I much prefer cask strength whiskies or at least 46% UCF! Sometimes I wonder if it is the chill filtering that really kills it? 3% ABV should not even be noticable but comparing some like last night's CF Laga 16yo 43% to UCF Auld Reekie 12yo 46%, the latter was much more flavorful and vibrant. Another example of sister casks of Bladnoch recently, one at 43% CF and the other at 56.1% CS (and obviously UCF) which was, as Wendy put it, like the 43% one "on steriods".
That said, I do buy some regular strength whiskies too when I must and some are still enjoyable even at 40-43% so I had to check the 2nd option above. I live in Canada where beggars can't always be choosers. The other night I chose to buy Laga 16 when I could have got the CS as people were commenting about the Laga 16 no longer being satisfying. From the first taste of it I'd say so far that they're right, it is no longer the great Laaaagaaaaavuuuuuliiiiiiiiinnnn that it once was but to reiterate my own and Mr. T's theories it is more likely the fact that you couldn't get a cask strength islay in Canada at all
In fact, at the time I remember preferring 43% to 40%
46% UCF was a revelation when it hit our shores. I don't think I had a cask strength whisky until I joined An Quaich which had one every month or two for us to sample.