Brisling sardines just changed my life

How on earth am I five decades into living and I'm just now discovering brisling sardines? I've been eating 'sardines' my whole life, and I like have always liked them, but these brisling sardines I had last night were the best tinned fish I've ever eaten. They're tiny, and smokey, and so so delicious!

What have I been eating my whole life? What are sardines? What are brisling sardines? I have so many questions.

This overview at gave me some answers. First, what are sardines? They explain that the term "sardine" isn't specific to one kind of fish, but is a more general term "that applies to any small, oily fish within the herring family. The name came from Sardinia, a Mediterranean island that was one of the first areas to pack these fish for commercial consumption." So what, then, are "brisling sardines"? They are their own specific species of fish, called a "sprat," that live in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Sciencing further describes brisling sardines:

Brislings have a mild aroma and no noticeable scales. At 3 inches to 4.5 inches in length, full-grown brislings are less than half the size of other sardines. Smaller adult fish are more delicate and tender, according to Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian and creator of The Sardine Diet. Brislings live in clean water, such as the Norwegian fjords, where the fishing industry is strictly regulated. The fish are known for their purity and a reduced risk of containing mercury.

For more info on the differences between sprats and sardines, here's a helpful article.

If you've never tried brisling sardines, go grab a tin! I ate mine on top of toasted Dave's Killer thin-sliced bread, with a dollop of Bitchin' Sauce. YUM!