would have expected something extra. It is not obvious to pick a winner. Glenmorangie has a more particular flavour, and there is more to like, and not to like about it. Glenlivet is more anonymous. In my book Glenmorangie wins.

Bushmills 21 vs Glenlivet 18: Very similar color. When having whisky on my mind, Bushmills kind of smells like a desert wine – not bad. Glenlivet more malty and dry, but with sweet hints. I taste Glenlivet and it is soft and easy to enjoy, not too dry, but it is like a want more of it. Bushmills is another story, very sweet and flowery, extremely easy to drink. If the long rich finish were to decide, Bushmills would win. But Glenlivet is more convincing the way it spreads into the entire mouth with a wealth of flavours. Both are enjoyable their own way, Bushmills is kind of unusual (unique) in its soft flowery sweetness while Glenlivet is a very classic malt. This time I will reward Bushmills, it is the more interesting whisky and I think a lot of people would find it easier to enjoy.

Bushmills 16 vs Bushmills Banyuls: 16YO somewhat more red in color. Banyul has a more fresh bourbon aroma, there is something I don’t quite like about 16YO that is not there in Banyuls. But Bushmills 16 tastes better, not too different, but softer and richer. Banyuls is a little thin, and also a little sulphur, unfortunately. Bushmills 16 wins.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Redbreast 12: Very similar color. Glenfiddich more dry, Redbreast more bourbon, on the nose. Glenfiddich actually tastes a little bit Jerusalem artichoke – like an old whisky. Redbreast is more bourbon, vanilla and sweeter. Glenfiddich would have won, were it just a little better. But after a while I can only prefer Redbreast.

Hibiki Harmony vs Nikka Red: Same color, Hibiki is a bit sweeter and more subtle on the nose. Nikka a bit heavier and rougher. I taste both and they are kind of equally good, I find Hibiki easier to enjoy in the end.

Hven Tychos Star vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Very similar color, not so pale. Loch Lomond is definitely peated, a bit petroleum even; rather peat than smoke. Hven is lighter, more wood and compared to Loch Lomond not very smoky. Tasting Hven, it tastes rather fire smoky, and somewhat sweet and fruity. Loch Lomond tastes oily and peated, but surprisingly little flavour.

Bushmills Banyuls vs Macallan Sherry Oak Cask: Very similar color, adding some water to the cask strength Bushmills makes little difference. Macallan is soft, mellow and with a clear sherry heritage. Bushmills is a bit heavier, more bourbon and more sweet; mustard even. Macallan tastes good, on the brink of too much sherry for my preference but a sherry-whisky-lover probably wants more of it. Otherwise it is soft and quite rich, although I find it a bit boring. Bushmills has more kick (I will add more water), and it is less balanced, like a sweetness and a bourbon that has not quite married, and the unfortunate sulphur finish. Back to Macallan, it is like drinking a plum liqeur. Back to Banyuls, with more water, it is coming more to its right. Bushmills is both better and worse than Macallan, and this Macallan is also a bit off to me. In the end I have to prefer Macallan – Banyuls remains an odd funny whisky for enthusiasts.

Laphroaig 10 vs Laphroaig Port & Wine Cairdeas 2020: Cairdeas has a more red tone, without being darker. A bit different aroma, 10YO being more dry and salty, Cairdeas not so surprisingly more winey. I taste Cairdeas and it is good, not like the wine is dominating the classic Laphroig character at all but just like a spice. My 10YO is softer and even sweeter – I wonder if some years in the bottles has softened it. With more water and air Cairdeas is developing some not entirely pleasant aroma (radiator water), and it is sharper, less rich in flavour than 10YO. Not by much, but I prefer good old 10YO.

Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig Port & Wine Cairdeas 2020: Bowmore a bit darker. Cairdeas has a fine peated aroma, but with an unpleasant hint I indicated about radiator water. Bowmore 12 on the other hand has not much of an aroma to brag about after a Laphroaig. Given that Bowmore I find its aroma muted and suppressed, neither the Islay character or a more classic malty character, but something more odd. I am sceptical to both at this point. Bowmore tastes good, again neither very much Islay nor classic malt, it is its own flavour and again a bit muted. Laphroig is definitely a fresher, more interesting experience and a better whisky.

Hven Tychos Star vs Laphroiag Port & Wine Cairdeas 2020: Hven slightly darker. Laphroig has a more sweet and winey aroma, and a bit more peated as well. Hven a bit more subtle. At first, quite similar taste. Laphroaig is a (very) little bit more of everything, and I prefer it, by small margin.

Andalusia Tripled Destilled vs Old Pulteney 12: Andalusia is darker and more red. On the nose Andalusia is very sweet, like bourbon with much vanilla. Old Pulteney is malty, almost minty. I taste Andalusia after adding some water and I immediately add more water. Old Pulteney is nice, still a bit minty, a bit malty. Andalusia has a lot of flavour and quality, but it is very sweet, with a bit of strange wood-flavour. Old Pulteney is more light, almost a bit like a blend, compared to this heavy Texas whisky. These are very different whiskies that I find very equal in strength and weaknesses. I tend to prefer more dry whisky to more sweet whisky, but I can not really give victory to Old Pulteney here. Victory to Texas.

Bushmills 12 vs Bushmills Banyuls: Banyuls a bit darker, at least at cask strength. 12YO has a nice vanilla and caramel aroma. Banyuls a bit heavier and sweeter. I was more impressed with 12YO before I had put my nose in Banyuls. I taste 12YO and it also tastes nice vanilla and caramel. Banyuls unfortunately has that sulphur flavour that I can not ignore, it gets better with more water though, I think. On the up-side for Banyuls it has a nice unusual sweetness, and on the down-side it has its sulphur finish. If I didn’t have a problem with that I would give victory to Banyuls. But I can’t, 12YO is simply better (although not in every way).

Glengoyne 21 vs Longmorn 16: Glengoyne darker. Longmorn soft, sweet and fruity on the nose. Glengoyne similar, but a bit more powerful and more sherry. Longmorn is surprisingly malty and dry in the mouth, but with a nice soft fruitiness. Glengoyne is more sweet but also with more bitterness, less malty. These are quite similar in quality I think, but a bit different in taste. I like Longmorn better, but those who prefer sweetness to maltiness may disagree.

Bushmills Banyuls vs Jameson Black Barrel: Bushmills a little darker but it is also stronger. Jameson has a more sweet soft aroma, Bushmills a little more vanilla. I taste Bushmills and it is more dominated by its sulphur than I remember it. Over to Jameson it stands up reasonably good, not being to chemical and cheap in flavour. More water makes Bushmills a bit better. But Jameson is rich, soft, mellow and lingers nicely. It is truly uphill for this Bushmills, rougher with more personality. More water for Bushmills and, yes, there is a young whisky with bourbon and an interesting desert wine finish. But it just is not enough against Jameson, in any way.

Suntory Toki vs Tottori: Suntory is more pale. Not just on the eye but also on the noste and in the mouth. Tottori is very much bourbon. Suntory is a rather delicate and light whisky (with some bourbon notes)., not bad at all but nothing remarkable. Tottori is more of a bourbon acquired taste. I prefer Tottori.

Bushmills 10 vs Chivas Regal 12: Bushmills slightly paler. With some good will, Bushmills has some malt and caramel aroma: not bad but not too impressive. Chivas even more subtle, not bad at all, mostly a little sweet. Bushmills is more dry, hay, herbs. Tasting Chivas it is soft, a hint of peat actually, a bit oily otherwise classic and tasty, but very light and not too much impression. Bushmills, rather soft and dry, mostly caramel. Chivas is more leather and heavy. Bushmills is more fresh and spicy (even pepper). This is quite even, I think I prefer Chivas in the end.

Laphroaig 10 vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Same color. Loch Lomond is not just peated, it is dirty oily (almost petroleum) and quite sweet on the nose. Laphroaig is more fresh, light and smoky, more sea and salt, also malty. Laphraoig tastes all what it smells, and it is good and complex. Loch Lomond is peated and a bit sweet, somewhat soft, but it kind of lacks the complexity and saltiness of Laphroaig. After smelling and tasting Loch Lomond I find Laphroig quite subtle on the nose, but when it comes to taste Laphroig is still superior.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Glengoyne 21: Glenfiddich is slightly paler. It is also has a bit lighter and maltier aroma, Glengoyne being heavier and sweeter. Tasting both Glengoyne is richer and sweeter, and I find that with the sweet sherry comes some bitterness. Glenlivet is more dry and more malty. Glengoyne is a bit to sweet for my taste. Glenfiddich tastes quite perfect. But Glenfiddich is a bit thin and anyway falls behind the richer Glengoyne. So it is victory to Glengoyne, but I am not very convinced.

Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor) vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak: Glenlossie a bit darker. Macallan has a stronger, less pleasant sherry dominated aroma. Glenlossie a bit more subtle and elegant. Tasting Glenlossie, it is good, a dry base with some extra sweetness. Macallan seems sour but more soft. I don’t think these two whiskies make each other better, but I definitely prefer Glenlossie. It has a better quality flavour and aroma even if Macallan is a bit more soft.

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve vs Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor): Glenlossie is darker. Not so different aroma. Glenfiddich perhaps a little bit more dry/classic, and Glenlossie a little bit more sweet. Tasting, Glenfiddich has a more malty beginning and Glenlossie a bit more immature wood finish. Glenfiddich is softer, a little bit more dry (hay), but this is rather close. Glenlossie is more sweet and it has a dominating effect making Glenfiddich a bit dull. I don’t generally prefer sweeter, but I think Glenlossie is the better whisky.

Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor) vs Longmorn 16: Glenlossie is darker. Longmorn has a richer and softer aroma. I taste both and Glenlossie is surprisingly good against this Longmorn. Glenlossie has both flavour and kick. Its sweetness is dominant but there is a genuine maltiness behind it. After a little break I come back to both, find the bourbon finish in Longmorn and decide it is the better whisky. But I am impressed with Glenlossie.

Dufftown 18 vs Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor): Glenlossie a little darker, and slightly sweeter on the nose. Dufftown slightly maltier. Dufftown soft, with a hint of peat, actually. That was a real challenge to Glenlossie that does not benefit so much from its sweetness advantage now. I really like Dufftown tonight, victory to Dufftown.

