Libya Conclusion

Scouts report all Tobruk approaches are covered by minefields.  Tobruk has many impassable ridge lines. Infantry and the scout car probe to find the minefields.  Tanks and mounted infantry cannot spot mines.

Engineers cannot remove mines quickly. Engineers have a one hex per turn movement off-road. Removing the mines themselves takes a full turn once the Engineers are adjacent.  Engineers occupy the minefield after removal and cannot attack. This means engineers creep up to minefields, get hammered by every artillery piece in range, are exhausted and battered after mine removal making them easy targets for an infantry or armor counterattack.  At Tobruk engineers usually get mauled removing a guarded minefield making them ineffective for duty for several turns.  Usually it is more cost effective to blow the mines with a scout car or infantry while taking some damage. 27 - T15 Slowly Penetrating Tobruk Defenses

My armor and mechanized infantry prevented full reinforcement of Tobruk, so after the mines were blown it is just a matter of time to torch the interconnected forts, anti-aircraft, artillery and heavy infantry defenders. After the area is surrounded, the Port is the supply point. This allows the attacking Axis to occasionally isolate units from supply making the attack easier. Tobruk fell on turn 18 (out of 30). 28 - T17 Mopping Up Tobruk29 - T18 Tobruk Falls

The remaining defenders are a static fortification, three heavy infantry units, two scout cars, on anti-tank unit and an artillery. The Brits have no air cover. I have a lot of time and the Brits cannot cover their flanks. The fortress stood alone by Turn 23. I continued to pound it with my two artillery units and my dive bomber until the last turn in a fit of power-gaming to build unit experience. 31 - Power Gaming to Build Artillery & Dive Bomber Experience32 - Victory on Last Turn

I’m saving up research points to learn scrambling. Scrambling tech allows fighters to move half distance and fight with some effectiveness on the turn they takeoff. My Bf09s only have eight turns in the air and scrambling probably increases their combat effectiveness by about 25% in terrain with limited airfields. Unfortunately, scrambling technology costs ten research points so I’m off to the next scenario.

Libya Part 2: Sandstorm AAR

Turn 2: El Agheila Captured and New Orders
A British scout car attacked the Italian scout car damaging both during the AI’s turn.  The British scout is attacked by dive bomber, followed by an Italian infantry assault (which does not advance after battle) and was destroyed by the rearmost German Armor taking El Agheila. This gives new objectives and additional land command points for both Italy and Germany.  My forces advance North on the coast road spotting a captured Italian Armor unit further North. 11 - Turn 2 Bombing the Scout Car13 - T2 Advance North

New primary objectives are capturing Benghazi and connecting El Agheila and Bardia. New secondary objectives are capturing Tobruk, capturing Sollum, and causing 10 damage with German fighters. Achieving all objectives means taking all major towns and destroying all enemy units.  The Italians purchase an armor and an infantry unit. Germany buys two infantry units. Newly purchased units cannot move until turn 3.

14 - T2 Advance & Reinforce

Turns 3 to 6:
The captured Italian armor closed with my lead units. On the axis turn, the enemy armor was attacked with the dive bomber, followed by the rear German Armor and finished off by the Italian Armor and Scout Car. All three fighters attacked a British Fighter almost destroying it. The army continued pushing North on the coast road. My air force spotted British Infantry, anti-tank, and an armor unit.15 - T3 Attacking Brit Armor16 - T3 Conclusion

Turn 4 presents major risks and opportunities. I’m splitting my advance with armor and mechanized units turning East with the infantry and artillery continuing North to Benghazi. This opens a gap. I must ensure the mobile units do not get cut off from supplies by the British – a skill the AI is effective in employing. Running out of supplies delays advancing by multiple turns. In dozens of playthroughs of the Libya scenario, turns 4-5 are often highly dangerous to the Axis.

