Monthly Archives: May 2019

Whisky Head to Head

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

  1. Glenlivet Archive 21
  2. Brora 38
  3. Longrow 14 (1990s bottling)
  4. Deanston 18
  5. Longrow 18
  6. Glenlossie 18 PX (The Maltman 1987-2015)
  7. Springbank 9 Local Barley
  8. Old Pulteney 18
  9. Glenlivet 18
  10. Hibiki Harmony
  11. Springbank 15
  12. Yoichi Single Malt Woody & Vanillic
  13. Bushmills Single Malt 21
  14. Longmorn 16
  15. Hazelburn 10
  16. Springbank 15 Rum PC#629
  17. Springbank 15 Rum
  18. Highland Park 18 Viking Pride
  19. Deanston 8 Red wine
  20. Glendronach 18 Allardice
  21. Springbank 18
  22. Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve
  23. Glenmorangie Signet
  24. Macallan 20 (1993-2013)
  25. Deanston 12
  26. Longrow
  27. Glen Scotia 15
  28. Springbank 10
  29. Glen Scotia Double Cask
  30. Deanston Virgin Oak
  31. Aberfeldy 16
  32. Bunnahabhain 12
  33. Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek
  34. Mannochmore 20 (1984-2004) Sherry
  35. Balvenie 12 Double Wood
  36. Glenfiddich 18
  37. Nikka from the Barrel
  38. Mackmyra Elegant Ambassadör
  39. Bergslagen Two Hearts
  40. Glenlivet 15 French Oak
  41. Balvenie 12 Triple Cask
  42. Antiquary 21
  43. Longrow Red 13
  44. Strathmill 24 (1994-2018) Sherry
  45. Aberfeldy 12
  46. Glen Scotia Victoriana
  47. Deanston (Selected Malts Oloroso Finish 2009-2018)
  48. Yoichi Sherry & Sweet
  49. Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Cask
  50. Longrow 14 Sherry
  51. Smögen Sherry P201
  52. Balcones
  53. Nikka Coffey Malt
  54. Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask
  55. Andalusia Tripled Destilled
  56. Old Pulteney 12
  57. Jameson Black Barrel
  58. Glenmorangie 10
  59. Glenfarclas 17
  60. Balvenie 17 Double Wood
  61. Bushmills Single Malt 12
  62. Tomatin 18
  63. Loch Lomond 15
  64. Highland Park 12 Viking Honour
  65. Loch Lomond 12
  66. Glen Garioch 12
  67. Balcones Peated
  68. Glenfiddich 12
  69. Highland Park 1998-2010
  70. Glenfarclas 105
  71. Glenlivet Founders Reserve
  72. Glenglassaugh Evolution
  73. Bushmills Single Malt 10
  74. Glenglassaugh Revival
  75. Glenfarclas 12
  76. Chivas Regal
  77. Knob Creek 9
  78. Tomatin 15
  79. Jim Beam Rye
  80. Jim Beam Black
  81. Mackmyra Preludium 06
  82. Makers Mark
  83. Tomatin 12
  84. Penderyn Madeira
  85. Motörhead
  86. Macallan Gold Double Wood
  87. Johnny Walker White Walker
  88. TX Texas Straight Bourbon
  89. Loch Lomond Original
  90. Jack Daniels
  91. Bushmills Original
  92. Crown Royal Rye
  93. Ranger Creek Rimfire
  94. Mackmyra Brukswhisky
  95. Storm
  96. Antiquary 12
  97. Isle of Lime Midaik
  98. Famous Grouse
  99. Jura Superstition
  100. Loch Lomond 18
  101. Grants
  102. Floki Young Malt
  103. J&B
  104. Urquhart Castle 10 (Speyside single malt)
  105. Offices Choice
  106. Backpipers Gold Reserve

