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Thread: Cask Strength

  1. #11
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    Re: Cask Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Khari View Post
    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.
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

  2. #12
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.

  3. #13
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.

  4. #14
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.
    Illuminati in training

  5. #15
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.

  6. #16
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.

  7. #17
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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
    Last edited by MrClennam; 04-13-2008 at 09:12.

  8. #18
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    Re: Cask Strength

    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.

  9. #19
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    Re: Cask Strength

    The Balvenie Doublewood would be a great one to start with.

  10. #20
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    Re: Cask Strength

    There is definately some sherry flavor in the Highland Park 12 and 18. There is a bit of EVERYTHING in those wonderful whiskys!

 

 

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