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CASK STRENGTH + WATER = WEAK. WHY?

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CASK STRENGTH + WATER = WEAK. WHY?

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:25 pm

One or two of our 60% cask strength malts are too strong for my wife.

So, I cut them to 40% with a good quality water.

But they always then taste weak and wishy-washy in comparison with malts bottled at 40%.

Why?
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Postby hpulley » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:29 pm

I agree with you and don't know why. Somehow stuff bottled at 40-46% is fine but CS whisky watered down that much just collapses. I too await the answer but thought you would enjoy knowing that you are not alone in this observation.

Harry
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:50 pm

Might be something to do with the fact that you drink it straight away whereas when the distilleries reduce it , it's left to sit in tanks for a while ?
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Postby hpulley » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:52 pm

Will try this in an empty bottle some time! Sounds like an interesting idea.

Harry
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:03 pm

You shouldn't water it down to a predestined strength when enjoying cask strengths.

Sample it first neat, then add small amounts of water until you reach your desired drinking strength. It may vary from time to tima, and from whisky to whisky. Drams like the a'Bunadh are terribly quaffable at nnatural strength while other require water (IMHO).
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:42 pm

It might be that some casks are chosen for cs bottlings just for this reason--they wouldn't stand up to the requisite dilution. That's just shot-in-the-dark speculation.

I agree it would be a worthy experiment to bottle up some diluted cs whisky and put it in a dark closet for a week and see what it's like then. But I'd suggest diluting to no lower than 46%. And definitely use some good bottled (nonchlorinated) water.
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Postby Mickeman » Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:20 pm

I concur with Spirit of Islay that some marriage time MAY make it better.

Most of my CS malts can be watered down to 43-46% without any problems. The biggest exception is Aberlour a'bunadh.

Has sampled six of the a'bunadh batches and none of them has taken well to water. The taste and flavors just seem to thin and dissolve until it tastes just like water with a hint of sherry and orange.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:32 pm

I have to say, that's pretty much what I experience when I water any whisky, and it's why I don't do it much, and never more than a few drops.
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:02 am

Spirit of Shetland said;

You shouldn't water it down to a predestined strength when enjoying cask strengths.

Sample it first neat, then add small amounts of water until you reach your desired drinking strength. It may vary from time to tima, and from whisky to whisky. Drams like the a'Bunadh are terribly quaffable at nnatural strength while other require water (IMHO).


I agree, each cask strength whisky should be treated as an idividual, the amount of water needed (if any) will vary.

As an aside Aberlour a'bunadh is quite drinkable neat.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:40 am

Hi there,

it could just well be that the dilution of whisky is not that easy as it seems.

I tried to copy the tables of the page

http://www.thewhiskystore.de/beginner/mischung.htm

but it did not work.

So please have a look for yourself.


Greetings
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Postby bamber » Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:11 am

I've noticed this also. Macallan 10yo CS and Laphroaig 10yo CS are nothing like their weaker counterparts, when watered down. Ardbeg Very Young can take quite a bit of water IMO.

I must confess I've never tried measuring it exactly - just add half a measure of water to a measure of 60 % whisky (which is exact in this example).

Before I get flamed - this is not how I drink whisky !! I've just done it to see if they're the same. I usually don't add any - except when first tasting a malt and then I might add quite a lot as I find it easier to pick out the flavours. Some CS, whiskies do benifit from a bit IMO, however.

Why ? I can only think that Mr. T is right and the CS whisky used is in someway weaker.
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Postby bamber » Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:27 am

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

it could just well be that the dilution of whisky is not that easy as it seems.

I tried to copy the tables of the page

http://www.thewhiskystore.de/beginner/mischung.htm
(snip)


I checked some of there numbers and they looked ok. If you want to work it out:

Let A = Pc = current percentage, Pt = target percentage, Vs = start volume, Vf, final volume after water added:

Vf = (Pc/Pt) * Vs

So the water to add is just:

Vf - Vs
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Postby Tom » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:12 pm

What most people seem to forget is that diluting any whisky is mainly done for releasing aroma's. The nose will improve, not the taste.
Some Cask Strength whiskies can use some water, totally agree, some even need water because of overpowering alcohol but they all benefit from water for the nosing part. This is something that comes back in almost every masterclass I followed and the speakers seem to be unanimous about it.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:34 pm

It comes down, as all things surely do in whisk(e)y, to personal preference. It could be argued that CS of over 50% ABV are too powerful for the tongue and in fact numb the taste buds thereby distorting the full appreciation of flavour.
Personally I drink CS with a little water, as suggested above, added drop by drop until I like what I taste. I certainly don't use a formula to calculate the "correct" amount as there is no formula for life!