Glengoyne 21 vs Glenlossie 2007-2020 (Cairn Mor): Very similar color, with Glenlossie being slightly darker. Glengoyne has a more dry sherry-like sweetness, Glenlossie more solid sweet, but quite similar. I taste both, Glengoyne is like a cheap copy of Glenlossie, which wins.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Bunnahabhain slighly more pale, and it smells like and old closet. Loch Lomond is more sweet and and smoked. Bunnahabhain more dry and fresh. Something about Loch Lomond makes me feel it has a very simple, narrow flavour, but very much of what it is. In an artificial way, like it is mostly loud. But they are not so remarkably different, and it is not like Bunnahabhain is so much better (as I might have expected). But i prefer Bunnahabhain, fresher, more complex, and easier to drink.

Nikka Red vs Super Nikka: These are quite similar, despite Nikka Red is a pure malt and Super Nikka a blend. Super Nikka is slightly darker, a little strong in aroma, and a little sweeter and more dirty in flavour. Nikka Red is a little bit lighter, maltier and fresher. I prefer Nikka Red.

Highland Park 10 vs Highland Park Cask Strength: Similar color, with quite plenty of water (my HP CS is 63.3%, and I understand this varies between batches) I think 10YO is slightly darker. The CS needs some water for the aroma to come out, nevertheless the 10YO has a richer aroma, more peat and leather/oil. CS is more malty on the nose, and more citrus compared to 10YO which has more sweet fruit notes. Tasting is a similar experience, 10YO is a bit softer and sweeter, but also more dirty and bitter. CS is very fresh, salty, rich and lingering, with more peat in the mouth than the nose. I find this HP CS very good: it is a rare type of dry salty peaty whisky and assuming it is younger than the 10YO I can appreciate just what that does to it. Cask Strength wins.

Bushmills Banyuls vs Bushmills Original: Banyuls much darker. Original has a fine, somewhat sweet, somewhat malty aroma that almost hides that it is a blend. Banyuls is sweeter, it is cheating but it smells like desert wine in a good way, Original is more sour. I taste Original and it is thin yet pleasant. I taste Banyuls and it is sweet, a bit rough (cask strength, too little water) and with the unfortunate sulfur finish. Back to Original, it is like on the bring, struggling between being decently good and just not being enough: it is soft, rather balanced, but with not too much character and a bit like a blend. I keep adding water to Banyuls and it gets better. The sulfur actually disappears more than the other flavours with more water. When I added enough water I began to like it so back to Original, and I just find Original better. It is more smooth, more balanced. Banyuls have a few dominant flavours and that is not enough.

Glenfiddich 18 vs Macallan Fine Oak: Same color. Glenfiddich more fresh, malty and fruity, Macallan more oily and sweet on the nose. I taste Glenfiddich first, and it is good but it lacks something being a little thin and a little bitter. Macallan slightly more heavy and sweet, not too different, and I am not that impressed. I left them for a few minutes, coming back I find more wine aroma in Glenfiddich while Macallan is rather rough in the mouth. Glenfiddich wins.

Highland Park Cask Strength vs Longrow: HP slightly darker, but much stronger. Longrow has a heavier and more peated aroma. HP rather fresh against this Longrow, with maltiness, hint of bourbon. Longrow is the bigger experience in the mouth, almost feeling like a sour dry salty peated Islay whisky (very good). But HP is very crisp and fresh, slightly peated, malty and it has a nice dryness (not heavy, sweet, bitter at all). I can argue both ways, and for the moment I will allow myself to make this a draw.

Loch Lomond Heavily Peated vs Longrow: Longrow is barely peated at all against this Loch Lomond. Both aroma and flavour is heavily peated but questionable when it comes to Loch Lomond; the heavy peat dominates and it leaves a chemical and overall rather thin experience. Longrow, not seeming to be very peated, still smells and tastes excellent. Longrow wins.

Dufftown 18 vs Glengoyne 21: Similar color. Dufftown has a richer, maltier aroma, Glengoyne rather pale. Tasting, Glengoyne is more sweet and Dufftown more dry and oily. Obviously those who simply prefer Sherry or sweeter will prefer Glengoyne. I think Dufftown is a better whisky.

Bushmills 16 vs Glenlivet 18: Same color, as far as I can see. Glenlivet has a spicy malty aroma, with a hint of bourbon. Bushmills is more like bourbon, a bit more powerful aroma than Glenlivet. I taste Glenlivet and it is surprisingly sweet. Over to Bushmills it is a little softer (and sweeter with more bourbon). I add a splash of water to Glenlivet and I think it opened it up a little. It is easy to like Bushmills, but I think Glenlivet has more to offer. Switch back and forth a few times Bushmills get a bit thin and predictable, I discover more and more in Glenlivet. Victory to Glenlivet.

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask vs Nevis Dew Deluxe 12YO: Macallan a little darker. Nevis Dew has a light thin aroma, Macallan more oak and sherry. Nevis Dew also has a very thin light flavour, but it is not bad at all. Macallan is heavier, more flavourful, but that is not only a good thing. I rather drink Neves Dew, actually.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Nevis Dew Deluxe 12YO: Deanston slightly more pale. Both have a light aroma, Deanston a bit more bourbon and vanilla. Deanston tastes softer, Nevis Dew is more salty. Not so different, Deanston has a bit more to give. Both are very soft easy to drink whisky, not overwhelming at all.

Ardbeg Corrywreckan vs Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt: Ardbeg much paler. Ledaig has a sweeter aroma, with much Sherry, will see how that tastes. Ardbeg more classic peated, fresh and salty. Same with tasting, Ardbeg i is fresh and classic. Ledaig has quite heavy Sherry flavour. It is rather good, but too much for me. I prefer Ardbeg.

Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt vs Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry: Similar color, both rather red, Ledaig perhaps slightly darker. Port Charlotte, unfortunately, has a rather strong aroma of sulphur compared to the more balanced and pleasant Ledaig. It does not taste bad Port Charlotte though. I prefer Ledaig, mostly by the aroma.

Glenfarclas 15 vs Glenfarclas 17: Very similar color, if any difference, 17YO is darker. 15YO has a light malty aroma. 17YO is very similar. At first I found 15YO a bit more spicy (and malty), but after a while I find 17YO more fruity. It could almost be the same thing. 15YO is rich and malty, a bit salty yet soft, it is good. 17YO has less flavour and is more bitter. Back to 15YO not so impressed any more. Back and forth, very similar. These are essentially very similar whiskies from the same destillery. If in doubt, go for 15YO.

Glenlossie 1996-2014 Cask 7058 vs Glen Ord (2019 Special): Glenlossie paler, very pale. Glenlossie has a light delicate aroma, some white wine and perhaps a little bourbon (well, wine is also matured on casks). Glen Ord is richer in aroma, sweeter and a bit oily without being dirty. Moving the nose between the two, Glenlossie becomes very thin. I taste Glenlossie and it is light, almost sparkling, and just excellent fresh. Over to Glen Ord it is heavier, richer and more complex: a very typical unpeated old highland malt. Glen Ord is more up and down – it has both more and less quality than the very light and elegant Glenlossie. I could prefer any of these. Tonight I will give victory to the flawless, easy to like, but not too interesting Glenlossie.

Dufftown 18 vs Glenfarclas 21: Similar quite dark amber color, if anything Dufftown is sligthly darker. Glenfarclas has a malty aroma, somewhat spicy almost salty. Dufftown a bit more fruity. First impression when tasting both is similar to the aroma. Dufftown is a little bitter-sweet fruity. Quite similar in quality. When I taste one after the other, the first one is better and the second one not so good – both orders. Dufftown bitter-sweet, Glenfarclas a bit acid-dry. I guess many people would prefer the more sweet Dufftown. I will give victory to Glenfarclas – mostly because I like its malty aroma.

Glenfarclas 25 vs Glenlivet 18: Glenlivet perhaps sligthly darker. Glenfarclas has a nice classic aroma, a bit of raisin and vanilla. Glenlivet rather similar, a bit sweeter. Glenfarclas tastes flawless, a bit sweet first and it fades nicely, not too much to write about though. Glenlivet a little woodier, and a little bit more bitter. With small margin I will give victory to Glenfarclas.

Glenfarclas 21 vs Glenlivet 18: Very similar color. Glenfarclas has a malty aroma, rather thin compared to the richer and sweeter Glenlivet. Glenlivet tastes dry and malty, with a lingering bitterness. Glenlivet is sweeter, softer, richer. I add some water to the slightly stronger Glenfarclas, but nothing can change my conclusion that Glenlivet is better.

Deanston 18 vs Glenfarclas 25: Same color. Glenfarclas has a more subtle delicate malty aroma, Deanston has a hint of fusel oil, but otherwise very nice. Tasting Deanston it is soft and it has a wealth of flavours that are caramel, almonds, vanilla and it is a bit spicy as well. Glenfarclas is rather thin, a bit sharp. Deanston wins.

Glenfarclas 25 vs Old Pulteney 18: Glenfarclas perhaps slightly darker. Glenfarclas a bit more malty, Old Pulteney a bit more salt and sea. I taste Old Pulteney and it is caramel, a bit salty, a bit malty, very nice. I taste Glenfarclas and it is a bit thin and sharp, malty but kind of cut off. Old Pulteney wins.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Glenfarclas 15: Glenfarclas is darker. On the nose Glenfarclas is thin and classic malty, Glenmorangie is much sweeter. I taste both, different qualities. Quite much bourbon flavour in Glenmorangie compared to Glenfarclas more dry salty malty flavour. Those who prefer sweet would pick Glenmorangie, but I like dry. Glenmorangie is softer and it lingers longer. I wait a few minutes and come back for the last drops of both, Glenmorangie wins.

Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage vs Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry: 1989 (bottled i 2004) is darker in color. 2000 has a malty and fruity aroma, could be a good mix of malt and sherry. I am not sure of the ABV here, I have reason to think it is rather strong before smelling it, and my nose confirms it. At first 1989 seems quite similar, but back to 2000, I find 1989 more sweet and bourbon. I taste 2000, it is definitely a bit over 43 ABV, quite good flavour. Also 1989 seems strong when I taste it, more sherry character there. I add not so little water to both. I taste 2000 again, a bit sour for my taste. Over to 1989, much sherry character. These are both decent whiskies of course, I perhaps had higher expectations, I dont think so much happens neither in the mouth nor the nose. 2000 has a hint of a funny aroma, fusel oil? But it is more classic than the sweeter 1989. With a little bit more water 2000 tastes like an excellent sherry malt, good balance, good flavour, a bit of saltiness and quite fresh. 1989 has less to offer.

Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry vs Longmorn 16: Longmorn has a little bit more color. On the nose, Longmorn is rich, fruity and soft. Glenfarclas is much more dull, but over to Longmorn again it now has a strong bourbon character. Taking a little break and back to Glenfarclas it has aroma of course, quite classic and that funny (fusel oil?) thing. I taste Longmorn, it is bourbon, salty, soft, balanced, complex and lingering nicely. Tasting Glenfarclas, it is kind of salty and malty. The sherry notes are kind of lost after the more sweet and powerful Longmorn, and I have a mixed feeling about the entire taste. Perhaps someone could be kind of old school and prefer a more dry, tasteless whisky to the very soft yet powerful mix of flavours you find in Longmorn. Longmorn almost appears naive manufactured product compared to this barren Glenfarclas. But I think it is a far fetched argument and I prefer Longmorn.

Glenfarclas 21 vs Hazelburn 10: Glenfarclas much darker. Hazelburn has a soft aroma with some oil and leather in it, but not so heavy and also somewhat fruity and quite fresh. Glenfarclas, very little after Hazelburn, a bit synthetic like some kind of glue. Glenfarclas tastes good, not so much happens but it is a bit salty and malty. Hazelburn a bit dirtier, and perhaps it comes down to preference. Well, there is a bitterness about Glenfarclas and it is much more boring. Hazelburn wins.

Glenfarclas 21 vs Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release): Glen Ord is paler, with a rather light somewhat oily and malty aroma. Glenfarclas rather thin in comparison. Back to Glen Ord it has a bit of white wine in it. Glenfarclas has classic malt aroma, little of it. I taste Glenfarclas, a bit malty, a bit sweet, quite dry. I taste Glen Ord and find it softer yet more oily and fruity. Glenfarclas may be more flawless than the somewhat less refined Glen Ord, but Glen Ord is more interesting, has more flavour, and I prefer it.

Glenfarclas 25 vs Springbank 9 Local Barley: Glenfarclas is darker. Springbank has a soft aroma of leather and malt. Glenfarclas is less powerful, and something synthetic about it. Springbank even lightly peated. I taste Glenfarclas and find it classic malty and pleasant. Springbank requires some water and even with water it is a bit of an acquired taste, and a bit on the peated side. Glenfarclas is obviously more refined. These whiskies are both similar (in power and general taste) and different (in balance and subtleness). 9YO is much less than 25YO. With some hesitation, I will give victory to the more balanced Glenfarclas (that lingers quite nicely).

Glenfarclas 15 vs Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage: Very similar color (after a little water to the 25YO 1989 cask strength whisky). 1989 is has a stronger, and more sherry-dominated aroma. 15YO is light, subtle and malty. I taste 15YO and it also has a light malty flavour. 1989 Vintage has more sherry and is sweeter, but it is surprisingly thin. I would have expected it to be more powerful. Back to 15YO, I like it in its simplicity. 1989 vintage, even if it has more sherry flavours and is 10 older, it is the thinner whisky. I prefer the more dry and malty 15YO.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Lasanta is darker, with a sweeter sherry aroma. 10YO is more subtle on the nose, a bit drier. Bourbon and vanilla in both. 10YO tastes soft, caramel, and a hint of bourbon. Lasanta is more sweet, but it is also less soft and quite unrefined. I prefer 10YO.

Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta vs Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban: 14YO is darker, and has a more deep sweet and nice aroma than 12YO. However, tasting 14YO is a disappointment, rather thin and not so little sulphur. Lasantas is soft, nice and tasty compared to Quinta Ruban.

Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Very similar color. Glenmorangie has a more vanilla and caramel aroma, Glenfarclas is more just sweet. A small sip of Glenfarclas it is both dry and sweet, with a dry bitter after taste. A bit of Lastanta, much more vanilla, it is softer and tastes more sherry. I prefer Glenmorangie.

Dalmore 10 Vintage 2006 vs Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage: Dalmore is darker, very red. On the nose Dalmore is sweeter, Glenfarclas maltier. Tasting it is a little different: Glenfarclas is mostly sweet. Dalmore has a young raw wood flavour, and on top of that mostly sweet, almost with a hint of peat compared to Glenfarclas. Glenfarclas is more mature, a bit softer, with a hint of maltiness under the sweetness. Well, Glenfarclas wins.

Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta vs Jameson Black Barrel: Jameson slightly darker, with a more overt sherry aroma. Glenmorangie a bit more vanilla aroma. Jameson is really caramel-sweet, Glenmorangie more dry with a maltiness. Jameson a bit cheap sweet, but softer and Glenmorangie a little rougher but more authentic. Glenmorangie wins.

Highland Park Cask Strength vs Highland Park 18: CS slighly paler, and I find that it needs not so little water to release aroma, and when it does it is an interesting and good mix of peat, leather, malt, but also some slightly more suspicious chemical notes. 18YO is much softer, a bit more fruity, less peated. Tasting 18YO is a more dry, sharp and burnt experience. 18YO is softer, and so balanced I almost think the distinctive flavours are a little lost. Nevertheless 18YO is the better whisky, but CS is enjoyable next the older HP, and that is not bad.

For Peats Sake vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: FPS is a little darker, and it has a nice quite subtle peated aroma. Loch Lomond has a much heavier, sweeter and thicker aroma. I must say I find LL a bit over the top, the aroma reminds me of the warm mash tuns in a destillery. Initially FPS tastes ok, but after drinking LL, I find FPS unnatural and not quite like whisky at all. LL on the other hand is balancing on the thin line between decent heavy whisky, peat, and something I think will make me sick. Loch Lomond has much more flavour, and is definitely better.

Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid) vs Glenfarclas 17: Similar color, Glenallachie slightly darker. Glenfarclas rather dry and malty on the nose, Glenallachie a bit sweet fruit or desert wine. Tasting both, interesting, quite similar in quality (complexity, depth, richness and how long it lingers). But Glenallachie is more soft, sweet and round and Glenfarclas is more malty and dry. If I was only smelling them I would perhaps pick Glenallachie but in the mouth it becomes bitter-sweet and even if Glenfarclas is not a very powerful whisky I think it has more flavour. Those who prefer sweet to dry would disagree when I prefer Glenfarclas.

Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid) vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Very similar color. Glenmorangie has a more sweet smell, although they are not very different. Tasting both, Glenmorangie has a surprisingly heavy flavour, a little bit more oil and leather, than Glenallachie. Again, they are not very different in taste or quality, rather very similar. I could pick anyone, I pick Glenallachie for being a bit more balanced and subtle, which may not be how someone else would have reasoned.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Glenmorangie Sauternes: 10YO a little paler. On the nose Sauternes is a little sweeter and 10YO a little dryer. When it comes to flavour 10YO has more of sweet nutty caramel (which I like much) and Sauternes is more dry and rough. Sauternes is fine, but I prefer 10YO.

Glenlossie 22YO Cadenhead vs Redbreast 15: Glenlossie is remarkably pale for its age. Redbreast is sweet with a bit of bourbon on the nose, Glenlossie is dry, almost like hay. Redbreast has a very fine bourbon flavour, without the roughness and without being too much – a really nice whisky. But Glenlossie is a remarkably nice speyside whisky, not very powerful but so tasty, malty, crisp, lingering and elegant. Glenlossie wins.

Deanston (Selected Malts Oloroso Finish 2009-2018) vs Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry: Deanston a little darker. Quite similar on the nose, Deanston a bit more bourbon. I add a little water to Glenfarclas and taste, quite rough so I add more water. Over to Deanston it has a typical sherry whisky flavour, a bit dry and does not linger very long. A bit more water in Glenfarclas and it has a nice combination of malt and sherry, although not to impressive and with some bitterness lingering. Deanston has a more sweet, light, fresh and clean flavour. Glenfarclas more bitter in comparison. Deanston wins.

Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry vs Glenmorangie 12 Lasanta: Glenmorangie slightly darker, more sweet and bourbon on the nose. Tasting the difference is less, but similar, Glenfarclas being rather bitter and closed while Glenmorangie is a bit softer. Glenmorangie wins.

Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry vs Jameson Black Barrel: Glenfarclas paler. Jameson has a more cheap, sweet bourbon aroma, Glenfarclas a bit more subtle and bittersweet. The flavour is kind of similar, there is something artificial and unnatural about Jameson that makes it tasty but also not entierly convincing. Glenfarclas is more clean an classic and I prefer it.

Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry vs Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban: Glenmorangie is darker. Quite similar aroma, Glenmorangie a bit softer and sweeter, Glenfarclas a bit maltier and sour. In the mouth the difference is larger, Glenfarclas being quite classic malty while Quinta Ruban is more dominated by its port finish, and unfortunately its sulfur. Glenfarclas is also softer, and wins.

Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage vs Jameson Black Barrel: Glenfarclas slightly darker (perhaps becuase it is stronger). Jameson has more sweet rich bourbon aroma, Glenfarclas is more dry and sour. Jameson has a soft an nice flavour that works also after Glenfarclas, which is rather raw and sour. Jameson wins.

Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban vs Jameson Black Barrel: Glenmorange is more red in color. Jameson is richer, softer and more bourbon on the nose. Glenmorangie quite suble, a bit fruity. Glenmorangie has some nice sweetness in the mouth, but it is also lacks softness and it tastes sulphur. Jameson wins.

Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage vs Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban: Perhaps slightly more color in Glenmorangie. Glenfarclas has a more classic whisky aroma, a bit maltier and saltier, while Glenmorangie is more sweet. Tasting Glenmorangie, it has perhaps the bigger taste but that is not quite to its advantage. Glenfarclas is softer, more balanced and tastes less sulphur, and wins.

Balcones Peated vs Glenfarclas 1989 Vintage: Balcones is darker. Balcones has a fresh fruity smell, like cherries or something, Glenfarclas a more old sweet smell, a bit like closet but more classic. Glenfarclas is nice, a bit sweet, a bit salty, a bit malty. Balcones is a more odd whisky, quite pleasant with enough water. I find these comparable in quality. Balcones odd but somehow more attractive, Glenfarclas more classic but not quite so appealing. In the end, Balcones has to win, Glenfarclas is simply not good enough at its own game.

