Head to Head Tasting #1: Kyoto-on-Spey

Having recently acquired two three-bottle sets of mini-bottles from Balvenie and Glenfiddich respectively, and a half-bottle of The Macallan 12, I’m going to sqeeze as many tastings out of these Speyside puppies as I can.  I also recently acquired a bottle of Suntory’s Yamazaki 12 y/o from a friend who was having a clear-out.  So without further ado…

1)      The Macalllan 12

2)      Glenfiddich 12

3)      The Balvenie Double Wood (12 y/o)

4)      Yamazaki 12


1)      Malt, sherry, a bit of wood

2)      Big malt, sharp, pear, bit of wood

3)      Robust, honey, cream, bit of sherry

4)      Dark caramel, bourbon, alcohol

On the Palate:

1)      Honey, butterscotch, wood, bit of burn

2)      Light, sweet, tiny bit of wood, granny smith apple

3)      Thick, sweet, rich, light caramel, ripe peach

4)      Rich caramel, wood


1)      Creamy sherry, burn, long and slow

2)      Sharp, burn, tiny tiny bit of wood, surprisingly long

3)      Woody, burn, fairly long, a bit of creamy sherry

4)      Sweet, dry, wood, fades fairly fast

Parting words:

1)      Solid, well crafted, enjoyable

2)      Bright, tart, but not shallow

3)      Beefy, but subtle with hidden depths

4)      Nice everyday sipper, but nothing too life-changing