The strategy was successfully executed! Benghazi fell on Turn 5. Attacks on turn 6 prevented the British from cutting my supply lines. The forces cutting through the desert rapidly advanced and a large combined arms force was spotted close to the East Coast. 17 - Turn 4 Dangers18 Turn 5 Force Split19 - T6 Successful attacks

Turns 7 to 13: British Retreat Cut Off and Tobruk Probed
A large British combined arms force occupies Mechili. My approaching scout car located and detonated a mine field. The defenders are supported by an anti-tank gun.  AT guns are deadly when supporting adjacent defenders.   Fortunately, the infantry and dive bombers accompanied my armor and destroyed AT gun.  My goal is cutting off the retreating British before they can reach the fortress of Tobruk. 20 - T7 Minefield21 - Turn 7 Big Picture

Foot infantry and artillery move East along the coast destroying encountered units. The mechanized force is screened from encirclement by the escarpment and grinds through British defenders. By the end of Turn 8 the British are in a precarious position and should retreat everything towards Tobruk. 22 - Turn 8

The retreating British are encircled on Turn 10 and the airfield was captured.  Both are significant. Movement, attack and defense are severely degraded for out of supply units. The screenshot shows an Italian armor unit capturing the airfield and immediately attacking and destroying a heavily damaged infantry unit in the city.  The airfield was captured and vacated in the same turn. This is a coup for the Axis. Dive bombers are slow. If the airfield had not been quickly captured the dive bomber would have been forced to refuel at the Benghazi airfield – taking it out of action for around 6 turns.23 - T10 Encirclement & Airfield Capture

General O’Connor was captured as the British pocket was reduced on Turn 12. On the same turn my armor probed the British defenses around Tobruk. Tobruk is heavily defended by mines, fortifications, heavily artillery, anti-aircraft and infantry. But the defense is static without armor for counterattacks. Capturing Tobruk will take time. Infantry and artillery must catch up. Aircraft must be refueled and rearmed. 24 - T12 O'Connor Captured25 - Turn 12 Tobruk Defenses26 - T13 big picture


Sandstorm: An Order of Battle WW2 After Action Report (AAR)

The first Sandstorm scenario is Libya, March 1941. The British captured almost all of Libya from the Italians. Germany sends Rommel to Africa with limited troops. This AAR comes from completing the entire Sandstorm campaign multiple times on the Lieutenant level and once on the Captain level. I’ve played the first scenario: Libya, March 1941 at least a dozen times testing different strategies and army configurations.1- Libya Scenario

A huge decision throughout Sandstorm and critical to the first scenario is how to best use the Italians. Germany has significantly better men and equipment in almost every category excepting artillery. But Italians are fifty percent or more of your army. Players should carefully decide where to spend precious German command points.

Libya 1941 opens with preplaced troops of one German and one Italian artillery unit, one German Armor (Panzer III), one truck motorized German engineer and one truck motorized Italian infantry. You must purchase the remainder. Starting command points (limiting maximum land, air and naval units fielded) are Italy 19 land and 3 air points; German 10 land and 10 air points. There are 460 Italian and 600 German resource points to purchase units. Unit costs vary considerably with armor and air units much more costly in resource points than foot infantry.2- Initial Objectives4 - Front Line before full deployment

Choosing air units is easy and ground units devilishly hard.

Germany has a superb tactical bomber unmatched by Italy. Italian fighters are pretty good. Tactical bombers are devastating on ground units but mincemeat for fighters. Your air force needs enough fighters for at least parity in the air. Tactical bombers are excellent ground support units. I bought the best available Italian Fighter (MC200 Saetta), two Bf 100 F German fighters and a Ju 87 B tactical bomber. My last German air command point purchased a recon plane completing my air force.

With only ten command points, German land purchases are limited. Germany has vastly superior medium tanks, much better infantry, somewhat better scout cars, and roughly equal artillery. In 1941 Germany has two types of armor: one designed for anti-tank superiority and the other more focused on infantry support. My strongest need is knocking out other tanks so 6 command points are spent on a Panzer IIIJ with the remaining 4 points purchasing a halftrack motorized infantry. Halftracks are more expensive than trucks but have some mounted offensive capability and much better mounted defense. Halftracks also have better off-road movement.