Bushmills Banyuls vs Jura Superstition: Similar color, Jura perhaps a little darker (but Banyuls is watered down). Bushmills has a sweet fruity bourbon aroma. Jura a bit more leather and oil. Jura tastes a bit leather and oil too. Banyuls is perhaps even thinner, with its sour-sweet sulphur-lingering taste. Banyuls has some interesting quality but it is too odd. Jura wins.

Bushmills Banyuls vs Floki Young Malt: Bushmills darker, more red. Floki has this very particular, thick, not too pleasant aroma. It is sweeter and softer though, than the more rough and sour Bushmills. If I am to be really enthusiatic about Bushmills it is fruity, sweet and with a kick. Floki, it tastes better than it smells, is quite soft for being so young, and has an interesting taste of wood that I would guess is not normal boubon oak. I wish I could say there was more bourbon aroma and flavour in Bushmills, and I wish I could ignore the rough feeling in the mouth and the lingering sulphur. But I can’t, and if I just decide that what smells like rotten radiator water is probably just some unusual wood (there are not trees in Iceland), Floki is a quite consistent and soft experience. Floki wins.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Oban Distillers Edition: Glenmorangie much paler. Glenmorangie has a caramel aroma, with some dryness (hay or mint) and a bit of bourbon. Oban is surprisingly subtle; a bit of sherry and bourbon. Glenmorangie is soft, caramel, with a lingering bourbon. Oban is rather subtle, quite winey, a little bitter and some saltiness, and a hint of sulphur. I prefer Glenmorangie.

Buffalo Trace vs Knob Creek: Buffalo is paler. Both have a distinctive bourbon aroma, I find Buffalo Trace milder and sweeter while Knob Creek is more powerful. Flavour is similar, Knob Creek has more of everything and that is not necessarily a good thing. But Buffalo is sweeter in a creamy way, quite nice. I prefer Buffalo.

Jameson vs Jim Beam Black: Jim Beam is darker. Jameson is softer on the nose, Jim Beam has a strong distinctive bourbon aroma. Jameson tastes quite fine, a bit of quality, some mintiness that I dont quite. Jim Beam Black not being so overwhelming as I expected has a fine bourbon flavour. Jameson is the easy, safe, soft, boring choice, but if you are a little more brave, looking for a little bit more Jim Beam Black is a much better choice.

Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid) vs Glenfiddich 12: Glenallachie is darker, and has a thicker, sweeter aroma. Glenfiddich is more dry, malty and fresh. Tasting both I find Glenallachie more powerful (it is stronger and I add more water). Glenfiddich tastes more like a mainstream product (but not bad). I don’t really get Glenallachie, is it bourbon? Is it oily? I prefer Glenfiddich for its simple fresh maltiness.

Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid) vs Chivas Regal 12: Perhaps Glenallachie is a little darker, but it is also a little stronger. Chivas Regal has a light aroma, classic, but not much to write about. Glenallachie is a little bit more oil and leather. Chivas Regal is very soft ang gentle in my mouth (with some leather as well). The immediate impression after switching to Glenallachie is that it is a rather acquired taste. I add more water to Glenallachie, it is not so different from Chivas Regal, but more bitter. Chivas Regal wins.

Bowmore 18 vs Talisker 18: Bowmore is darker, and perhaps a bit more peaty, especially more smoky, on the nose. Both have an excellent smell. Talisker more has old whisky smell, and Bowmore more peated Islay smell. Tasting Bowmore, yes it has a quite fresh smoky flavour despite its old age. Talisker is different, less peated but a rich flavour with jerusalem artichoke. Bowmore is good, but not quite as good as Talisker.

Bunnahabhain 1991-2020 vs Imperial 21 (Auld Rare): Imperial slightly darker, powerful sweet and somewhat fruity bourbon aroma. Bunnahabhain is lighter, less intensive and not such obvious sweet and fruity, more like white wine, slightly peated compared to Imperial. Bunnahabhain soft, lingering nicely and very long, very balanced and not overwhelming. Neither peated nor salty. Imperial tasts jerusalem artichoke, more malty, salty, lingers nicely. Bunnahabhain is very smooth and flawless. Bunnahabhain is the safe choise, but I think Imperial is the bigger experience, so Imperial wins.

Jameson vs White Walker: Jameson a little darker. Jameson has a light, somewhat chemical smell. White Walker is less sweet. Both smell a bit ethanol like a blend. So I taste both and Jameson is more on the sweet irish side, White Walker more on the dry scottish side (I am a bit surprised because I remember it as very sweet and almost like a liqeur-whisky). Head to head, white walker really tastes alcohol and not very much flavour to me. I prefer Jameson.

TX Texas Straight Bourbon vs White Walker: The bourbon is much darker. As expected the bourbon has a more powerful aroma, dominated by bourbon but a bit dry/hay/mint. White Walker at best can be described as a classic scotch blend, but it is thinner and kind of smells ethanol. I taste White Walker, it has some maltiness, some sweetness and something chemical about it. The bourbon is richer and more powerful, yet surprisingly soft for a bourbon. TX wins.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Glen Moray: Glenfiddich slightly darker. Glen Moray has a more sweet, candy-like and fruity aroma. Glenfiddich is maltier and more classic. Same thing when tasting them: Glenfiddich a bit malty and even salty. It is like you could think Glenfiddich is made of some grain and Glen Moray comes from some fruit. Glenfiddich wins.

Jameson vs Suntory Toki: Suntory is very pale. Jameson is a more thick bourbon-like experience. Suntory Toki is light, subtle, elegent, balanced and more of fresh fruits. However these whiskies are quite similar both in character and quality. I prefer Suntory.

Buffalo Trace vs Jameson Black Barrel: Similar color, Buffalo trace perhaps a little darker. Buffalo Trace has a solid soft bourbon aroma. In comparison Jameson comes off as a little but odd, like something fat that has been too long in the fridge. I take a small sip of Jameson and it is light, good, elagant and soft. I take a small sip of Buffalo Trace and it is a bit rougher, more bourbon (obviously) but it lingers nicely. I take a larger mouth of Buffalo Trace and it is a rather satisfying bourbon. I take a similar sip of Jameson, and no, it is a bit sour and off. Buffalo Trace wins.

Brora 38 vs Imperial 21 (Auld Rare): Brora very slightly darker. Imperial has a rich and complex aroma, apart from peat I can find almost anything I search for in it, but I find it surprisingly fresh and fruity tonight. Brora is heavier, makes me think of cigarrs and tobacco. I start with Imperial and a small sip without water. It is rich and complex, lingering, with some bitterness in the end. Brora is more soft, it has this jerusalem artichoke flavour, and even if it is not so peated after a while it lingers with the sourness of a rather peated whisky. I add some water to Imperial, but after Brora it is not so impressive anymore, a bit metallic and bitter. Back to Brora, with some water, it tastes amazingly good but it is a little lighter than I would have expected. I finish Brora, it is a remarkable and quite unique whisky. I finish Imperial, and even though I already decided for Brora my last impression of Imperial is quite strong.

Glenmorangie 14 Quinta Ruban vs Oban Distillers Edition 2006-2020: Glenmorangie is darker. Glenmorangie is a bit malty, fruity, vanilla (without bourbon), sweet and quite fresh. Oban is really like white wine, fresher and almost sparkling. Back to Glenmorangie, almost banana, coconut and mango. Oban is quite light, fresh but quite sweet, but a solid lingering flavour. Tasting Glenmorangie the good parts are good, but there is a hint of sulphur. With more water it becomes softer, more fruity, but I find something metallic about it too. Glenmorangie has a nice fruity, not so malty, body. Oban is more solid and wins.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Glen Scotia Victoriana: Glen Scotia darker. Deanston very pale, and very light on the nose, more like a white wine than like a bourbon. Glen Scotia has quite peculiar aroma, very floral, and a bit leather, perhaps a hint of peat. Back to Deanston, now it is bourbon an vanilla (but light and fresh). Deanston tastes very good, bourbon and vanilla, smooth, but very light. Glen Scotia is like cocktail of all whisky flavours imaginable, it is obviously high quality but it does not taste so good. Back to Deanston, unfortunately Glen Scotia is a bit over powered and Deanston is not quite the same after Glen Scotia. I think in the end I prefer Deanston.

Glendronach Batch 9 vs Glenmorangie Lasanta: At cask strength Glendronach is a bit darker. Glenmorangie is more caramel/vanilla-sweet on the nose. Glendronach is a bit rougher, but there is something fruitier about it too, still at cask strength. I add water in Glendronach, and there are really raisins and figs there, quite different from the more malty bourbon Glenmorangie. I taste Glendronach and it is very fruity, yet not very soft. Lasanta also not so soft, and more of fruits in the mouth than on the nose. Glendronach is so fruity that it is a bit sour, somewhat metallic in the end. This (sherry-bombs) is not my favourite whisky category. I think Glendronach does its thing very good while Lasanta feels like a compromise between bourbon and sherry, and in the end it just does not taste so spectacular. Glendronach wins.

Glendronach Batch 9 vs Oban Distillers Edition: With Glendronach at cask strength colors are very similar. Oban is like light wine on the nose, Glendronach is like the thick sweet remains after making the wine. Oban is malty, a bit salty, soft, sweet and lingering. Glendronach is rougher, less malty and a more single-minded experience. Oban unfortunately has a hint of sulphur. Glendronach is a more unpolished experience, Oban more crafted and balanced. Quite similar quality here, I could decide both ways. Oban is like a very soft malt whisky, Glendronach on the other hand is a sherry-bomb, it has left whisky behind it and it is going into its own territory. I have some respect for the craft of this Glendronach, but I prefer Oban.

Glenallachie 10 (Murray McDavid) vs Glendronach Batch 9: Glenallachie darker, and with a softer aroma. Glendronach is more raw and unrefined. Not too different in flavour actually. Glendronach a bit more rich and powerful, but Glenallachie has more elegance and balance. Both have a strong sherry type influence. I prefer Glenallachie.

