Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Cask Strength vs. not

General chat and talk about whisky.

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 ?
robbi@laurenson.com
New member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Cask Strength vs. not

Postby Willie JJ » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:30 pm

The principle is simple: if you have a cask strength whisky and think it needs water (it seldom does in my opinion) you can put it in. If you have a diluted whisky and think it is overwatered (it usually is in my opinion) then you just have to live with it.

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: )
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

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.
robbi@laurenson.com
New member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:25 pm

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.
User avatar
bredman
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1049
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:56 pm

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.
User avatar
dramtastic
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3476
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:07 am

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.
robbi@laurenson.com
New member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:25 pm

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.
Leorin
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 8:06 pm
Location: Germany

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.
robbi@laurenson.com
New member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:25 pm

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.
Leorin
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 8:06 pm
Location: Germany

Return to Whisky Chat

Whisky gift and present finder