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Khari
06-25-2007, 19:36
Do you guys drink even the whiskies in cask strength neat? I purchased a few (Aberlour A'bunadh, Laphroaig 10 CS), and I'm having a bit of difficulty enjoying them. The Aberlour has great flavor, but it burns the heck out of my throat. I'm inclined to add a little water to it, but then I got curious about what other folks do. Do you guys add water to your cask strength drinks?

heatmiser
06-25-2007, 20:13
It just depends on what mood I'm in. That is what is so nice about cask strength offerings. Drink at your preference...

The Aberlour A'bunadh is one of my favorite sherried scotch whiskey's. I usually drink that one diluted down to around 100 proof.

tango-papa
06-25-2007, 21:10
Another Aberlour A'bunadh fan here!
When I drink this, I always have a few sips straight, then cut with just a splash of water as I rather enjoy the 'change' in aroma the water brings.

~tp

mgilbertva
06-25-2007, 22:01
I haven't had the Aberlour A'bunadh or Laphroaig cask strength, although both are on my "must buy" list. However, I do have a bottle of the Glenlivet Nadurra, which is cask strength, and I love it. Glenlivet in general I don't care about - I neither like it nor dislike it - but the Nadurra is terrific.

For cask strength whisk(e)ys, whether Scotch or Bourbon, I usually drink them neat. Once in awhile I'll add enough water to bring it down to a bit over 100 proof, but that's the exception.

They key for high proof spirits, e.g., George T. Stagg, Bookers or Nadurra, is you have to sip it. The mechanics or consumption have to change or yes, you'll burn your throat.

T47
06-26-2007, 00:45
I really enjoy the flavor of Aberlour A'bunadh. I tend to drink it neat but will on occasion use some ice with it. I want to try the other Aberlour offerings now.
Like a lot of folks I will start neat and work from there. I think however you enjoy it is what is important, but it is also interesting to try it with ice, or water, or warmed or cooled to see what that does to the nose, taste and finish.

:toast:

mier
06-26-2007, 01:20
Every whiskey you drink the way you like it but if it`s a cask strength i prefer some water to bring the alcohollevel down a bit.I drink them mostly lowered down to roughly 50% makes the alcohol less dominant and takes up the taste of other components.A`bunadh is a very nice whisky indeed goes nice with mild Indian curries too.Eric.

Yellowjacket
06-26-2007, 23:35
My experience is that different people have different preferences with water when it comes to cask strength (really, any strength). I’ve had a few Scotch Whisky Tasting gatherings at my house and everyone has there own preference. Some like their’s neat, some with a few drops of water, and still others prefer even more water. Definitely drink your whisky the way you like it best. You have to experiment with each CS to discover your particular liking. I really love the A’bunadh’s and usually add 3-4 drops of water to open it up. Now, with the George T. Stagg, I definitely have to dilute it some.

mitchshrader
03-04-2008, 17:14
strength + age works. strength and youth.. less well.

i'm a purist. i think it should be bottled when the ABV falls to 50.. no matter what it is... and left ALONE until it does.

so, cask strength alone is no great recommendation.

The Laphroaig CS is an exception, full on rocket fuel, ice fishing booze, the perfect dram on the nastiest day of the year..

The Aberlour a'bundah (and me an aberlour fan) just made me angry. A snapshot of taste, repeated an infinite number of times, with 0 variation..

The two cask strength cognacs I own make me think strongly of bigamy, so i can marry BOTH of them..

Macallan Cask Strength is ideal small flask booze, good for a long walk on a brisk day, or a football game.. tiny sips work fine.

The Glenfarclas 105 CS got a firm thumbs down, with 2 tries. Paint thinner..

It just varies. Some CS is perfect, some is great at particular moments, and other stuff you wonder who had that DUMB idea..

and likely, your selections won't match mine.

sku
03-04-2008, 17:28
I think some whiskies just hold their alcohol better than others. I can drink, even young peated scotches at cask strength (or close) neat: Ardbeg Oogie, Laphroaig CS, Bruichalddich PC5, but I need water for sherried Scotches like Aberlour A'bundah...I think it's just a personal thing that I like strong peat better than strong sherry.

Of course, when you get to levels of alcohol like the newer Stagg, you really must dilute.

spun_cookie
03-04-2008, 23:09
Do you guys drink even the whiskies in cask strength neat? I purchased a few (Aberlour A'bunadh, Laphroaig 10 CS), and I'm having a bit of difficulty enjoying them. The Aberlour has great flavor, but it burns the heck out of my throat. I'm inclined to add a little water to it, but then I got curious about what other folks do. Do you guys add water to your cask strength drinks?