The Italians have limited resource points after purchasing the MC200 Saetta. The Order of Battle series AI excels in outflanking and isolating your units. Libya has a lot of open space and I need Italian Infantry to hold my flanks. I buy 3 inexpensive, Italian foot infantry, the best Italian armor available (mediocre and expensive compared to German armor) and a recon unit.

The two points spent on the recon unit could have truck-motorized two Italian infantry. I chose the recon unit for several reasons. When mounted in trucks, infantry is highly vulnerable to attack. Trucks are expensive and some Italian resource points are held in reserve to replace casualties. Recon units have several advantages. First, they are fast and can detect mines. Second, they can choose phased movement. Last, they quickly retreat when taking damage making them hard to destroy. The disadvantages of recon units are they cannot take objectives, are relatively expensive, and have minimal offensive punch. 5 - Units purchased and deployed

Looking at the map, Libya has a paved coast road connecting all major cities and airfields. Because Libya juts into the Mediterranean Sea, unpaved desert roads give armor and motorized infantry the potential to cut-off many coastal objectives.
Thus, my overall strategy is sending Italian foot infantry and both artillery units along the coast road to capture major cities, ports and airfields before Tobruk. All armor, motorized infantry, and the recon unit will take the desert roads attempting to encircle British and Commonwealth forces. Foot infantry is just too slow away from the coast roads. 3 - Libya

I get Rommel! Rommel is the best leader I’ve seen in all Order of Battle games. His command radius is huge, his impact on both his unit and surrounding units is excellent. I attach Rommel to my lead Panzer III to encompass as many opening battles as possible.
I’m not going to discuss the initial objectives since they will quickly change.

Initial Offensive Turn
If you have read my other Order of Battle AARs you will remember that I seldom provide detailed, step-by-step instructions on how I ran a turn. Turn 1 in Libya is highly constrained by limited space. My choreographed sequence gets most out of your first turn.

First, the German engineer advances and attacks the British anti-tank gun. Do not advance into the space. Next, the lead Italian infantry hopefully destroys the damaged unit. If you don’t finish it off, your fighters should be able to follow up, strafe and kill. Italian infantry advances to take the space.6 - Part 1 of attack

Second, Italian artillery moves two spaces and fires on the British Infantry. Do not advance to where the artillery mounts the trucks and cannot fire. Then fire the German artillery. Last, use your dive bomber to airstrike the British Infantry. This sequence is critical for maximum effectiveness.7 - Part 2 of Attack

Third, German mechanized infantry attacks weakened British infantry and does not advance into the space if successful. Keep the space open for the next attack wave.8 - Part 3 of First Turn

Fourth, rearmost Italian infantry attacks flank of British Artillery. Infantry does not advance after the attack. The rearmost German Armor then advances (and hopefully) destroys the British artillery. Armor advances into the space if successful.9 - Part 4 of First Turn

Fifth, your lead Italian infantry attacks and destroys the two heavily damaged British units and advances into the open ground. The lead German armor (with Rommel) takes full movement down the road as does the Italian armor. The recon car takes the lead.
If successful, the only visible opponent is a scout car. This strategy works about 80% of the time as shown. Sometimes fighters must mop up the damaged anti-tank gun. Worst case, your final German and Italian armor units destroy the heavily damaged British units and your recon unit is far in advance of the rest of your forces. On higher difficulty levels these initial moves work, but you don’t advance quite as far, and your scout car is far more likely to be exposed far ahead of your other units.10 - Part 5 of First Turn

Slow Cooker Rib Recipe

I bought half a lamb with a buddy. This gave me a entire rack of lamb ribs to cook. I was afraid of ruining them on the grill or the smoker. If you cook ribs too long they become like shoe leather.