In a lot of ways I prefer CS whisky as I can vary the tatse to suit the/my mood. We all no doubt agree that the same dram can vary from the time it's poured until finished. And whilst we know it's the same whisky we drink each time, 'cause the label tells us so, depending on time of day, surrounding enviromment, what's cooking etc the variations in flavour from one day to the next can be startling.

CS has the advantage of being able to be diluted to suit, but the normal 40%ers ABV can't be increased and there are one or two that may benefit from that.
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Re: CASK STRENGTH + WATER = WEAK. WHY?

Postby BruceCrichton » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:03 pm

eelbrook wrote:One or two of our 60% cask strength malts are too strong for my wife.

So, I cut them to 40% with a good quality water.

But they always then taste weak and wishy-washy in comparison with malts bottled at 40%.

Why?


Ordinary bottlings are chilfiltered and CS bottlings are not.

This could have something to do with it.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:39 am

Ordinary bottlings are chilfiltered and CS bottlings are not.
This could have something to do with it.


I suspect it has a lot to do with it. :)

Cheers,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:18 am

Hmmm...the implication there is that, if you're going to reduce to 40-43%, it's better to chillfilter.
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Postby mbanu » Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:29 am

Could it have anything to do with.... additives?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:25 am

Aside from coloring, additives are verboten. Why coloring should be any different, no one here can guess!
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Postby hpulley » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:12 pm

Perhaps he means that the water will contain minerals which could ruin it?

Once again and quite possibly for good I have sworn off watering my drams. Just ruins it. If it is too strong to take at full strength then I will not buy it.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:23 pm

Hmmm.... In my haste, I assumed mbanu meant additives in the whisky. But I don't think bottled water generally gets any kind of additives, either, with some exceptions.
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Postby hpulley » Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:35 pm

The eau du source does not have additives per se but does have source minerals and the reverse osmosis stuff does have added minerals. People found the pure H2O to be boring.

Harry
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Postby Ize » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:41 am

If you dilute in the glass, IMHO, situation is different from diluting the stuff in the barrel or straight in to the bottle. When you dilute in the glass, I think the long ethereal chains broke in to the smaller parts faster due to affect of oxygen. I suspect, when the diluting is done in closed environment (like in the bottle or barrel) were oxygen is not affecting much this ethereal chain breakage is different and hence the taste. Maybe the ethereal chains have not gone in to that small parts (or the amount is smaller) when diluting is done in the closed environment.
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Cask strength and 40% ABV bottles

Postby corbuso » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:30 am

Depending on the whiskies, the casks selected for the Cask Strength version (CS) and 40-43% regular bottling (RB) are selected on different factors, thus the flavor of a CS reduced to 40-43% will be different.
Also the water plays an important role. Quite a lot of RB are reduced with distilled water and some with the water from the source. Depending on the type of your tapwater/ mineral water, several aspects of the whisky flavours might be modified. I personally prefer to use scottish mineral water (Highland spring or glenlivet-speyside)

Regards


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Postby zhi » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:48 am

perhaps the diluted whisky is returned to the barrels for a period of time for it to settle. it may pick up a bit more flavour during this time.

from what i have read, in france, cognac is usually blended, then returned to the barrels for further aging.

additives could also be a factor. once again, i think a lot of cognacs contain caramel or oak flavoured water. please don't quote me on this. they seem to prefer the colour on the dark side to show off the age.
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 18, 2005 4:29 pm

As I understand it Cognac has loads of caramel, that's just the way it's made.

I also understand that some whiskies are put in a marrying tank for a period to give the whisky time to 'sort it self out' but this is usually done with blends.

"The quailty of water used for final reduction to bottling strength is very important. The town water supply is normally used, but it is usually subjected to a demineralization and carbon and unltraviolet light treatment process at the bottling plant in order to reduce trace anions and cations to a minimum and eliminate the risk of any off odours."

From Whisky Technology, Production and Marketing by Inge Russell.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 18, 2005 4:33 pm

There aren't any off odours here though, little or no odours can be the result of too much water in a cask strength whisky! We're asking why it works well to bottle them properly down to 40-43% but doing it in your own glass seems to do something different.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:07 am

At Bruichladdich, diluted whisky (46%, usually) sits in the tank for no more than a day or three.
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