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Cask Strength vs. not

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Cask Strength vs. not

Postby robbi@laurenson.com » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:42 pm

I'm starting to suspect that cask strength whiskies appeal to me more than dilute versions.

I just picked up a CI NCS as my 12 is dangerously low, and wow, the difference is remarkable. It's fantastic, full, smoky, sweet and surging. I also recently opened a Laga 12 CS and that too is head and shoulders above the 16 with a glorious power and depth. My first single malt purchase a scant 6 months ago was an Auchentoshan at cask strength and that I also really liked, despite the lukewarm ratings. There seems to be a pattern here...

As I'm relatively new to single malts, I'm curious as to whether this is part of the palate maturation process, where a more direct, powerful but perhaps less complex whisky appeals more? Or are they really just better :P ?
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby robbi@laurenson.com » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:56 pm

I notice on both the Laga 12 and Laphroiag 10 CS batch #001 the recommendation is to add two parts water to one part whisky...this seems kind of extreme. I prefer not to add water at all, but I can understand bringing it into the 40's abv based on personal preference. 2:1 is something like 20% abv, which I think destroys the whisky (I tried it with a small amount).

Very odd, I don't really understand why they would do this.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby bredman » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:06 am

Willie JJ wrote:Cask strength is always best in my opinion, if only because the drinker and not the vendor chooses how the drink is drunk. (But they just are better anyway :wink: )

I'm in full agreement with Willie. CS whiskies are more preferable every time. I rarely add water, in fact i don't remember the last time i did. Out of the last 26 bottles i bought only 3 were below 45% and 14 were over 55%. I also find with CS i encounter E150 less often, which is a bonus imo.
robbi@laurenson.com wrote:I notice on both the Laga 12 and Laphroiag 10 CS batch #001 the recommendation is to add two parts water to one part whisky

Whoever is doing this should stop.
robbi@laurenson.com wrote:As I'm relatively new to single malts, I'm curious as to whether this is part of the palate maturation process, where a more direct, powerful but perhaps less complex whisky appeals more? Or are they really just better :P ?

Yes...and yes. Many experienced drinkers will add a few drops of water to each drink regardless of strength - often with a pipette - to open up the flavours a little, i choose not to.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby dramtastic » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:01 am

If I had to choose, I'd take CS. Fortunately I don't have to choose.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby robbi@laurenson.com » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:27 am

Good point, I don't want to establish an arbitrary principle dictating what I buy.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby Leorin » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:37 am

Well, I think there are a few good whiskies that are bottled at only 40% vol. (Redbreast 12) or 43% (HP 18, Laphroaig 15 & 30) and there are quite a lot of good 46%-expressions (Ardbeg 10 & ANB, Talisker 10 & 18, Springbanks, ...).
Having said that I must say that CS is the real thing. Round about 80% of the bottles I own (more than 400 all together) are bottled at cask strengh. This is remarkable because I never buy a bottle just because it is bottled at high strenght but always because I think or hope that the whisky will be good quality. Well it seems that quality and natural strenght somehow correlate for me.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby robbi@laurenson.com » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:32 pm

One could propose that the opposite might also be true: a cask which is rather raw might need some dilution to reduce the harshness, whereas a quality cask might be bottled at natural strength without risking a resemblance to paint thinners.

The dilution might even be a sort of buffer, allowing harsher stock to be tamed in the blending and better stock used to achieve the specific abv. and flavour profile.
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Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby Leorin » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:48 pm

As Willi already pointed out it is very easy to dilute a C.S.-Malt but it is impossibe to beef a diluted malt up to cask strenght again.
Thoughn some years ago when I was a poor student I used buy black botte and boost it with a wee draught of Laphroaig CS.
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