Ultimately, I invented my own rib recipe. I’ve done lamb ribs and pork ribs and both worked well. This is not complex, but is very good fall off the bone tender. The recipe is simple.

Sweet Onion
Minced Garlic
Rosemary (lamb)
Thyme (pork)
Whatever BBQ sauce you like.

Take your slow cooker (crockpot in the USA) and grease it.
Slice your ribs into one or two rib portions from the rack.
Dice enough sweet onions to cover every rib layer.
Dice enough garlic to cover every rib layer
Have enough fresh Rosemary or Thyme to use between each rib layer

Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of ribs.
Generously cover the layer of ribs with a large portion of diced sweet onion and minced garlic. Heavily sprinkle either fresh rosemary or fresh thyme.
Repeat with next layer of ribs until all are in the slow cooker.
Pour about 8 ounces of BBQ sauce on the top to provide enough liquid for the ribs to stay moist while cooking.

Start your slow cooker on high for 1 hour. Then cook an additional 8 hours on low.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Game Review


Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Set in the 1990s, Buffy and her friends fought generic vampires, monsters of the week, and a “big bad” who from behind the scenes was responsible for the evil that season. Buffy had campy evil nemeses, humor, and good acting for a horror/teen romance/teen angst TV show.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game recreates the Buffyverse milieu in a cooperative tabletop setting. Buffy and her buddies strive to keep the helpless inhabitants of Sunnydale California alive while discovering the big-bad behind the evil and the means to snuff them.Game Board

If the Apocalypse Tract fills up with dead townies and accumulated wounds to Buffy and her gang it is game over. Then big bad roars with laughter, the hell mouth opens, and Sunnydale dies. Hapless townies are like chickens, easy to kill and tasty to monsters. Monsters ending their move in a hex with an unguarded townie enjoy a townie banquet. A Bad Moon Rising

Winning is a little more complicated. The game starts with generic vampires, demons and tasty townies on the board plus a single “monster of the week.” The good guys gather right tools to force a showdown with the monster of the week. Then a card is selected containing two symbols on the bottom. If one of those two symbols match the monster of the week’s symbol, the monster dies replaced by a clue token. If there is no match the gathered tools are destroyed and the monster continues its rampage. The gang then scurries around the board to collect the tools and try again. An element of suspense is present because players have a 2/3rds chance of winning any showdown.

The Big-Bad is off-board until three monsters of the week are vanquished leaving three associated clues. The Big-Bad appears and really bad things happen. A player in the correct hex must spend a turn investigating each clue to learn how to defeat the Big-Bad. Heroes gather the proper tools to win the three Big-Bad confrontations. The players win if they successfully confront the Big-Bad three times via the 2-in-3 success rate random check before the apocalypse track fills up.

Different board spaces represent Sunnydale locales supplying occult items, weapons and tools. At Buffy’s home two wounds can be healed per turn which removes them from the apocalypse track. Dead townies are forever dead and cannot be removed from the apocalypse countdown.

Each character can perform identical regular actions (move, search, fight, and use the locale if free of monsters) plus a unique special action which vary by character. Buffy can kill with efficiency and flair. Giles effectively searches for items needed to snuff a monster. Spike kills very well and so on and so forth. A player’s special action can be used only once every four actions. But when the special action is taken more monsters and townies are randomly spawned on the game board. Special actions (or a basic action substitute) must be taken once every four player rounds. BuffyFOB - Friends of Buffy

This is a well-balanced, suspensive game. Players must decide when to take their special action to both advance towards victory and to avoid spawning more monsters and targets. Buffy and the gang mostly succeed in major confrontations against monsters of the week and the big-bad – but mostly is not always. A random third of the time critical items are destroyed and the monster survives to prey on townies and wound the Scooby Gang.