Balvenie 12 Double Wood vs Redbreast 12: Very similar color, perhaps Balvenie slightly darker. Balvenie has a very nice aroma, hint of wine or sherry but also maltiness. Rebreast is more powerful and with a distinct bourbon character: vanilla and caramel. My impression mostly remains when tasting. Balvenie is – in my mouth – a remarkably well balanced mix of sherry and classic malt whisky; this is when sherry adds something extra without removing the core of a speyside whisky. Redbreast is a delicious “bourbon”. But compared to Balvenie, it is a bit single minded. It is flawless but it lacks complexity and depth. Balvenie wins.

Nikka 12YO Blended vs Nikka Coffey Malt: Identical color. Blended has a soft sweetish aroma. Coffey malt quite similar. These whiskies are obviously related. Blended is a bit more like burnt sugar and coffey malt a bit more like creamy caramel. Blended has a more classic whisky aroma and Coffey malt is a little bit more odd, chemical. I taste Coffey Malt and it is nice, soft and sweet, quite delicate and light but it lingers nicely nevertheless. Blended has more saltiness, even some leather and peat. I find this interesting because I learnt the other day that a light peat is often a sign of a blend, and it feels like the 12YO Blended IS a Coffey Malt with extra stuff. However, there is a softness and a depth to the Coffey malt that is not there in the blend. Coffey Malt wins.

Chivas Regal 12 vs Nikka 12YO Blended: Nikka slightly darker. On the nose Chivas is quite classic and subtle, Nikka a bit more elegant, like high notes of wine and deeper notes of leather. Tasting Chivas it is very soft, classic, quite ligth, nothing wrong but also not so much to like. Nikka is richer, more complex and rich, and just like on the nose it is wider experience. Nikka wins.

Glenfarclas 17 vs Nikka 12YO Blended: Very similar color. Glenfarclas is dry on the nose, perhaps with hints of fusel oil. Nikka is soft, rich and classic. Back and forth, they are not that different actually. I taste Glenfarclas and find it fresh, malty, soft and it is light and fades quite quickly leaving nothing behind. Nikka is more sweet and oily. Glenfarclas is dry, like hay or almost mint. Nikka tastes better and wins.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Nikka 12YO Blended: Glenmorangie is more pale. There is something herbal about the aroma of Glenmorangie, Nikkas is thicker and sweeter. Glenmorangie more bourbon, vanilla and light caramel. Nikka more oily and burnt sugar. Glenmorangie has a nice flavour with vanilla, caramel and also quite dry notes like perhaps mint. Nikka is a bit rougher, more powerful, but not necessarily easier to enjoy. I have mixed feelings about both. Nikka is a little raw and dirty, Glenmorangie a little dry towards hay. It is victory to Nikka after all.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 9: Bunnahabhain a bit darker. Glendronach has a more fruity aroma, Bunnahabhain heavier with more raisins. Bunnahabhain is more like a port wine, Glendronach like a more sweet desert wine. Glendronach has a nice fruity flavour, not so much whisky as it is finish. Bunnahabhain is a remarkably rich, soft and old-tasting whisky. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Imperial 21 (Auld Rare): Imperial is paler. Very different aroma. Imperial is more dry, a bit burnt, almost peated. Bunnahabhain is sweet, rich and soft. I find that Imperial has a more open and wide in the mouth, very malty and not sweet or fruity. Bunnahabhain is thicker and in a way more powerful but less rich. This Bunnahabhain is very fine Oloroso whisky. However, Imperial is a very find old speyside malt. I can not pick one ahead of the other easily on quality, this is down to preference. I am not usually a fan of sherry matured whiskies, and I find the Bunnahabhain – compared to this Imperial – a bit more narrow in flavour. I prefer Imperial, but for you sherry fans, go with Bunnahabhain.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Bushmills 21: Bushmills is slightly paler. Bushmills is a bit more caramel, even mint, on the nose. Bunnahabhain more heavy and sweet. Bushmills tastes very soft, with a broad palette of delicate sweet almost floral flavours. Bunnahabhain is more of an acquired taste, maltier, even a bit peated. Back to Bushmills, it is really easy to enjoy and drink, but in comparison to Bunnahabhain there is something naive, almost candy-like about it. From a scotch whisky perspective I can easily prefer Bunnahabhain, but Bushmills is convincing in its own way. It is victory to Bushmills, but it may be because of my lack of appreciation for sherry.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Glengoyne 21: Bunnahabhain much darker, and with a rich complex salty peaty aroma. Glengoyne light, delicate and balanced, on the sweet side. Glengoyne tastes good, a bit like burnt sugar, easy to drink but not very rich or complex. Bunnahabhain is rich and complex, a completely different level of experience here. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Longmorn 16: Longmorn much paler, and with a soft delicate bourbon-caramel aroma. Bunnahabhain is rougher, richer, saltier and almost peated. Longmorn is easy to enjoy, soft and balanced. Bunnahabhain is also in flavour more rough, rich and with a more defined sherry origin. Bunnahabhain wins.

Bunnahabhain 21 Königsmann Oloroso vs Springbank 15 Rum PC#629: Springbank very much paler, and with a very salty, quite peated ocean aroma. Bunnahabahain, it is like same but different: I feel the same salty sea origin, but with a lot of sweetness on top. I taste Springbank and it is light, salty, peated and with a definite rum origin (for good and for bad). I taste Bunnahabhain and is is rich, heavy, sweet and lingering. Two very different expressions that have much in common (both West Scotland Coastal whiskies matured on more sweet and exotic casks). Bunnahabhain wins.

Kilchoman UK Small Batch vs Laphroaig 10: This Kilchoman sample bottle says Bourbon/Sherry/Madeira. It is anyway quite pale, more pale than Laphroaig. Kilchoman has a fresh, peated somewhat woody aroma that makes me think it is quite young. Laphroaig is a bit more oily, back to Kilchoman it is actually a bit fruity (perhaps those woods). I taste Kilchoman and it is a fine peated whisky with some unusual sweetness there. Over to Laphroig, more sour and less fruity, perhaps abit more deep peated character though. I appreciate both, and I think Kilchoman is doing a very good job not being domintated by those sherry and madeira casks, but I find it a bit bitter. I prefer Laphroig, with very little margin.

Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra much darker. Bunnahabhain is dominated by this old attic aroma. Mackmyra is more fresh wood and fire. I taste Mackmyra and it is not overly complex, but rich, quite sweet and with a deep peated character. I taste Bunnahabhain and it is salty, fresh and tastes like the sea. Back to Mackmyra, not bad, but not enough. Bunnahabhain wins.

Kilchoman UK Small Batch vs Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek: Mackmyra is darker, with a woody, somewhat sweet peated aroma. Kilchoman is less peated, and has a more classic malt character compared to Mackmyra, almost like caramel and some green fruits. Mackmyra has something more heavy, terpentine, about it. I taste Kilchoman, very classic Islay character, almost flawless, quite soft but also with a kick. Mackmyra tastes less peated, and it is more off in flavour. Kilchoman wins.

Kilchoman UK Small Batch vs Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt (Single Malts of Scotland): Ledaig is darker. Kilchoman has a more classic, salty sea Islay malt aroma. Ledaig is sweeter and more dominated by sherry. Tasting Ledaig, it is quite dominated by its sherry origin. I prefer Kilchoman.

Bowmore 12 vs Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt: Ledaig is darker, and its aroma has more of everything, sweetness, complexity and peat. Bowmore tastes ok, malty, not so sweet but with some quite odd wood/caramel flavour. Ledaig has a quite powerful sherry character, almost too much for me, but it does it very good. Ledaig wins.

Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt vs Longrow 13 Red: Ledaig is darker (more red, ironically). Ledaig has a more powerful, in your face, aroma, like more raw. Longrow seems quite sophisticated and soft in comparison. Tasting Longrow it is salyt, not so peaty and not so salty – it does have an unfortunate mild sulphur flavour though, more like margarine. Apart from that Sulphur, it tastes quite great, although not so peated. Ledaig is more peated, more sweet, more rich and it has little sulphur flavour. Ledaig wins.

Bowmore 15 Darkest vs Ledaig 11 Sherry Butt: Ledaig is darker (ironically). Bowmore is rather soft, almost fruity compared do the more rought Ledaig. Bowmore almost does not seem like a peated whisky here. I taste it and I more think of caramel and malt. Very nice flavour. Ledaig has it sherry character, definitely, and it is more powerful and more peated. There is some you wood character in Bowmore (surprisingly), and also a hint of sulphur (it seems, I think, it is sherry matured this one). Ledaig wins.

Bowmore 12 vs Bowmore 15: The older one is a bit darker, and has a richer, more fruity aroma. None are particularly peated and Bowmore 12 is disappointingly anonymous. I taste Bowmore 12, well, it has a classic salty malty flavour with what I could call caramel if friendly, but rather call fresh burnt wood if not so impressed. Bowmore 15 is a bit richer, sweeter, perphaps saltier, but its sherry origin actually leaves some sulphur notes behind. These are quite similar, and I can really image the 15YO being a 12YO finished on some sherry casks giving some sweetness and unfortunately some sulphur. But ok, I will give it to 15YO, all in all it is better.

Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo vs Highland Park 10 Viking Scars: Glenlossie is paler than the already quite pale HP. First impression of Glenlossie is that it has a light and fruity aroma, like a white wine. Highland Park is a bit heavier, more oily and a bit rougher and dirtier. Then going back to Glenlossie it now has a very definite bourbon aroma – I like! I taste Glenlossie and again, quite fresh, like white wine with a hint of bourbon. Highland Park is heavier, more salty, more oily and a bit peated. Back to Glenlossie, not so little bourbon, very nice, but a bit thin. I like the Glenlossie, but it is a bit to thin and young against this very nice Highland Park.

Oban 14 vs Oban Distillers Edition 2006-2020: Distillers Editions slightly slightly darker. Oban 14 has a very fresh, surprisingly fresh green fruity aroma. Distillers Edition is a little bit sweeter and heavier in character, but not in power. Tasting Oban 14 is very nice, fresh, malty and rather salty finish. Destillers Edition is more dominated by its sweet double maturing, a bit bitter to me. Oban 14 wins.

Ileach vs Laphroaig 10: Very similar color, Ileach perhaps a hint darker. On the nose Ileach is more sweet, smoky, sour and oily, Laphroig is more dry, salty, fresh and compex. Ileach tastes a bit sweet and smoked, quite fine, but not that impressive. Laphroig is much more complex, with sea, iodine, and a nice freshness. Laphroig wins.

