I recently had a friend visit me from Europe. He brought several "goodies" with him. Among them was a bottle of Tomintoul 16. Tomintoul happens to be one of my favorite speysides. It's not an overly complex whisky. They call themselves "The Gentle Dram" and it is. I find it light and fruity and when I'm in that kind of mood it's great. We had planned to compare it to a US bottle, but between KBF....so much whisk(e)y and so little time.

My wife and I tried them the other night and this is my opinion.

Surprisingly, there was a great difference other than the bottle size. First the color. The European (E) version was much lighter, a pale gold. The US version had more copper or bronze highlights. The nose on the E was clearly fresh golden delicious apples whereas the US had a hint of sweetness with the apples. The E pallet was full of the apple that was on the nose, very light and crisp. The US was more of a candy apple pallet, not as sweet as the candy apples at a fair, but sweeter than the E. The finishes were about the same length, both were very fresh but the E was fresher. Bernadette described it as the feeling you get in your mouth after sucking a menthol cough drop (but no taste of menthol, just the freshness when you inhale). Neither was extremely complex, but both were very refreshing. There are my tasting notes for what they are worth. I didn't expect to find a noticeable difference, but I did. I might send Robert Fleming an email and ask him if they did that intentionally or it was just a difference between two pourings.

I've done similar comparisons from Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Bushmill, and others and I've never noticed that much difference before. Has anyone else had a similar experience?