The game starts out deceptively. Buffy and the gang can almost, just about, come really close to killing all regular monsters on the map. But specials get used and more monsters spawn. Buffy and her buddies begin to realize the longer the big bad is out there, the more monsters appear.

It is a race against time. Can Buffy and her friends gather the right items fast enough to win the show-downs before every townie in Sunnydale becomes monster chow? Sunnydale has an impressive number of cemeteries which attract helpless townies like cheese in a mousetrap. Should Buffy and friends protect and save townies or collect items needed to win confrontations? Doomed townies

And the group will lose some confrontations resulting in the destruction of carefully gathered items.

The game balance is excellent! I’ve played three games, one at Origins with random strangers, once solo at home to familiarize myself with the rules, and once with my wife running three characters (she played Buffy, I played Willow and Giles). Each end game had a veritable swarm of monsters on the board chasing down tasty townies for a delicious snack while our avatars tried to put the final beat-down on the big-bad before the Sunnydale cemeteries filled.

The game with my wife ended in victory when Giles tossed the necessary tools to Buffy who won the third and final confrontation with the big bad just before the monster swarm devoured enough townies to trigger the hell-mouth. That’s quality family entertainment in my house!

Buffy comes with six major big-bad opponents and a stack of monsters of the week. The game contains extensive suggestions on making the game easier or more challenging according to player preference. The game quality and villain assortment provide good replay value. Assortment of Evil

The biggest downside is the failure to incorporate quips, gags, and lines from the series. Buffy was very well written. Knowledgeable players can fill in this gap, but even Buffy fans could have their memory jogged with reminders of memorable moments from the series. This is an obvious game design flaw compared to other games licensed from movies or TV shows (see Big Trouble in Little China for an example of how to do this right). Because Cordelia and especially Oz and Tara are omitted, the tangled dating web and confused sexuality topics are avoided. The base game helps parents avoid discussing these issues with their younger children.

Because the game is cooperative and relatively simple, I cannot understand why the game has not been ported to the computer. Lords of Waterdeep and the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game have been ported to the digital world while Buffy languishes dateless in Sunnydale.

In sum, this is a light, well balanced, cooperative board game. Monsters are easy to run in the game system. Good play is rewarded. Enough random chance exists to provide angst and challenge. The setting and game goals fit the Buffyverse. The rules are simple enough that a reasonably bright child can play, but not so simple that the game becomes boring. For adults, the mild complexity makes this an attractive social or drinking game. Game setup is quick. Games can be completed in 90 minutes if players understand the rules. Because the game is cooperative, it is 100% compatible with solo gameplay.

Avery Abernethy is gainfully retired and finally has time to play games. He acquired a stack of cooperative games because his lovely wife prefers cooperative games over competitive games. 

Wrigley 2004 to 2020 – RIP

wrigley March 13, 2004

Wrigley was the best dog we have ever had. Wrigley was the worst dog we ever had.

Wrigley was an unwanted puppy rescued from the side of a busy road. We had recently lost Snort, our first dog. Puppy Wrigley was very scared and clingy – for about 48 hours. Then the schnauzer part kicked into high gear.

Wrigley was smart, possibly the smartest dog we ever had. She was the easiest dog of the six we have had to house train. She learned obedience well on a leash. Wrigley was the best dog we ever had.

We crate our dogs at night. Wrigley loved her freedom. This was the beginning of a nightly struggle lasting more than a decade. She wanted to be free, we want her in a crate, Wrigley hid. She hid in so many ways. She would be motionless in a corner. She would hide behind stuff. She would hide outside. MVC-001F

Wrigley never ate a dog treat given when crated – ever. We even gave her freshly made bacon. She ate it the next morning when the crate door was opened. Wrigley was the most frustrating dog ever.

Wrigley loved people. She never met a human from infant to the elderly that was not her friend. She loved them all, greeted each one by putting her paws on them and wagging her tail. If a large number of strangers were in the house, she would “work the room” by greeting each person individually. We trusted Wrigley around everyone – she was the best dog ever.

