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

Is this a naive question?

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Is this a naive question?

Postby Bulkington » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:31 am

I live in the states. I have a bottle of Springbank 100 proof. The Springbank website and the Maltmaniacs Matrix say it's 57% abv but my bottle says 50% abv., which I'd always assumed anyway, given that one deetermines the proof by doubling the abv %, right? A friend prompted me to look into this after insisting that the 100 proof was 57% where I thought it was 50%, because, he said he was pretty sure he'd read somewhere, the proof of a liquor is determined differently in Britain. So: is the 100 proof diluted for the American market to avoid litigious confusion rather than their marketing being adjusted for a Springbank 114 proof to avoid the same? The former % suggests cask strength, the latter not, though stronger than usual all the same. Surely it can't be the abv determination that varies. This is the only deiscrepancy I've noticed. What am I missing?

Thanks.
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby Badmonkey » Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:38 am

I can't answer your substantive question, Bulkington. But I can certainly tell you that your question isn't naive. We're all here to learn more about whisky and share what we know, so I don't think you should ever hesitate to throw questions out to the forum. Sooner or later, you are likely to get the answer you want.

By the way, welcome to the forum.

Cheers
Badmonkey
Gold Member
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Postby kallaskander » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:25 am

Hi there,

the British proof system is different from the American.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_proof

http://www.sizes.com/units/proof_alcoholic.htm

Hope this helps.

A late welcome and

Greetings
kallaskander
kallaskander
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Heddesheim, Germany

Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:17 am

Springbank 100 proof is 57.2% in Britain. The British proof is 1.75 times the abv while the American is simply double the abv.
BruceCrichton
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1274
Joined: Mon May 07, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Falkirk, Stirlingshire, United Kingdom

Postby Bulkington » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:57 pm

Okay, but if it's the determination of proof that differs, and not the determination of abv, doesn't the problem remain? Springbank 100 proof in the states is 100 proof in the states, that is, 50% abv, as it says on the bottle. Did Springbank deem "100 Proof" signature enough an expression to prefer to dilute it from 57% to 50% abv for the American market rather than alter the marketing power of the label? What am I missing?
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby Ardbeg311 » Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:49 pm

I am not completely sure about all this, but my guess is that in order for Springbank to market a bottle that is labeled "100 Proof" then it must reflect the legal definition of that in the country to which they are shipping. When selling it in the States they probably have to bottle it at 50%, while in England they must bottle it at 57%. If they tried selling the same 57% bottle in the States then they might legally have to call it something else such as "The UK 100 Proof" or "At Least 100 Proof". I think Springbank wants to save the label 100 Proof and so needed to make the adjustments. In this light I am not sure you are missing anything.
Ardbeg311
Gold Member
 
Posts: 614
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:36 am
Location: Roma, Italia

Postby Lawrence » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:11 pm

Bulkington wrote:. Did Springbank deem "100 Proof" signature enough an expression to prefer to dilute it from 57% to 50% abv for the American market rather than alter the marketing power of the label?


Missing? Nothing, two different bottlings, one for the North American market and one for the rest of mankind.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby Bulkington » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:19 pm

Well I'm not sure what to make of that. First and foremost I'm surprised this isn't more remarked upon, but secondly, while I feel kind of cheated in the wake of this revelation, I'm not sure I should. I tend to find cask strength bottlings a bit much, and prefer not to add water, so maybe Springbank is providing me with something I might wish I could aquire but couldn't if I were in the UK.
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 21, 2006 3:34 am

Well, it's just higher proof whisky with more water to make it lower proof whisky. I have not been overly impressed with either, I think there are better Springbanks on the market but will try at least one of the 'proof' versions again.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:07 pm

Bulkington wrote:Well I'm not sure what to make of that. First and foremost I'm surprised this isn't more remarked upon, but secondly, while I feel kind of cheated in the wake of this revelation, I'm not sure I should. I tend to find cask strength bottlings a bit much, and prefer not to add water, so maybe Springbank is providing me with something I might wish I could aquire but couldn't if I were in the UK.



This happens regularly with other bottles too due to local laws, regulations or customs so but don't feel cheated. What counts is the taste and if you like it then you have lost nothing. In Ireland alcohol is taxed by abv so years ago when we were being sold Jameon at 40% the rest o the world was getting it at 43%. I think it is all sold at 40% abv now though.
User avatar
irishwhiskeychaser
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3644
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:27 pm
Location: Galway, Ireland

Postby Marvin » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:10 pm

Why do the americans have a different proof system? It seems completely pointless!
Marvin
Silver Member
 
Posts: 277
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:47 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Postby Bulkington » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:23 pm

Well it's interesting to note the the Glenfarclas 105 hasn't been diluted here simply because the number isn't an explicit proof claim to Americans.