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. Lagavulin 1984 Double Wood
  3. Lagavulin 16
  4. Talisker 18
  5. Ardbeg 10
  6. Talisker 10
  7. Caol Ila 12
  8. Yoichi Peaty & Salty
  9. Longrow 18
  10. Ledaig 10
  11. Ardbeg Ardbog
  12. Kilchoman Machir Bay
  13. Laphroaig 10
  14. Ledaig 10 Sansibar
  15. Bunnahabhain 8 Heavily Peated
  16. Mackmyra Reserve Extra Rök Svensk Ek
  17. Hven Tychos Star
  18. Ardbeg Corrywreckan
  19. Longrow
  20. Port Charlotte 2003-2015 Sherry
  21. Port Askaig 8
  22. Bowmore 12
  23. Waitrose 10 Islay Single Malt
  24. Ardbeg Blaaack
  25. Ledaig Prerelease
  26. Ardbeg Wee Beastie
  27. Glenglassaugh Torfa
  28. Finlaggan (Cask Strength)
  29. Mackmyra Svensk Rök
  30. Nordic Whisky Society Islay 2011-2018 Oloroso
  31. Talisker Skye
  32. Glen Moray Peated
  33. 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: whe no flavour dominates
  • 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 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.

Simple Mobile First Design

If you build a web site today you need to think about the experience on mobiles, tablets and desktops with different screen sizes. This is not very easy. In this article I have applications (SPAs) in mind rather than sites/pages.

If you are a real, ambitious, skilled designer with a significant budget, there is nothing stopping you from doing it right. Responsive design is dead, because most often you have no choice, so it is just design.

However, you may not have that budget, skill, time and ambition, but you still need to think about vastly different screen sizes. Or perhaps you just need to build a simple native-app-like website.

Two separate implementations

In many cases I would argue that it makes sense to simply make a separate site for mobile and desktop. There are many arguments but I will give one: use cases are often very different. A desktop app is often opened, kept open for a long time, and much data may be presented and analysed on screen, in memory. A mobile app is often opened shortly, to accomplish a single task, and then closed. This means that you probably want to manage state, data and workflow very differently as well.

Bootstrap (or similar)

There are frameworks (like Bootstrap) and technologies like Flexbox to allow you to build a responsive app. Before using those, I think you should ask yourself a question.

How do you want to take advantage of more screen space?

Think of regular desktop applications (Word, Photoshop, Visual Studio) or your operating system: when you have more screen available you can have more stuff next to each other. You can have more windows and more panels at the same time. Mostly. Also, but less so, small things get larger (when they benefit from it). It helps to be able to see an entire A4 page when you work with Word. But when you have an Excel sheet with 4 used columns, those don’t use your entire screen just because they can.

Bootstrap tends to create larger space between elements, and larger elements where it is not needed (dropdown <select>, input fields). I say tends to, because if you are good and very careful, you can probably do a better job than I can. But it is not automatic and it is not trivial, to make it good

What I mean is that if my calendar/table looks gorgeous when it is 400px wide, what good does it make to make it larger if the screen gets larger? So I think a better approach to responsiveness is to say that my calendar/table takes 400px. If I have more space available, I can show something else as well.

Mobile Screen Sizes

To complicate things further, mobile phones have different screen sizes, different screen resolutions, and then there are hi-resolution screens that have different virtual and physical resolutions.

So you have your table that looks good on a “standard” mobile with 320px width. What do you want to do if the user has a better/larger screen?

  1. make it look exactly the same (just better/larger)?
  2. reactively change the way your app looks and works?

If you are opting for (2), I need to wonder why, really?

I argue that if you pick (1) you can make development, testing, documentation and support easier. And your users will have a more consistent experience. At the expense that those with a large mobile may not get the most out of it when using your app.

I propose a simple Mobile First Responsive design

What I propose is not for everyone and everywhere. It may suck for your product and project. That is fine, there are different needs.

I propose a Mobile First (Semi-)Responsive design:

  1. Pick a width (320px is fine).
  2. Design all parts, all pages, all controllers of your app for that width.
  3. On mobile, set the viewport to your width for consistent behaviour on all mobiles.
  4. Optionally, on desktop (and possibly tablets), allow pages to open next to each other rather than on top of (and hiding) each other to make some use of more screen when available.