Wrigley was a great walking dog. She never got tangled. Until her health collapsed in her last year, you could not outwalk Wrigley. Wrigley never tangled leashes when two dogs were being walked. Wrigley never attacked other dogs and every human she met was her friend. Wrigley was the best walking dog ever.

Wrigley always wanted to be with us. She did not want to be in our laps, just in our presence. She would follow us around the house (usually Lynn). Wrigley led, but had to keep looking over her shoulder or backtrack if she chose the wrong hall. Wrigley was a sweet companion.

Wrigley never showed pain – ever. Puppy Wrigley would flip herself over a gate, land on her spine on hard wood, and dash off. Shots, snake bites, accidently stepping on her, nothing ever caused a whimper or a yelp. Wrigley was the pinnacle of dog stoicism. Wrigley was the best dog ever.

Young Wrigley got bored. Young Wrigley would sit in Lynn’s lap, stick out her tongue just a touch, grin, and reach her front paw back and pop Lynn on the cheek. She did the same thing to my Niece Laura. Wrigley was a pest.Dread Pirate Wrigley2

Wrigley never wanted to play. Ball, tug of war, all of this was stupid. She wanted to watch for trouble. She watched a lot out of windows and doors. Wrigley barked at intruders: other dogs, people, cats and deer. Squirrels were beneath her notice. But once a stranger was greeted by Lynn or I, they became Wrigley’s new friend. Wrigley could be annoying.

Wrigley thought she was the best dog ever. Wrigley knew we did not need any other dogs. Lynn wanted a lap dog that would play ball, so she got Zippo. Zippo became the focus of Wrigley’s rage. Wrigley had a lot of hate. After months of discipline, Wrigley learned that she could not bite Zippo. But she could growl at Zippo, chew at his neck fur, block the hallway, block the path to Zippos’ food bowl, take Zippos ball, bone or whatever and then lay on it and go to sleep. Zippo was clearly a waste of oxygen.


When Lynn got custody of her Nephew Sam (aged 16), Sam decided he wanted his own dog. So he got Max. Wrigley hated Max and only then decided hated Sam. Before this, Sam was a dear friend. Now, if Sam left the door open to his bedroom, Wrigley would go in and pee on the clothes on the floor. Wrigley would stare down Sam in a hallway, and then pee right in front of him. Wrigley was pretty perfectly housetrained – this was hate pee. Wrigley was the worst dog ever.Wrigley Sly Look Jan 29 2019

I got Panzer two years ago. Panzer is a miniature Schnauzer. Panzer plays amazingly well with other dogs and attempted to be Wrigley’s friend. Wrigley was elderly, in early stages of kidney failure, and slept constantly. Wrigley would have nothing to do with Panzer. Wrigley intimidated Zippo and Max – but Panzer lacks fear. Panzer started to torment Wrigley by snarling and jumping around Wrigley. Panzer would even nip Wrigley on the butt occasionally. Wrigley learned that Zippo and Max were not the worst dogs ever – Panzer was. But elderly Wrigley could no longer do battle with teeth and claw.

Wrigley started asking me for a handgun to kill Panzer.Wrigley Aug 2019

Wrigley continued her decline. She ate little, slept even more, and became skin and bones. She gradually lost almost all hearing and sight. Her arthritis accelerated.
Another dog, Dash a four pound Sheltie puppy came into the house. Elderly Wrigley snarled and snapped at Dash. Puppy Dash was terrified and gave Wrigley a wide berth. As Dash grew into an adult, he continued to avoid Wrigley and had a certain level of respect and fear. Wrigley hated Dash less than every other dog that came into the house. IMG_9583Panzer & Dash Nov 2019

