I've been told our climate in Holland is 'moderate', but nevertheless
temperatures can sink as low as -20 and rise as high as +35 degrees
Celsius on occasion. After a few years of single malt explorations
I came to the conclusion that the freezing cold of winter requires
a different malt than the humid heat of the summer.

Black Book
Blind Test
4 Seasons

Spring  (April, May, June)
Nature is awakening and there's the occasional ray of revitalizing sunshine between the spring showers. The days are getting longer and warmer, but the nights are still a bit chilly. This time of the year, I'm looking for the sweet warmth of the Highlands rather than the peaty heat of Islay. The nights are still long enough for relatively complex malts that take their time.

Summer  (July, August, September)
During the long & hot afternoons and evenings of summer I want 'fresh' malts that are light and not too sweet. I want malts that can easily be enjoyed outside, with some friends on the terrace. Complexity isn't neccessarily what I'm looking for right now. Summertime = partytime; I just want a malt that's accessible and can be ebjoyed in large quantities.

Autumn  (October, November, December)
Falling leaves, wind and rain. Lots of rain. That's autumn in Holland for you. Because the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer. Or so I'm told. The longer the nights, the greater the need for malts with warmth and character. Malts with personality. Malts that fire the imagination and fuel good conversation. Malts that offer a challenge for nose, palate and brain. Autumn is the best season for sherried malts.

Winter (January, February, March)
Short, cold days and long, ever colder nights. Snow, ice and hailstorms. Give me heat! Give me Islay heat! Give me cask strength heat! The human body needs the warmth of a powerful single malt to endure the cold. Sweetness or woodiness (?) doesn't hurt either. Winter is also the festive season with a christmas bonus for some of us. This allows some of us to purchase old and/or rare malts that we wouldn't normally buy.


Aberlour 10
Ben Nevis 10
Cragganmore 12
Dalmore 12
Glenfarclas 12
Glenmorangie 18
Glen Ord 12
Glen Scotia 14
Inchgower 12
Macallan 10
Oban 14
Scapa 12


Balvenie 10
Dalwhinnie 15
Dufftown 10
Glendullan 8
Glen Garioch 15
Glenlivet 12
Glenmorangie 10
Glen Moray 12
Springbank CV
Tamnavulin 10
Tomatin 10


Balvenie 12
Bowmore 12
Bruichladdich 10
Bunnahabhain 12
Glendronach 15
Glenlivet 21
G'morangie Madeira
G'morangie Port
Highland Park 12
Linkwood 15
Longmorn 15
Macallan 12


Aberlour a'bunadh
Ardbeg 10
Ardbeg 17
Balvenie 21 Port
Glenfarclas 105
Highland Park 18
Lagavulin 16
Laphroaig 10
Laphroaig 15
Macallan 10 C/S
Macallan 18
Talisker 10

A nother interesting feature of the water of life. Objectively speaking, there are no great differences in the production processes and ingredients of different single malt whiskies. Nevertheless, the variety is amazing.
On one end of the spectrum we have the 'Islay School of Peat & Smoke' - Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Talisker (an honorary Islay).
These are the 'heavy' malts I enjoy the most in autumn or winter.
On the other end, or rather on another end of the spectrum we have lighter and 'fresher' malts like Glenmorangie, Glenlivet and Dalwhinnie. My nose and tongue respond better to these malts in spring or summertime. And then there are the versatile Speyside malts; Macallan, Glenfarclas, Balvenie and the like. They tend to hold their own under all conditions.

I found that the
Lagavulin 16 that had
warmed me on many a
winter night somehow
didn't seem alltogether
'appropriate' on a warm
summer evening. And
the Glenmorangie 10
that appeared so
refreshing in August
had lost a lot of its
luster in January.

  A cold winter morning in Holland...

Does this mean that I don't like Talisker 10 in the summertime?
Of course not.
But I know I appreciate the Talisker 10 the most when it's cold and wet outside. I would like to stress once more that these are just personal, subjective opinions written in various stages of intoxication (I like to enjoy a dram while working on Malt Madness). Just see it as it is: a couple of suggestions. Remember that every single malt mentioned here has given me great pleasure...

Check out the Best-to-Worst chart in the 'Numbers' section for an overview of the ratings of all single malt whiskies I've seriously sampled since 1996. These ratings are just expressions in numerical form of the love I feel for a particular single malt whisky.

I decided to add some 'seasonal suggestions' to Malt Madness; an arbitrary list with commercial malts that, at least to my taste, seem to perform particulary well in a certain season. The fact that this probably isn't very useful for visitors that don't live on the northern hemisphere in a place with a moderate maritime climate didn't deter me. Just another one of Johannes' famous feats of futility.

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