View Full Version : What do you like about higher proofs?

08-16-2009, 15:17
Just curious here.

Personally, I find Bookers 126 a bit rough with significant burn on the swallow, while the Wild Turkey 101 Rare Breed, for instance, is more friendly to my tongue.

What does a higher proof do for you, taste-wise?

08-16-2009, 15:51
Flavor... anything 80 proof tastes like water to me. With Bookers, I thought it had a lot of alcoholey-solvent taste without the flavor of higher proof (I don't enjoy it much at all.)

With things like WLW and Stagg, to me it's more flavor with a bit of alcohol kick that's enjoyable. But it's also the bourbon, there's things that are 100 proof and are harsh, while 140+ proof Stagg is fine to sip neat for me.

At some point I just started to ignore the alcohol taste of bourbon, and focus on other aspects... killing the proof out of the equation and going off flavor alone.

08-16-2009, 16:12
Flavor...take smaller sips if nesesary.....flavor.....

08-16-2009, 16:53
What does a higher proof do for you, taste-wise?

Numbs your taste buds.

08-16-2009, 17:04
I'm glad to see that Booker's is not the example to judge by, then. I AM sipping (very small sips - grin) a glass of Booker's right now, alongside an inch thick, rare rib-eye (yum!), and it seems to do better than just sipping all by its lonesome.

I'm also guessing (well, thinking out loud, I suppose) that more alcohol content will also act as a solvent to keep more of the flavors in solution...

Thanks for the answers, y'all.

08-16-2009, 17:45
...What does a higher proof do for you, taste-wise?
It gives ME the choice of the proof at which I want to drink my whiskey. I can't turn an 80 proofer into anything but a cocktail. I can turn a 142-proof Stagg into any (lower) proof drink I desire.
Re Stagg, by the way, I recommend two experiences:

pour 4-5 ounces in a 12-ounce snifter and sip it occasionally over the course of an hour or more while, say, reading a good book. You'll find, I think, you're turning taste pages along with the chapters;
repeatedly add a drop of three of water to a GTS pour until you begin to see a diminishment of the 'proto-bourbon' stylistics. I think you'll find it's still Stagg even down below 100 proof. Makes a bottle a value, even, when you realize you can turn it into the equivalent of 1-2/3 bottles.

08-16-2009, 17:54
In my opinion, the higher proof bottlings come with more intense flavors, which is why I love them.


08-16-2009, 19:08
Nothing really.

Except in the sense of a higher proof being less watered down.

Alcohol gets in the way, but the intensity of the barrel strength makes it all worth it. I've been following Jim Rutledge's low proof experiments as possible (and as seen in many 40th Anniversary bottlings), but I believe they've been terminated, from a Q&A response Lear asked in his guest spot he did on Hansell's blog (http://blog.maltadvocate.com/2009/03/06/guest-blog-jim-rutledge-four-roses-distillery/). Pity...


Lost Pollito
08-18-2009, 08:24
I think you ment this one Roger. The other link was for Port Ellen.

08-18-2009, 08:38
In my opinion, the higher proof bottlings come with more intense flavors, which is why I love them.

I'm with you. The GTS and WLW are certainly high octane but the alcohol doesn't get in the way of all the robust flavors, at least not for me anyway. I'm happy to drink them neat in small sips or to add a drop or two of water to open the nose and turn down the initial burn a notch, though, frankly, I don't mind the burn much either.

08-18-2009, 09:13
Proof control and flavor. I typically don't buy anything 80 proof unless it's a dusty and I want to try it. While some of the uber high proofs may mask some of those flavors, altering the proof little by little allows me to balance the proof to flavor ratio.

It used to be true that there was a cost benefit but since the distillery's now know that people will pay a premium for some of the barrel proof offerings, the prices have become silly. When I could buy Stagg or WLW for $45 a bottle or less, it made sense but not anymore.

08-18-2009, 15:04
I think you meant this one Roger. The other link was for Port Ellen.

Thanks, Joe, you got it right.


08-18-2009, 15:19
In my opinion, the higher proof bottlings come with more intense flavors, which is why I love them.


I think intensity is the right word. It invites small sips, slowly, to be savored. And the warmth kind of settles in over you.

I also agree that Bookers is not the best example of a high proof bourbon. I like Bookers just fine, but it's one of the few that I prefer on ice instead of neat. Maybe Bookers has a little more burn that the ice helps dissipate.

08-18-2009, 15:58
The highest proof I've tried to date is 107. This thread is getting me really interested in trying some of the higher proofs.

08-18-2009, 17:10
I found it shocking at first...but if you do side by side comparisons, you'll find that some higher proof bourbons are smoother and don't burn as much as some lower proof ones do!

Just the other night, I had a drink of OGD114, and followed it up with a dram of 80 proof JB rye, neat. I've always drank the JBrye on the rocks, but decided to try it neat for the first time.

I drank the OGD without a twitch, but the JBRye...well, I did have the ole Whiskey wince and cough.... :slappin:

08-20-2009, 14:34
* not paying for someone to water down my drink before I even open it
* more intense flavor
* holds up better on a rock or three

08-20-2009, 16:18
More "BANG" for the buck. :grin: Joe