Wrigley’s teeth started rotting. She had four teeth removed in 2018 and felt better. She ate a little more. In late 2019 another 8 rotted teeth were removed – but Wrigley’s appetite did not improve. Wrigley had lost 25% of her weight, was mostly deaf, blind, and somewhat toothless. By Summer, 2019 she could not get onto the sofa without a doggy stepstool. Wrigly & Zippo July 2016

By October, 2019 Wrigley started falling. Her back legs no longer worked reliably. By December she could no longer get on the sofa on good days – even with the doggy steps. Almost nothing could get Wrigley to wag her tail, even briefly. She hurt, but never moaned, whimpered or complained. Wrigley was a tough old dog. Wrigley was the best dog ever.Wrigley Nov 2019

We had to put Wrigley down last week. Although she never complained, she was suffering. The tail did not wag. Wrigley got a fresh strip of bacon from Auburn’s meat lab every day for her last ten days on Earth. Meat lab bacon is awesome! But Wrigley’s tail barely twitched.Wrigley Christmas 2019b

The vet gave Wrigley a sedative to put her to sleep. She went to sleep over the next five to ten minutes sitting in my lap with Lynn and I petting her and telling her she was a good girl. Once she was in deep sleep, the vet gave her the final shot. Wrigley’s death was probably easier than mine will be. She was a good girl – the best dog we have ever had in many ways.

We will never have another dog like Wrigley – we hope. Rest in Peace.

Some Thoughts on Scotch

I started drinking Scotch for my health – really.  I used to drink beer in the evening, but I became diabetic. Scotch has fewer carbs = better for a diabetic. I have Scottish ancestry (Abernethy) though that is largely meaningless since my ancestors came to North America in the 1600s. Still, I retain two important characteristics of the Scotch: I like Scotch and I’m frugal.

Fortunately, I find Scotch blends often are better tasting than single malts. “Scotch Snobs” (and probably those with better palates than I) know that single malts are better than blends. But I like blends and I’m drinking because I want to, not because I have to (I’m retired – I don’t have to drink). Blends are much less expensive than single malts which warms my heart.

What I like and dislike in Scotch
Scotch should not taste sweet. If you want a sweeter taste, drink bourbon.
Scotch should have a smoky or peaty taste to it. When I want something which is not sweet without a peaty taste I drink Irish Whiskey like Jamison’s.
Scotch should not taste like you are sucking on a piece of burnt wood.
Scotch should go down smooth.

Sometimes I want a smokier/more peaty taste. Sometimes I don’t.
Because I sometimes want smoky, I need at least two brands of Scotch in the house.

If you disagree with the above criteria – then take the subsequent recommendations as an “anti-buy” list rather than a recommendation list.

I went on Scotch Quest for about two years. Lynn picked up mini-bottles and I tried many brands on cruises. I’m omitting the brands I drank in Scotland on a brief visit. They were wonderful, I can’t get them in the USA, and thinking about their absence makes me sad.

In sum, these are my taste preferences based on serious, methodical research. I have a Ph.D., so this is “science.” Seriously, this is what I like and dislike. What you like to drink is a matter of personal taste.


My Rejected Brands



Advantages:  Less expensive than Dewars; Not sweet; Smoky, but not too smoky

Disadvantage: Not smooth, not smooth at all.

I tried a Fifth of Scorsby and it was not smooth. It was barely drinkable. I finished the bottle instead of giving it to a relative who believes that any free liquor is better than any liquor he purchases with his own money. But I did think about gifting it – hard.



Advantages: Inexpensive; The name is pretty neat; Not sweet; Nice smoky taste

Disadvantages: Too Harsh

This was a Total Wine Manager recommendation in the blended Scotch area. I drank all of this and did not consider giving it to a relative – but it was harsher than I like. If you can tolerate something less smooth than Dewars, or if, God help you, you like a harsher taste – then try Shieldaig.

Highland Park

Highland Park

Advantages: Smooth

Disadvantage: No peaty taste at all.  It was a very smooth, tasteless whiskey.  If I want something like this I’ll drink Irish Whiskey like Jamison.