Will depend on the night, but yes.... and the A'bunadh is my favorite by a long shot for scotch...

boss302
03-05-2008, 00:02
Do you guys drink even the whiskies in cask strength neat? I purchased a few (Aberlour A'bunadh, Laphroaig 10 CS), and I'm having a bit of difficulty enjoying them. The Aberlour has great flavor, but it burns the heck out of my throat. I'm inclined to add a little water to it, but then I got curious about what other folks do. Do you guys add water to your cask strength drinks?


It is worth noting that the typical Scotch Whisky drinker in Scotland usually adds plenty of (not too cold) water to their whisky. Usually an ounce of water to an ounce of whisky.

I, however, prefer to go a 3:1 whisky:water ratio. My years of drinking bourbon neat have trained me for this.

Cask strength whiskies are a bit of a trick, though. I think the best way is to experiment for yourself-- everybody's pallets and nasal sensitivity are different, after all.

For cask strength whiskies, I will usually start it neat to get one flavor/fragrance profile, then dilute it to 3:1, then 2:1. I'll usually drink the bulk of it at 2:1.

Megawatt
03-09-2008, 16:06
The only cask-strength whisky I have tried is The Arran Malt Single Cask (cognac finish). This whisky has virtually no taste or aroma at full strength. Diluted down to 3:1 or 2:1 whisky/water, it totally transforms. In other words, I completely agree with the above post by boss302.

LeoDLion
04-09-2008, 11:39
On the first dram, I will dilute a single malt that is more than 50ABV. I find that the strength higher than that interferes with my tasting it and all I taste is the alcohol. I put maybe 3 tablespoon of cold water or a combination of cold water and one ice cube. The ice cube I like to put specially in the summer when its too hot here in Texas. I like to bring the ABV to around 50-60.

However on the 2nd dram I feel that my mouth, tongue, etc. is accustomed to the whisky and I will start putting less water or no water at all. To each its own, I figured.

AVB
04-09-2008, 11:59
Most of the time I'll start out neat for the cask strength ones. If there is a subsequent dram poured then it might see an ice cube or bit of water. Since the highest proof scotches I own are all under 125 proof it doesn't happen too often that they see water. I'll almost always cut Stagg with an ice cube. 144 proof doesn't drink well for me straight up.

Megawatt
04-09-2008, 16:11
I find it interesting that Jim Murray reviews all of his whiskies at full strength. This seems counter-productive for whiskies that truly benefit from the addition of water, like the aforementioned Arran Malt. I also shake my head when people seem to drink cask-strength whiskies undiluted to prove their manliness.

Schpyder
04-09-2008, 16:18
For me, it depends on the state of my mouth. If I've just been lacerating the hell out of it on some especially tough corn chips or something, the higher proof of a cask strength will be noticeably more unpleasant. I've only got three at the moment - The 0612B Glenlivet Nadurra, a Gordon & MacPhail Cask Ardmore from 1990 (bottled 2003), and the 2007 Stagg. I can take the Ardmore and Nadurra neat for an entire dram without any real drama, although I do drink them diluted a bit as well, since it creates a slightly different flavor profile. The Stagg, however, I can only manage about 6-7 small sips of at full strength before my taste buds start to get overwhelmed by the alcohol, and I need to dilute it.

Edit: have some OGD114 too, does that count? I'm not sure what the actual barrel proof on that one is, since there really isn't much verbage on the bottle.

MrClennam
04-13-2008, 10:09
I have several cask strength whiskies. As mentioned earlier by others I too like to take a few sips and sometimes add a LITTLE water, sometimes I drink it through neat. It does depend on my mood as much as my choice for drink at the moment.

The "Cask Strength" does vary wildly, and also effects my current preference.

Regards,

mark

MrAtomic
04-14-2008, 23:44
Well,

I'm quite glad I found this thread.

I'm working my way through my first bottle of A'bunadh (batch 18, I believe) and am finding it a bit perplexing. I enjoy a number of scotch whiskeys, but they all tend towards the peaty/smoky/salty end of the spectrum: Ardbeg 10, Laphroiag 10 and CS, Talisker 10 and 18, and a few Highland Parks, as well. I've also really appreciated some delicate bottles, too: Cragganmore 12 and Glenmorangie 10 stick out in my mind as very gentle but interesting whiskeys (Highland Park 18 rewards slow, thoughtful drinking, too -- I get hints of honey and lavender at times). I have virtually no experience, however, with heavily sherried examples.