Seems crazy? Please check out my Proof of Concept and decide for yourself! It is only a PoC. It is not a framework, not a working app, not demonstrating Vue best practices, and it is not very pretty. Under Settings (click ?) you can check/change between Desktop, Tablet and Mobile mode (there is a crude auto-discover mechanism in place but it is not perfect). You can obviously try it with “Responsive Design Mode” in your browser and that should work quite fine (except some elements don’t render correctly).

Implementation Details

First, I set (despite this is not normally a recommended thing to do):

<meta id="viewport" name="viewport" content="width=320">

Later I use JavaScript to change this to 640 on a tablet, to allow two columns. Desktops should ignore it.

Second, I use a header div fixed at the top, a footer div fixed at the bottom, and the rest of the page has corresponding margins (top/bottom).

.app_headers {
   position: fixed;
   top: 0;
   left: 0;
 }
 .app_header {
   float: left;
   height: 30px;
   width: 320px;
 }
 .app_footers {
   position: fixed;
   bottom: 0;
   left: 0;
 }
 .app_footer {
   float: left;
   height: 14px;
   width: 320px;
 }
 .app_pages {
   clear: both;
 }
 .app_page {
   margin-top: 30px;
   margin-bottom: 12px;
   width: 320px;
   float: left;
 }

In mobile mode I just add one app_header, app_footer and app_page (div with class). But for Tablets and Desktops I can add more of them (equally many) as the user navigates deeper into the app. It is basically:

<div class="app_headers">
  <div class="app_header">
    Content of first header (to the left)
  </div>
  <div class="app_header">
    Content of second header (to the right)
  </div>
</div>
<div class="app_pages">
  <div class="app_page">
    Content of first page (to the left)
  </div>
  <div class="app_page">
    Content of second page (to the right)
  </div>
</div>
<div class="app_footers">
  <div class="app_footer">
    Content of first footer (to the left)
  </div>
  <div class="app_footer">
    Content of second footer (to the right)
  </div>
</div>

I use little JavaScript to not add too many pages side-by-side should the display/window not be large enough.

It is a good idea to reset margins, paddings and borders to 0 on common items.

I also found that you need a font size of 16px on iPhone, otherwise the Apple mobile Safari browser will immediately zoom when user edits <input> and <select>.

Most effort when I wrote my Proof of Concept was

  1. Getting the HTML/CSS right and as simple as possible (I am simply not good enough with HTML/CSS to just get it right)
  2. Implementing a “router” that supports this behaviour

Being able to scroll the different pages separately would be possible, a bit more complicated, and perhaps not so desirable.

Conclusions

Exploiting the viewport you can build a web app that works fine on different mobiles, and where the issue with different screen sizes and screen resolution is quite much out of your way.

The site will truly be mobile-first, but with the side-by-side-strategy presented, your users can take advantage of larger screens on non-mobiles as well.

This way, you can build a responsive app, with quite little need for testing on different devices as the app grows. You just need to keep 320px in mind, and have a clear idea about navigating your site.

First look at Swift

Apple invented the Swift programming language to make application programming for iOS and macOS a better experience. If you are new to all this (as I am), I guess there are three approaches (depending on your background):

  1. Learn with the Swift Playground App for iOS
  2. Find a book/guide/tutorial to build actual iOS apps (learning Swift along the way)
  3. Use tools that you are used to, solving problems you are familiar with, using Swift (a programmers’ approach)

I decided to just write some Swift code. There is a cool web page called Rosettacode.org with implementations of different “problems” in different languages. I started looking at Swift code there to see if I could learn anything, and decided I could to better. (Admittedly, that is quite arrogant: I have never written a line of Swift code before, and now contribute Swift code)

I started looking at the problem Caesar Encryption and solved it for Swift. The full code comes below (in case someone changes it on Rosettacode)

I have a C/C#/Java/JavaScript background. This is what I find most notable about Swift.