Nikka Coffey Malt vs Super Nikka: Super Nikka slightly darker. Coffey Malt has an unusual sweet aroma, a bit artifical like plastic or candy, but not bad. Super Nikka is more classic, oily and not quite peated but almost. Coffey Malt is rather sweet, but also some quite raw woody notes, and finally with this plastic candy. Still quite good. Super Nikka more classic, complex and with less odd flavours. A bit bitter though. I would like to say that there is something good about Coffey Malt that reminds me of a good bourbon, but it is not quite so. There is vanilla and wood though. But it is not like coffey malt loses on pure power, it is rich, interesting, soft, sweet and well tasting. That will probably make it go along way with many. With little margin, I think I prefer Super Nikka though.

Nikka from the Barrel vs Super Nikka: Super Nikka a little darker. Tonight I feel the “Nikka Coffey Malt” in the Nikka from the Barrel – that has not occured to me before. These are quite… very… similar on the nose actually. I think I find Super Nikka slightly more like the Coffey Malt, that is more plastic, vanilla, sweet. Well, in flavour I think that difference is more apparent: From the Barrel is a slightly more peated, sour experience. I find the flavour more different than the aroma, and I find Super Nikka more like Coffey Malt, more sweet and rich. I prefer Super Nikka (not that my Nikka from the Barrel is rather old, and I had very little left of it).

Glasgow 1770 The Original (Fresh & Fruity) vs Redbreast 12: Similar intensity in color but Redbreast is more yellow and Glasgow more brown. Quite similar aroma, both have strong bourbon character (Glasgow says 1st fill ex-bourbon & finished in virgin oak). Glasgow is sligthly sweeter and more caramel, Redbreast a bit more conservative. Tasting Glasgow, a bit sour and immature, Redbreast is softer and more balanced. Redbreast wins.

Glasgow 1770 The Original vs Jim Beam Rye: Glasgow is paler. Surprisingly similar aroma. Glasgow is more soft and sweet, Jim Beam is a bit more raw and sour. I taste Jim Beam and it has a strong bourbon character, also rather dry, a bit rough from the wood and it lingers quite nicely. Glasgow is a bit lighter, a bit more soft and balanced. Jim Beam is richer. Perhaps if boubon is too much flavour for you, you would prefer the slightly milder Glasgow. However, the Glasgow is a bit bitter and is overall a less experience of flavour. Jim Beam wins.

Glasgow 1770 The Original vs TX Texas Straight Bourbon: Glasgow is paler, with a more fresh and fruity aroma. TX has something heavier and sweeter which reminds me of sherry finished whiskies. Glasgow is definitely the softer, more accessible drink and TX the heavier more rough bourbon. Even though Glasgow is slightly stronger in ABV I add a little water to TX. Quite much raw wood in TX. Glasgow is more interesting, like a fusion of malt and bourbon, and easier to like. Glasgow wins.

Glasgow 1770 The Original vs Jim Beam Black: Glasgow is paler. Similar aroma, Jim Beam a bit more sweet and classic bourbon, Glasgow a bit softer and more fruity/herbs, a bit shy in comparison with Jim Beam. In the mouth Jim Beam is more powerful, raw and rough, despite its slightly lower ABV. I add little water to Jim Beam and its softens up some, but it does not release so much flavour. Now Glasgow tastes more like a scottish malt in comparison. Well, Jim Beam is really and aqcuired taste, I prefer Glasgow.

Balcones Peated vs Glasgow 1770 The Original: I immediately add much water to the 65% strong Balcones because I know it needs it. Glasgow still much paler. Balcones has like a burnt cherry aroma, Glasgow is classic regardless if we think of this as american or scotch whisky. So I taste Balcones, and I think it got enough water and it is fruity, sweet and lightly peated. An odd whisky, but not unpleasant. Glasgow is a more dry, conservative experience with less flavour. These are so different, and whisky is of course an aqcuired taste in itself, but Glasgow plays by the rules (kind of) and does it reasonably well. Balcones is drinkable, perhaps some think even more enjoyable, but rather odd. Glasgow wins.

Deanston Kentucky Cask Matured vs Glenlossie SMWS 9YO Petrichor Vindaloo: Both very pale, Deanston probably even paler. Deanston has a soft caramel bourbon flavour, initially with some fresh fruitiness. Glenlossie is also like bourbon, but more the raw wood character than the soft vanilla notes. Tasting Deanston at first it is surprisingly salty and malty (relative my memory of it being a very soft bourbon tasting whisky). Glenlossie is more pepper and wood. If Deaston is a whisky that is matured and diluted until too soft, Glenlossie really has potential, but it is not quite there yet. As a tasting whisky Glenlossie is more interesting. As a drinking whisky Deanston is preferable. I choose Deanston.

The Ileach vs Loch Lomond Heavily Peated: Ileach a hint darker. On the nose Ileach is rather soft, round, sweet and of course peated. Loch Lomond a bit more odd and off, probably less peated but more raw wood. When it comes to flavour Ileach is rather dull, a bit sweet, a bit peated, not much more. Loch Lomond is more of a rollercoaster, with some saltiness, maltiness and peat. It is not like Loch Lomond is great, but I think it is richer and better than Ileach.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 Special Release) vs Springbank 15 Rum: Both are rather pale, yellowish, Glen Ord is probably the more pale. Glen Ord has a rural aroma of leather and soil, with some fruitiness in it. Springbank is more marine, more powerful, salty and perhaps peated. The sweet wood is there, perhaps with an unfortunate hint of sulphur. Glen Ord is malty, balanced and nice to taste. Springbank is a bigger experience, richer and more salty. The rum is there in the background and I can’t help thinking it would have been better without it. Back to Glen Ord it is soft and very nice. Back to Springbank, it is nice but a bit simple in its saltiness. This is close, I am leaning towards Glen Ord, but I will serve myself a little bit more of both first. Now I discover a gentle sweetness in Glen Ord, it has a very classic and high quality highland flavour but not much stands out, a bit too balanced. Over to Springbank the mix of sweet rum, a hint of sulphur and salty Campbelltown is just on the brink of what is too much. However, it is a very nice whisky, from beginning to end, and after the extra round Springbank definitely is the winner.

For Peat’s Sake vs Ileach: Identical color, both rather dark. For Peat’s Sake is lighter and more fresh and crisp on the nose. Ileach is more sweet, heavy, petroleum and something that makes my stomach a bit uneasy. Back to For Peat’s Sake it has almost no smell at all after Ileach. Tasting For Peat’s Sake, it is drinkable but very light. Perhaps there is a mix of classic flavours, malt, peat, caramel but very diluted. Ileach is richer, but in a way more single minded, and less fresh and light. I don’t unconditionally like Ileach, but for anyone enjoying this kind of whisky at all, Ileach is the better whisky.

Deanston Oloroso Finish (9YO) vs Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074: Both rather dark, signatory darker. Oloroso has more bourbon than sherry aroma, and Signatory is a heavier and roughter whisky. I taste Oloroso, it is quite clean, balanced, very good but it kind of lacks something. Over to Signatory, just as I thought by the aroma it is a very rich and complex whisky, surprisingly young for its powerful character. Signatory wins.

Deanston 12 vs Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074: Signatory significantly darker. On the nose Signatory is a bit more of everything, bourbon and sherry (there must be some sherry origin there, but I dont know). 12YO is more soft caramel and vanilla. I taste 12YO and it is malty, balanced, quite dry and quite flawless. I taste Signatory, and it is more of an experience, but also more rough in the edges. It is quite close, but 12YO is not that flawless and Signatory is not that rough, so I prefer the more interesting Signatory.

Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074 vs Longmorn 16: Deanston is darker and Longmorn is softer on the nose. I am confused about this Deanston, it seems to be a single cask, but from the aroma I would have guessed it is both first fill bourbon and some sherry. If I have to pick, it is bourbon. I taste Longmorn and find it very soft, yet rich. In the mouth Deanston has more sherry character in a way I dont entirely appreciate. I prefer the very easy to like Longmorn, admitting that Deanston may be the more interesting whisky.

Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074 vs Dufftown 18: Very similar color. Dufftown makes me think a bit about soil and leather when I first smell it. Is that perhaps what makes Deanston seem a bit rough? There is something malt and caramel about Dufftown that is very appealing and Deanston seems more immature, yet a bit more complex and interesting. I taste Dufftown, not so little caramel and burn suger actually. It is very nice, but rather boring for its age. Deanston is more interesting and when I am about to hesitate I get a strong bourbon impression from Deanston. That settles it. Deanston wins.

Deanston Signatory 10YO #900074 vs Hazelburn 10: Hazelburn very much paler. On the nose, Hazelburn is almost like an Islay, so salty and a bit sweety (in a not entirly nice way). Deanston is more subtle, and by now I have learnt that it is a sherry matured whisky (and perhaps the 1st fill cask still has some original character that I pick up as bourbon aroma). Given its quite powerful aroma, Hazelburn is a surprisingly light whisky in the mouth, it tastes very good, but there could be more of it. Deanston is a bit more diverse, less balanced. I prefer Hazelburn.

Glen Ord 18 (2019 special release) vs Highland Park 18 Viking Pride: Glen Ord is paler. On the nose Glen Ord is more dry, almost like hay and herbs, while Highland Park is much sweeter (sherry casks there?) with some leather and oiliness. Glen Ord is very fresh, quite dry and a bit like a white wine in the mouth. Highland Park is more peated, sour. Highland Park is the bigger, more powerful, experience, but it tastes more mixed and crafted. I could pick either way. Perhaps I just like and underdog and feel emotionally invested in my bottle of Glen Ord (that was more expensive than Highland Park), and that makes me lean towards Glen Ord. I think Glen Ord is, despite being a bit subtle and quite delicate, interesting enough. And I think I prefer drinking it. So Glen Ord wins.

Glenmorangie 10 vs Oban 14: Glenmorangie rather pale, Oban a bit darker. Smelling Glenmorangie it has rich aroma with caramel and floral notes. Very nice. Oban is a bit saltier, more oily and perhaps fudge. Glenmorangie stands up well when it comes to quality, but when it comes to power Oban has more to offer. I taste Glenmorangie, it tastes light, fresh and very nice. I taste Oban, it is both more sweet and salty, almost peated, also very nice. Glenmorangie is more fresh, fruity like a wine, but it stands up well being quite much caramel. Oban is better, but this is surpisingly close.

