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40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

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40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

Postby mgordo2 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:35 am

I'm a relative single malt novice. Many single malts available in the US are released at 43% ABV. Yet it seems the distilleries release similar malts in the EU at 40% ABV. Question #1: Why the difference? Question #2: Are the tasting notes/user reviews based on the 40% releases reliable guides to the 43% versions?
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Re: 40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

Postby AdamMY » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:49 am

I'll start by answering Question 2, because I am not too sure on an answer for question 1. For the most part yes, reviews of the whisky bottled at 40% and at 43% should be similar, but having dealt with my self dilution of cask strength whiskies a little bit, while a lot of similar flavor waves are there from diluting the whisky bit by bit, how they present themselves can change. Such as fruit notes can change fruits, what could definitely be a pineapple, when diluted a bit more can loose the stronger acidic notes and turn into a slight tartness that you can find in a regular apple.
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Re: 40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

Postby nash60975 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:29 am

I agree with Adam regarding the second question. In response to the first one, I think it ultimately depends on the producer and the type of product they're hoping to introduce in to the marketplace. 40% has been a standard for many expressions for a long time, but a shift has occurred where distilleries and independent bottlers are releasing at 43%, 46%, and many even at cask strength. As Adam was referring to, this provides the opportunity for the drinker to have control over which strength they would like their dram to be. In my opinion, as more enthusiasts get excited about things like unchillfiltered and barrel strength products, distilleries will be more open to release bottles that aren't the old, standard smooth 40%. In regards to the EU vs. the states, I'm not sure since I don't have access to European releases, but I end up seeing a huge variability in ABVs across the U.S. when I'm exploring.
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Re: 40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

Postby dramtastic » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:17 am

Not so sure about about some of that. In an attempt to make whiskys more palatable/saleable to the average drinker distilleries are just as likely to drop the abv from 43 to 40% ala Laphroaig 10YO. Get a taste at 40% and then maybe move up to higher % when the palate gets used to it. Give straight whisky to a person who is used to mixed spirits/wines/beers and most likely all they will taste is pure alcohol at first.
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Re: 40% ABV vs. 43% ABV

Postby richard » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:46 am

if i remember correctly 43% was classified as normal export strength when it first come out so as to differentiate between the 40% which was the norm since then we have seen may changes to bottle strengths say brucladdich at 46% there normal strength

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