The color is similar. I think if you sat a glass of each next to each other, you wouldn’t be able to tell a difference. The whiskey barrel aging is evident before the first sip with a delightful aroma. Whiskey, vanilla, smoked peat blend extremely well. Some heat from the 8.2% ABV, but I don’t think as much as the original version. Just as it should be with Scotch ales, there is little to no presence from the hops. A twinge of bitterness at the end is all that is noticeable. Incredibly smooth and really coats the mouth with a delicious layer of whiskey goodness.
The barrel aging definitely adds flavor and texture, even if it does subdue some of the complexity of the non-barrel aged version. But if you like whiskey and Scotch ales in general, get it if you can!