Backward declaration of variables, arguments and function return types. Type comes after the name (with colon in between).

Named parameters to function, unless you prepend an _ to the name.

Closures can be written (quite just) like in JavaScript. (see charRotateWithKey in the caesar function)

Wrapping/optional: a normal variable, after it is declared must have a valid value. The language ensures this for you. Look at the first line in the function charRotate below: the ! means that if the parameter c does not have an ascii value the program will terminate right there. Look at the line starting with guard in main. The language guarantees that key is a valid integer after the guard, otherwise the function (program) must exit. I am far from an expert on this, find a better source! But you can’t do what you do in C/C#/Java/JavaScript – just hope it goes well, and if it does not catch an exception or deal with it afterwards.

ARC rather than garbage collection or explicit memory management. This matters not in my program, but it is worth mentioning. I first thought Swift and Rust were very similar and that it is more or less an incident that they are different languages, but I don’t really think so anymore.

The swift command can be used not only to compile a source file. It can be used to set up a swift project (directory), run tests, run the REPL (read-eval-print-loop) and more things. This seems quite nice, but I will write no more of it here.

My program below demonstrates type conversions, command arguments, usage of map and closures, string and ascii low level operations and output.

I think Swift is a quite fine language that I would be happy to use. I notice that the language has evolved quite much over the few years it has exited. So when you find things on the web or stackoverflow, you might not find current best practices.

func usage(_ e:String) {
   print("error: \(e)")
   print("./caeser -e 19 a-secret-string")
   print("./caeser -d 19 tskxvjxlskljafz")
 }
  
 func charIsValid(_ c:Character) -> Bool {
   return c.isASCII && ( c.isLowercase || 45 == c.asciiValue ) // '-' = 45
 }
  
 func charRotate(_ c:Character, _ by:Int) -> Character {
   var cv:UInt8! = c.asciiValue
   if 45 == cv { cv = 96 }  // if '-', set it to 'a'-1
   cv += UInt8(by)
   if 122 < cv { cv -= 27 } // if larget than 'z', reduce by 27
   if 96 == cv { cv = 45 }  // restore '-'
   return Character(UnicodeScalar(cv))
 }
  
 func caesar(_ enc:Bool, _ key:Int, _ word:String) -> String {
   let r = enc ? key : 27 - key
   func charRotateWithKey(_ c:Character) -> Character {
     return charRotate(c,r)
   }
   return String(word.map(charRotateWithKey))
 }
  
 func main() {
   var encrypt = true
  
   if 4 != CommandLine.arguments.count {
     return usage("caesar expects exactly three arguments")
   }
  
   switch ( CommandLine.arguments[1] ) {
   case "-e":
     encrypt = true
   case "-d":
     encrypt = false
   default:
     return usage("first argument must be -e (encrypt) or -d (decrypt)")
   }
  
   guard let key = Int(CommandLine.arguments[2]) else {
     return usage("second argument not a number (must be in range 0-26)")
   }
  
   if key < 0 || 26 < key {
     return usage("second argument not in range 0-26")
   }
  
   if !CommandLine.arguments[3].allSatisfy(charIsValid) {
     return usage("third argument must only be lowercase ascii characters, or -")
   }
  
   let ans = caesar(encrypt,key,CommandLine.arguments[3])
   print("\(ans)")
 }
  
 func test() {
   if ( Character("a") != charRotate(Character("a"),0) ) {
     print("Test Fail 1")
   }
   if ( Character("-") != charRotate(Character("-"),0) ) {
     print("Test Fail 2")
   }
   if ( Character("-") != charRotate(Character("z"),1) ) {
     print("Test Fail 3")
   }
   if ( Character("z") != charRotate(Character("-"),26)) {
     print("Test Fail 4")
   }
   if ( "ihgmkzma" != caesar(true,8,"a-zecret") ) {
     print("Test Fail 5")
   }
   if ( "a-zecret" != caesar(false,8,"ihgmkzma") ) {
     print("Test Fail 6")
   }
 }
  
 test()
 main()