At full strength, the A'bunadh tastes very one-dimensional, and as I work my way through a glass, I have trouble teasing out the various flavors that have, up to this point, connoted "scotch" to me. There is a remarkable lack of alcohol burn, though. When I add water to bring down the proof, I am able to make out some familiar tastes (although I'm not experienced enough with scotch to name them), but A'bunadh remains different than anything else I've experienced. I think I can make out what I believe is a bit of sherry in Highland Park 18, but I could be way off.

Of course, I'll continue working my way through the bottle of A'bunadh. I didn't love my first taste -- or even my eighth taste -- of Laphroiag or Ardbeg but they are now two of my favorites, so maybe A'bunadh will also become a go-to bottling. Out of curiosity, though, can anyone recommend a sherry-influenced malt that has the volume turned down a few clicks from A'bunadh? I've heard good things about a number of Glenfarclas bottlings, and Macallan is obviously well-regarded, but I'm a bit gun-shy after my experience with Aberlour.

Thanks.

Megawatt
04-15-2008, 05:45
The Balvenie Doublewood would be a great one to start with.

Gov
04-15-2008, 06:54
There is definately some sherry flavor in the Highland Park 12 and 18. There is a bit of EVERYTHING in those wonderful whiskys!

mitchshrader
04-17-2008, 10:24
I'd make the heartiest recommendation to try Macallan Cask Strength to any Bourbon drinkers that wanted to 'know what it's all about' with non-peated scotch..

It's not afraid of a little water, but no need for it if you're ok with hummingbird sips. Theoretically, it's similar to Aberlour A'bunadh, close to the same proof and age, the bulk of the casks being sherry casks in both cases..

but the difference in taste is significant. The Aberlour is a touch oilier, perhaps slightly smoother, and hasn't any off tastes.. but lacks some toothsome component that leaves the whisky without depth. I suspect it's the barley in part, and possibly that the original spirit is distilled at a higher proof or using a different still type, but the difference is in the original spirit, rather than the aging process.. (*I think*) ..

The comparison was educational, side by side. Blind, with a one CC tasting sample, I gave the Aberlour CS an 86, with a bit of range to both sides for different batches.

I'd put it firmly in the 'middle' shelf bracket, and offer it as a distraction from anything rarer. NOT what i'd give to real friends. The Mac CS is just tastier to start with, and given the huge price increase in the older Macallans, has without fanfare acquired quite a nice bonus on the bang-buck ratio. (IN MY OPINION ;) )

What's funny is the Aberlour 16 is directly competing with Mac 18, and hasn't acquired much of a fan club.. when it does an Amazing job of offering a delicious reason to spend half the money..

And in the Cask Strength versions, the Aberlour charges a premium for its glowing reputation, and the Mac CS seems to be diffidently marketed as the 'poor mans Mac'.. at very reasonable prices.

Try Aberlour 16 & Macallan CS head to head, with their counterparts of the other brand and see if you don't notice the differences. It's as if the publics perception depends on the price.

FWIW, I bought three different batches of the A'Bunadh to taste test, and drank one, swapped one unopened, and gave the opened 2nd one away. Without replacing it.. and I'm scheming on buying Aberlour 16 with glee.

Head to head, Aberlour to Aberlour, there's no contest whatsoever. The CS is well made ethanol with flavoring, the sherry casked 16 is very nearly *great* booze.

MrAtomic
04-21-2008, 23:39
Megawatt, Gov, and Mitchshrader,

Thanks very much. I'll definitely give the Balvenie Doublewood a try. It's available at the local Trader Joe's, where it, along with the Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, and Laphroaig, frequently distracts me on the way to the cash register.

I also want to apologize if I "thread-jacked" this discussion. I now see that there is another thread dedicated to A'bunadh, and it wasn't my intention to change the subject of this one.

Thanks again.

Megawatt
04-22-2008, 10:42
Megawatt, Gov, and Mitchshrader,

Thanks very much. I'll definitely give the Balvenie Doublewood a try. It's available at the local Trader Joe's, where it, along with the Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, and Laphroaig, frequently distracts me on the way to the cash register.

I also want to apologize if I "thread-jacked" this discussion. I now see that there is another thread dedicated to A'bunadh, and it wasn't my intention to change the subject of this one.

Thanks again.

I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Schpyder
04-22-2008, 16:14
I doubt you'll be disappointed.

In the Doublewood?