Advantages: Cheaper than Dewar’s; Not sweet; Plastic bottle (less likely to break).

Disadvantage: Not smooth enough

I will happily drink JW when it is offered to me. It is a little to harsh for home.  But I’ll happily drink your JW, thank you for it, and have a second while thanking you for being a fine fellow.

Johnny Walker Red


Advantages: As smoky a taste as I ever care for; Smooth; Not Sweet

Expensive compared to some other smoky scotches I prefer.

I kept a fifth of Johnny Walker Red in the liquor cabinet for a decade. Eventually I discovered I did not care for it as much as two other smoky Scotches with a similar price point. I like Johnny Walker Red, will happily drink it (especially if someone else is buying), but no longer buy for home consumption.


What I Like & Keep in the Liquor Cabinet

Dewars White Label


Advantages: Smooth; Lightly smokey/peaty taste; Not sweet
Disadvantages: None. Not expensive, smooth and good.

My everyday, go-to scotch. You can find it everywhere. It is not terribly expensive (you can get a handle for less than $40 including tax in Georgia).


caryle scotch

Advantages: Less expensive than Dewars; Not Sweet; Smooth

Disadvantages: Can be difficult to find in some States.  A little harsher than Dewars.

This was a manager’s recommendation at Total Wine in South Carolina.  It is very inexpensive, very good for the price, and I appreciate the recommendation.

Glenlivet 12 year old Single Malt

glenlivit 12

Advantages: Very smooth, very good. Some peaty taste, but not overwhelming. Disadvantage: More expensive than Dewar’s and Carlyle (my two main drinks). Very nice to have occasionally.

This was a present at my retirement party by Ed Lowenstein.  Thanks Ed!  It is wonderful!  If was a little less expensive I would drink it instead of Carlyle.  I always have this in the cabinet.

Grangestone 12 year single malt.

Grangestone 12 year

Advantage: Smooth; Distinct peaty taste.  Better value than Johnny Walker Red.

Disadvantage: Too peaty for my everyday scotch.  I I keep a bottle of this in the cabinet when I want a peaty scotch.

Battlehill Laphroaig – 10 year

Battlehill Laphroaig 10 year

Advantage: Smooth; Very peaty.

Disadvantage: This is as peaty as I care to drink.

This one is very peaty. This is as peaty as I can stand. It is good, but not something I drink every week or even every month. I keep a bottle in the liquor cabinet – but one lasts me about a year.

Be careful about the Battlehill label. Battlehill is a brand that is common to a number of exporting distillers in Scotland. The second word in the brand name is critical to understanding what you are buying. I did not care for some of the other Battlehill brands – but I do like Laphroaig.

Macallan 12 Year Double-Cask (blue box)

macallan 12 year double cask

Advantage: Extremely Smooth; Very Mild; Very little peaty flavor.

Disadvantage: Expensive; Not peaty enough for my taste.  The only Scotch Lynn drinks.

This scotch is distilled in two different casks – one a traditional oak and the other one that was used to age sherry. This has a different, but very smooth taste than most Scotch. This is a special occasion scotch that individuals who dislike the peaty taste will find to be an excellent drink.  One bottle will last us more than a year since Scotch is not Lynn’s preference.



My everyday Scotch is Dewar’s or Carlyle.

If I want something with more of a peaty taste – then it is Grangestone 12 year or if I want something really peaty – Battlehill Laphroaig.

My “special occasion” scotch is Glenlivet 12 year. I keep Macallan 12 year because Lynn likes it.

I buy Dewar’s and Carlyle by the handle. I buy the others by the bottle. I keep all six in my liquor cabinet.

I’m not going to make everyone cry (including me) about the Scotches I had in Scotland last Fall. You cannot get what I drank there imported into the USA. I want to take a Scotch trip (my wife can navigate) sometime before I die. She wants an Irish Whiskey trip – so we can probably trade off on who gets to drink the most.