Glenallachie 12 PX vs Oban Distillers Edition: Very similar color, both rather dark, perhaps Glenallachie is slighty more reddish. On the nose Glenallachie is more sweet and raisins, a hint of bourbon, almost like an Irish malt. Oban is more rough, leather, salt and kind of peatish (although I think it is not actually peated). Tasting Glenallachie, it is a bit sour and slightly bitter, not really bad but not very good or interesting either. Oban is more balanced, softer, but with a slight hint of sulphur – perhaps little enough to forgive it. In general I prefer the more salty and malty character of Oban to the more fruity and sour character of Glenallachie. But this time, Oban is too thin, and Glenallachie is quite decent. Glenallachie wins.

Glenlivet 16 Nadurra vs Glenmorangie 10: Both rather pale, Glenlivet is cask strength. Quite similar aroma. Glenlivet slighly sweeter, more caramel, and Glenmorangie slightly paler like mint or hay. Glenlivet has a very straight, dry clean whisky flavour. Glenmorangie a bit softer and lighter, but it could be because of the lower ABV. These are quite similar in many ways. I find that Glenmorangie becomes a little dull and synthetic against the more fresh and malty Glenlivet. Victory to Glenlivet.

Bushmills Black Bush vs Jameson Black Barrel: Bushmills slightly paler. Jameson a bit sweeter, more raisin. Bushmills has a slightly more dry and light fruit (pear) aroma. I taste Bushmills and it is quite malty, a bit sweet, very tasty. I taste Jameson and it is more sweet, more like rum or boubon. Back to Bushmills it is a quite light and fresh whiskey, a bit dry like hay or mint. I find these two whiskies very comparable in quality, yet surprisingly different in character. I prefer Bushmills.

Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) vs Glenallachie 12 PX: Very similar color, both a bit reddish. Glenallache quite sweet and fruity on the nose (PX no surprise here). Strathmills has a more weathered aroma, like old and dry, yet quite sweet. Glenallachie tastes nice, good balance between malt and sherry, but a bit narrow or thin in flavour. Strathmills is interesting, almost peated first, with some lingering sherry in the end, very nice. Back to both, they are surprisingly similar. Glenallachie is good, but it lacks some charm. Strathmills is more interesting and complex, so it wins.

Glenlivet 16 Nadurra vs Super Nikka: Glenlivet is definitely paler, even though it is cask strength. Nikka has a more oily and leathery aroma, Glenlivet is more dry and straight malt, really dry (hay/mint). A small sip of Glenlivet, I had added a little water to it but it is still too strong for my preference. The word Nadurra indicates it is natural and it tastes like a very pure spirit, straight from somewere, not mixed or matured for flavour. It is very good, but a bit underwhelming. Super Nikka is rather soft, with a lot of flavours: peat, leather, some spices and sweet rather than salty. It tastes somewhat fabricated. Back to Nadurra, it is anything except fabricated, it tastes pure (rather than raw), not thin, but uncomplex. I could argue that Nikka is more smooth, complex and rich, but it lacks some genuine quality. I could argue that Glenlivet is pure, original, dry and authentic, but it is a bit uninteresting. Glenlivet is more my kind of whisky, but I am anyway leaning towards Super Nikka.

Bushmills 12 vs Bushmills Black Bush: 12YO is darker. So 12YO is only sold in the Distillery, and on the nose these two whiskies are quite similar. The 12YO is both more sweet and dry, Black Bush is a bit more balanced and subtle. This is kind of true both for aroma and flavour. It is like this is the same whisky, but 12YO has a bit of an extra kick. Another way to market it would have been to sell the 12YO everywhere, and market Black Bush as Distillery Edition: a 12YO with a little extra. Nevertheless 12YO is better, they are so similar in character that it is easy to pick a winner on quality.

Hudson Baby Bourbon vs Jim Beam Black: Hudson very slightly darker in color, and with a more poweful aroma. Jim Beam is a little softer and sweeter, and back to Hudson it is more raw and rough on the nose. Both have a strong unquestionable bourbon character. In the mouth, Jim Beam is a bit softer, sweeter and more balanced. Hudson is a young whiskey, matured in small casks, and that leave a roughness too it. I can agree with anyone who thinks that Hudson is closer to the ingredients and tastes less industrially perfected. But when it comes to preference, I think Jim Beam is the better whiskey.

Hudson Manhattan Rye vs Jim Beam Rye: Hudson a little darker. These whiskies are surprisingly different. Jim Beam, which I was previously experienced with, the Rye whisky is a bit more dry and less sweet than the bourbon (and it has not so little Rye-doe/bread character). When it comes to Hudson, it is very floral and sweet. It is supposed to be 100% rye but it smells and tastes like they distilled a field of wild flowers. To me Hudson Manhattan Rye more has the character of a liquer than a bourbon or a whiskey, and I find it rather odd. I prefer Jim Beam Rye.

Bushmills 12 vs Glenallachie 12 PX: Glenallachie slighly darker, but also stronger. On the nose Bushmills has a fresh aroma with a bit of wine character. Glenallachie a little more sweet, and back to Bushmills it is more dry and malty. There is also more caramel in Bushmills, Glenallachie a bit thin. Tasting I find that Bushmills is more complex and soft, lingering longer. Glenallachie is mostly sweet, somewhat bitter. Bushmills wins.

Glenlivet 16 Nadurra vs Old Pulteney 12: Both pale yellowish. Glenlivet is a difficult whisky because it is kind of flawless in its dry maltiness, but there is not much more to discover in it. It is cask strength and adding some water brings out some flavour, a little bit too much sweetness somehow. Old Pulteney is a stable 12YO, a bit dry, hay, mint and it is soft and nice right out of the bottle. This is difficult to decide. I could pick Glenlivet because it is a very straight pure speyside single malt. I could pick Old Pulteney because it is easier to enjoy, especielly without needing to add water. I would feel more comfortable about recommending (as in serving, not buying) Old Pulteney, so Old Pulteney wins.

Crown Royal Rye vs Hudson Four Grain Bourbon: Hudson quite much darker. When it comes to the nose, at first Crown Royal has quite much bourbon, but after the more powerful Hudson, I find Crown Royal very soft and floral (especially elderberry). Hudson has a more young, raw woody character – not so much bourbon. Tasting is the same, Crown Royal ends up a bit the shadow of the more overpowered Hudson, and compared with another bourbon, Crown Royal tastes elderberry lemonade (but that is not so bad). Hudson must be described as young and experimental. It is more wood than bourbon, and it is quite chemical – like glue or thinner or something. For the curious whisky connaiseur Hudson may be a more interesting choice of two below average bourbons. But for everyone else I would say Crown Royal is the best choice.

Simple Drinks

You want to mix a simple nice drink for yourself, or your parter or a few friends. And you are thinking, maybe I can use that bottle of something, so you start searching for drinks with it. Good luck. You will find plenty of drinks with six-seven ingredients, some of those you never heard of…

I am not a bartender, but there are a few reasons I think this post is relevant after all:

  1. I am not so impressed with many drinks I order, despite they are made by professionals and contain fancy ingredients – I can often do better myself
  2. A lot of those extra ingredients are suger-syrup-artifical-flavour-stuff, that is not very nice
  3. I think, putting many ingredients in a drink just camouflages everything – if I put bourbon in it I want bourbon flavour

I use the established names of drinks when I know them. I do not invent names. You can often find multiple recipies for the same drink – if in doubt, trust the other source.

Basic ingredients
I have made a short list of simple base ingredients that are often used.

  1. Water
  2. Ice
  3. Orange
  4. Lemon (they are a bit bigger, and yellow)
  5. Lime (they are a bit smaller, and green)
  6. Sugar (Simple Syrup, see below)
  7. Coca Cola
  8. 7-Up
  9. Vodka
  10. Dark Rum
  11. Bourbon whiskey
  12. Cointreau
  13. Gin

The sugar can be turned into Simple Syrup. Mix 1 part water and 1 part sugar, heat in microwave oven, stir/heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, cool (quickly with plenty of ice or slowly in fridge).

drinks-basic

Glases and preparation
Cocktails are usually nice to serve in a Martini glass (to the far right above). For long drinks a Highballglas (middle) works fine, and a not too small whisky glass is also good for mixed drinks.

Most drinks should be served ice cold. Often it is enought to just add enough ice to the glas and pour the ingredients on top. If you are going to make many drinks, put the bottles in the freezer or fridge in advance.

A drink shaker is nice if you want to serve ice cold drinks without serving them with ice. But you need much ice and little drink content if you do not want your drink diluted by water. Most of the time, if you keep fruits and soda in the fridge and allow yourself to serve with ice, you will be fine. A real bartender would probably disagree here.

Drinks with just the Basics
Even with just the basics you can produce some very nice drinks.

  • Gimlet: 4 parts Gin, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, martini glass
  • Vodka Lime: 4 parts Vodka, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, martini glass
  • Whisky Sour: 6cl Bourbon, 3 cl fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, the white of one egg (egg optional: shake well with plenty of ice in shaker), you might want to sweeten this drink with a little simply syrup if you added too little sugar
  • White Lady: 1 part Cointreau, 1 part Gin, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas
  • 4 cl Bourbon, juice from 1/2 lemon, juice from 1/2 orange, fill up with 7-up in a highball glass
drink-gimlet whiskey-sour

Blue Curacao
Blue Curacao can produce drinks that look amazing (it is extremely blue, and if you mix it with something yellow, it turns very green), but it is trickier to make them taste good too.

drink-bluecuracao-bourbon

  • 1 part Blue Curacao, 1 part Bourbon, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas
  • 1 part Blue Curacao, 1 part Dark rum, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas

Calvados

  • Arch de Triumph: 4cl Calvads, 2cl lemon juice, 2tsp sugar, (stir well with ice) serve in martini glass
  • Apple Car: 4cl Calvados, 2cl Cointreau, 2cl lemon juice

Southern Comfort

  • 4 cl Southern Comfort, squeeze 1/2 lime and leave pieces in highballglass, fill up with Coke.
  • 6 cl Southern Comfort, 3 cl lemon juice, the white of one egg, shake well (like whisky sour, but using (already sweet) Southern Comfort instead of Bourbon and sugar.