I sure was. :(

JamesW
05-14-2008, 15:00
Right now the only cask strength scotch I have is the Aberlour a'bunach. While I drink my bourbon neat as a general rule (including the higher proofs like GTS and PH) I'm in the habit of drinking my scotch on ice. Since I've gotten used to drinking bourbon this way, I find the lower proof scotches (usually 80 or 86) to be too dilute in the ice. In fact, the lower proofs cause me to have less enjoyment because I'm always racing to finish the glass before too much ice melts into it.

With the a'bunach, I can take my time knowing that at worse case my scotch will be 80-90 proof by the time the ice melts away and so I can peacefully enjoy it. (In actuality the a'bunach is so tasty that I can barely put it down and end up finishing up fairly quickly anyways http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/icon12.gif)

Gov
05-14-2008, 17:33
Right now the only cask strength scotch I have is the Aberlour a'bunach. While I drink my bourbon neat as a general rule (including the higher proofs like GTS and PH) I'm in the habit of drinking my scotch on ice. Since I've gotten used to drinking bourbon this way, I find the lower proof scotches (usually 80 or 86) to be too dilute in the ice. In fact, the lower proofs cause me to have less enjoyment because I'm always racing to finish the glass before too much ice melts into it.

With the a'bunach, I can take my time knowing that at worse case my scotch will be 80-90 proof by the time the ice melts away and so I can peacefully enjoy it. (In actuality the a'bunach is so tasty that I can barely put it down and end up finishing up fairly quickly anyways http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/icon12.gif)

Please try the scotch without ICE!! If you can do the bourbon without, you can do the scotch.

JamesW
05-14-2008, 20:53
Please try the scotch without ICE!! If you can do the bourbon without, you can do the scotch.

Actually I've been thinking about making the leap. I just got so used to drinking my scotches that way before I became a bourbon drinker that it's almost second nature. Tomorrow I'll continue my scotch exploration neat. Thanks Gov, I guess i just needed the push http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

spun_cookie
05-14-2008, 21:52
yeah... scotch on Ice... bad, bad thing... neat or just a light splash of water to open it up...

... James, I think I need to come over and drink some of your booze as punishment :D

Gov
05-14-2008, 22:12
Thanks Gov, I guess i just needed the push http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

Your welcome! It you have to, like spun cookie said, splash some water in it. Good luck, and enjoy the flavors you have been missing, especially in the A'bunadh

JamesW
05-15-2008, 16:34
yeah... scotch on Ice... bad, bad thing... neat or just a light splash of water to open it up...

... James, I think I need to come over and drink some of your booze as punishment :D

yeah well it seems like we have some very similar tastes in whisk(e)y so you'd definitely feel at home....well sort of, your bar is like a castle while mine's just a mcMansion so you'd be roughing it a bit over here :grin:

spun_cookie
05-15-2008, 16:48
Its like my mom always said, it is what is on the inside that counts...

Iin this case, its what in the bottle :D .... close enough for me

JamesW
05-15-2008, 19:37
As per your recommendations I'm drinking my a'bundach neat with a slight splash of H20. Very nice. Much sweeter this way I must say. Soon I'll be trying the same with my Talisker 18, I'm really looking forward to that one tonight.

shoshani
05-17-2008, 22:36
One of the nicest CS whiskeys I have ever had was a Blackadder bottling of Highland Park, something like 13 years old and bottled completely unfiltered - including a dash of cask sediment.

I like CS expressions in general when a) I can find them and b) I can afford them, because they can be tailored to the situation. Sometimes I find a small sip of it neat is lovely, others I splash just a drop or two of water to break up the oils and release the aromatics. However, I suppose the "big win" is, if you're used to drinking your whiskey at a given proof, it is easy to dilute CS down to that level because it's literally 'whiskey concentrate' in some cases. It also fits in with a philosophy that I've seen expressed by both Pappy Van Winkle and Parker Beam: it makes little sense to bottle and ship water as opposed to whiskey. Obtain it at cask strength and add the water right before drinking; it's more flavorful that way (the subtle aromatics won't have escaped yet) and you've bought whiskey rather than water.

Mitchshrader gave a strong recommendation for Macallan Cask, and it's one I easily second. There is no age statement, and I would tend to believe it falls somewhere between 8-10 years. It is not artificially colored and it is not chill-filtered. It is, however, overwhelmingly inexpensive considering that you can use it as a base to dilute it down to, say, 86 proof. Here in the Chicago area a bottle of Macallan Cask goes for about $70 - less than their older, lower-proof expressions. That's what makes me suspect that the whiskey in that neatly-shaped flask is younger than we might think.