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Alcohol percentage and flavour?

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Alcohol percentage and flavour?

Postby Dan G » Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:34 pm

How much difference does the alcohol percentage make at the 40-45% range? I can notice a dramatic difference when I drink at cask strength whicky at about 60%, compared with something bottled at 40%. But is there much discernable difference between a whisky that is bottled at 40%, 43%, or 45%?

My reason for asking is that I was just reading the notes on this site for Longmorn 15 yo. The one that Jackson and Broom tasted was 45%. I just opened a bottle that is 40%. Both of their notes are very vague - sweet being the main focus. But would mine be more sweet than theirs, as theirs has more alcohol? It was very sweet (a bit too much for my taste even).

Also, why do distillers bottle things at different alcohol percentages (other than CS)? Is it just a tax issue, or are they trying to alter flavour?
Dan G
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:32 pm

For some producers a certain ABV (40, 46 or 50 for example) is the ideal strength for their product. Some do it for tax reasons and some do it for chill filtration reasons and then some bottle at different ABV depending on the market. Brucihladdich/Murray McDavid bottle a lot of product at 46% without chillfiltration and Douglas Laing bottle at 50% (generally).
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Postby Dan G » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:51 pm

C_I wrote:40% for a Longmorn? Have they released a new edition, I thought it has been 45% for a long time.
I bought this bottle about 6 or 7 months ago.

I notice quite frequently when reading the notes here or in books that what I can get differs from what they tasted. It seems that a lot of the whiskys sold in Europe at 45% or thereabouts come here (Canada) at 40%.
Dan G
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:20 am

To answer one of your questions (or at least to speculate), if the alcohol is diluted, then so is everything else. However, different people will have different tolerances for the level of alcohol. In fact, most of us will have different tolerances at different times, especially after a long layoff. When I am drinking regularly, cask strength whiskies don't bother me at all. But your individual tolerance for the alcohol (tastewise) will affect your perception of other flavors, I think.
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