Tequila

  • Margarita: 4 cl Tequila, 2 cl Cointreau, 2 cl fresh lime juice. Serve in martini glass. Remember to add salt to the edge of the glass (make wet with lime, dip in salt)

Vermouth / Martini

  • Dry Martini: 6 parts Gin, 1 part Vermouth, martini glass, garnish with an olive (a piece of lemon or lime is also nice)
  • Comfort Dry Manhattan: 4 parts Southern Comfort, 1 part Vermouth, martini glass

Long Island Iced Tea
Take a big glass, fill with ice. Then add 1cl Gin, 1cl Tequila, 1cl Vodka, 1cl White Rum, 1cl Triple Sec (or Cointreau), 2cl Lemon Juice and fill up with Coke (5cl, taste and try). I like to replace the Tequila with Laphroig (to make a Lapsang-iced-tea).

Ginger Ale
Ginger Ale is nice to mix. Fill a glass with ice. Squeeze and add a few lime wedges. Then add your choice of Vodka (Moscow Mule), Jack Daniels (Jack & Ginger) or Jameson (very nice). Finally fill up with Ginger Ale.

Grenadine
New Yorker: 4cl Bourbon, 1 lime wedge, 2-3 dashes (half teaspoon) grenadine. Stir well in glass with ice.

Experimental
2cl white Rum + 2cl Cointeau + 2cl Lemon + a little Raspberry vodka + a smashed raspberry, in a cocktail glass with plenty of ice, was quite good!

Testing Mackmyra

Since 1999 there is a Swedish malt whisky distillery: Mackmyra. They have released a large number of small series of single malt whiskies and people can “buy” their own casks as well. But I am not interested in those now, I will focus on Mackmyra standard products and try to answer the simple question: are they any good?

My expectation is that a standard Mackmyra is comparable to common Scottish malts. For that level of quality I would be willing to pay a little premium (for Mackmyra being a small, new, Swedish distillery).

I bought the following Mackmyra single malts (no age indication)

  • Mackmyra Brukswhisky (hard to translate, but the cheapest one)
  • Mackmyra Svensk Ek (Swedish Oak)
  • Mackmyra Svensk Rök (Swedish Smoke)

My testing and tasting method is simple. On each testing occation I try the Mackmyra and a Scottish malt that I expect to be similar. The idea is to decide if the Mackmyra is comparable, better or worse. Note that I did the three testings on different days.

1. Mackmyra Brukswhisky vs Glenturrent 10 years old
Glenturret is one of the single malt whiskies that they let me try in The Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. My bottle says 10 years old and not much more. It does not get more standard when it comes to Scottish Single malt, I think.

Appearance: Very similar, the Mackmyra being slightly paler.

Aroma: Glenturret has a richer, sweeter aroma, but also one I dont find entirely pleasant (it smells Blend, to me). Mackmyra is more subtle, and a bit more fruity (not sweet, perhaps pear).

Taste: Glenturret is quite bitter, fading away with time. Mackmyra has some bitterness, tastes a bit wood (young/dry/burnt), and fades away quicker. At second try the Glenturrent reveals more fruitiness. Adding a little bit of water to the Mackmyra brings out much more fruitiness and that pear I felt in my nose. Adding water to the Glenturret: it has some spiciness and heaviness and improves a little as I slowly finish the small glasses.

Badness: Both of them just have very little badness. The Mackmyra tastes slightly too young (the freshly cut and slightly burnt dry wood, like the smell in a carpenter shop). The Glenturret on the other hand, a little bit chemical and too bitter.

Conclusions: The Glenturret tastes older, and ridiculous as it may be – it tastes more scottish. The younger Mackmyra is a bit different, but it clearly tastes like a single malt.

Winner: no winner. You can serve me Glenturrent or Mackmyra – I will be equally satisfied.

2. Mackmyra Svensk Ek vs Clynelish 14 years old
Both Mackmyra Svensk Ek and Clynelish 14 years old are about 46% strong. The Clynelish I got from a package of three Classic Malts.

Appearance: Very similar, Mackmyra slightly paler.

Aroma: Clynelish clean and elegant. Mackmyra more fruit and vanilla (it’s probably oak). Clynelish a bit heavier and sweeter.

Taste: Clynelish quite thin, a little bitter (probably needs water). Mackmyra some oak, some sourness and bitterness (also in need of water). At this stage, both smell better than they taste so I add water to both.

Clynelish got a nice bourbon flavour with some water. The Swedish oak is clearly there in the Mackmyra – a slightly unusual whisky flavour. While the Clynelish taste is quite well defined, the Mackmyra is more everywhere in the mouth, and a little bit burnt in the finish. I add more water to both.

Well, I have thought about it since the first taste, there is clearly pear in Mackmyra. I think the water did its job and the Mackmyra is now softer, but it also tastes a little diluted. The Clynelish is more oily, sweeter and has more flavour – not bad, but not particularly interesting.

Badness: If you like whisky, there is nothing bad about the Clynelish, but it is not remarkable either. The Mackmyra needs water (and at 46% that is ok) for me to appreciate it, but it quickly tastes a little diluted – to me this is a sign that there simply is not enough flavour in it, and for a young whisky that is not so strange.

Conclusions: The Clynelish is very solid: perfected at 14 years in Bourbon cast to the point that it is not very interesting at all. My impression is that it tastes like a perfect blend, but with little character (Clynelish is not Brora, after all). The Mackmyra, with enough water, tastes fine. But it requires a friendly attitude to come out good.

Winner: The Clynelish wins, and I believe it does for two reasons. First, whisky is Scottish business and while the Clynelish is very solid, the Mackmyra is a little too different, too fruity and too young. Second, the Mackmyra with too little water is not a premium experience. That said, the Mackmyra is more interesting than the rather boring Clynelish, to me. And with enough water, the Mackmyra is a tasty drink.

3. Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Bunnahabhain 8 years old
I decided to try the Mackmyra Svensk Rök (Swedish Smoke) against a Bunnahabhain from Gordon MacPhails, 8 years old. It is labeled “heavily heated”, and my hope was that the level of peatiness/smokiness would be quite the same for the two contestants.

Appearance: Mackmyra is slightly paler, perhaps, they look very similar.

Aroma: Bunnahabhain has a classic Islay smell (which I don’t usually expect in a Bunnahabhain). It is a powerful yet soft smell, not so dominated by peat and smoke after all. Unfortunately, I should have smelled the Mackmyra first, because now I realise that the Bunnahabhain is too powerful and the character of Mackmyra appears to be very subtle. However, after waiting a little while the Mackmyra has a clear and pleasant smell, with not so little smoke (it is not peat) after all. The Mackmyra more resembles (as I remember them) the earlier two Mackmyra, than it resembles Bunnahabhain.

Taste: Mackmyra first now: at 46% some smoke, some fruitiness and some sourness, but it clearly needs water. With little water a nice yet quite subtle smokiness is revealed and behind it the dry flavour of young wood. But it still needs more water. What happens here (with more water) is that the (still subtle) smokiness hides the fruity and nice character of the two previous Mackmyra.

The Bunnahabhain (which arguably smells closet) has a long, complex and soft taste (at its original 43%). It is clearly not as heavy as its more famous Islay neighbours, but compared to Mackmyra it is very rich and oily.

Switching back to Mackmyra is surprisingly pleasant (it tastes nicer after I had the Bunnahabhain, not worse as I expected after something heavier). But the Mackmyra, after Bunnahabhain, is mostly fruity and fresh, not smoky at all.

Badness: Mackmyra, again, requires a certain amount of water get right. It is a rather thin experience, especially with this competition. Bunnahabhain, I would not call it elegant, is rather wild. It is not that it is very powerful or peaty, it is just a little bit everywhere, and now and then, in some places in my nose and mouth, not very refined or elegant. It is a young little Islay brother.

Conclusions: I knew it was going to be tricky to pick a contestant to Mackmyra Svensk Rök. I did not find a Highland Park in my stash, that could have been better. I have a Jura Superstition: it would perhaps have been less peaty and for that reason a better opponent to Mackmyra. But I really like that Jura and I did not want to pit Mackmyra against a personal favourite.

Winner: Bunnahabhain beats Mackmyra, and usually, head to head, a much heavier whisky beats the lighter one. But Bunnahabhain did not come out as fantastic this evening. But there was just too little to explore in the Mackmyra.

Conclusions
My impression is that while the Clynelish is much better than the Glenturrent, the Svensk Ek is not much better than the Brukswhisky. And while Bunnahabhain is not necessarily much better than Clynelish, the Mackmyra Svensk Rök fails to improve much compared to the other two. At least, this is my impression when testing them head to head on different occasions.

In fact Svensk rök was the most disappointing experience (but perhaps the competition was completely unfair).

I think it is unreasonable to expect of a little young Swedish distillery that they produce world class whisky immediately, especially in a business where long storage time is a significant factor in product quality. Mackmyra claims they use small casks to speed up the process, but perhaps this shortcut is not perfect. Mackmyra needs water, but it quickly tastes diluted – there is not so much flavour to reveal. I think it needs more time (and perhaps it needs better casks, I don’t know about that).

I appreciate Mackmyra for being different (sometimes it reminds me of something coming from south of Sweden rather than from west of Sweden). I don’t find Mackmyra unpleasant (disgusting, chemical, bad, as I sometimes do with whisky). But if it is going to beat Scottish whiskies head to head, it needs weaker opponents or more time to mature.

Update: Mackmyra Svensk Rök vs Teachers
Teachers is a respectable Scottish blend with some smoky character so I decided to test it against Mackmyra Svensk Rök. Those who mostly appreciate whisky for being sweet might prefer Teachers (sweetness is something you won’t find in the Mackmyra). I don’t like my whisky sweet, and, side by side, I prefer the Mackmyra (with some water in it, please) to Teachers. As I slowly finish the glasses, I more and more prefer the Mackmyra – compared to Teachers it appears to be a very decent whisky.

This could seem like a ridiculous comparison; a standard blend vs a whisky that is far more expensive than a cheap single malt. I however find it meaningful to establish the relative quality of Mackmyra. And since it is better than a respectable blend, it has quality.

Update: Mackmyra Svensk Ek vs Glenfiddish 12
Glenfiddish 12 is another standard Scottish single malt. I compared it to the Mackmyra Svensk Ek. I think the quality is quite similar. The Glenfiddish is softer and sweeter (aged partly on Sherry casks) and the Mackmyra has more character. I, with a taste for more dry whisky, prefer the Mackmyra.