Springbank must have had to weigh the costs: significantly change the label, product identity, and marketing of the 100 Proof for the North American market (thus probably also generating unwanted product confusion: "why do you offer this in the UK and not in the US?"; "Why do you offer this in the US and not in the UK?") or prepare a different bottling and change the label only to reflect the reduced abv%. I suppose the latter makes more sense: consistent product identity while the abv discrepancy slips under most drinkers' radars.
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby Marvin » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:35 pm

Do americans look at the proof more than the abv%? I always look at the %, it's an easier to quantify value.
Marvin
Silver Member
 
Posts: 277
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:47 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Postby Bulkington » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:36 pm

Lawrence (et al.),

What other expressions do you prefer? I'm fairly new to single malts, so I haven't experienced for myself the Springbank decline I keep reading about. The only Springbank I've tried and been disappointed with (particularly relative to the others) is the Springbank 10. I've yet to try the 15; the older expressions are way out of my price range. I like the 100 Proof, as I've said; I've also acquired a bottle of the 175th anniversary bottling and of the 12 yr (I think) bourbon cask, both of which are my prefered expressions so far.... And I've had the Longrow 10, which I also like.
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby BruceCrichton » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:38 pm

Bulkington wrote:Lawrence (et al.),

What other expressions do you prefer? I'm fairly new to single malts, so I haven't experienced for myself the Springbank decline I keep reading about. .


Where did you read that Springbank was in decline?
BruceCrichton
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1274
Joined: Mon May 07, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Falkirk, Stirlingshire, United Kingdom

Postby Di Blasi » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:41 am

I think I recently heard Springbank was in decline 10 or so years ago. I think they're okay now though, a bit expensive, but then again, they're only one of a handful that does everything themselves.
Di Blasi
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3741
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:16 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:04 am

I don't think Springbank is in decline but their malts today are not what they were 10 years ago. At that time they 'bulked' up bottlings with much older whiskies which many ex-employees freely talk about (John MacDougal etc). In any case the whiskies of today are still very good and I really like the 15 year old.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:09 am

Ah, you beat me to it Lawrence :) :

I've heard from others in this forum that some time ago Springbank expressions benefitted from the use of older whisky in their single malts.
Now, I haven't tasted any older Sprinbanks partly due to the rarity but also the price you have to pay for older 21yo etc.
However, the present 10yo 100 Proof is in my opinion a very good single malt and has a certain "sour" smoke character I have only detected in Port Ellens before. My speculation is that it could have something to do with the "manual" peating process as opposed to the fully automatic/mechanised you see in Port Ellen Maltings today.

I feel it's a bit unfair to suggest that Sprinbank is a bad or not top notch single malt. True, it may not taste as it used to but it is objectively not worse than any other iconic single malt in the market. If your preferences include a big explosive mouthfeel then the 100 Proof will do nicely. And I'd say they're worth the money too.
Mr Fjeld
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4249
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:08 pm

Postby Bulkington » Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:46 pm

On the Springbank decline, there's this:

http://www.maltmadness.com/mm14.html#14-06

Otherwise I think I've just read comments here and there in the same vein.

Looking forward to trying the 15; will be getting a bottle of the Longrow 100 Proof soon. I think I prefer bourbon aging to sherry, and the Springbank and Longrow 100 Proofs, I believe, are matured in all bourbon casks.

Thanks for the comments.

-b
Bulkington
Silver Member
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:52 pm

Remember that for a while Springbank was not operating at full capacity. I visited in 2000 or 2001 and warehouse #3 was almost completely empty of stock, a few odd casks lying around. It's taken them a while to build up stocks again. They are an independant company so they have to rely on their own resources, I think they are to be commended for staying the course for so long. I know we will be seeing a lot more of the quirky Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn not to mention the newest edition Glengyle/Kilkerran.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Thanks!!

Postby Jacques » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:29 pm

I do really have to thank kallaskander as his advise on where to read about the proof helped alot... keep learning everyday on this Forum... Thank you all.... it is very professional, glad I came about you all...
Jacques
New member
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:37 pm
Location: Caracas, Venezuela

Return to Questions & Answers

cron

Whisky gift and present finder