As my time drinking malts has increased, my taste has changed to not
only appreciate cask strength malts (at first I couldn't handle them),
but to strongly prefer them. For example, two of my current favorites
are Laphroig CS and Aberlour A'bunadh. I know these are exceptional
malts, but according to my taste, they sink their respective
competition. I can't figure out if this is because they are actually
superior malts or if I have simply developed a preference for CS
strength. Thoughts? Recommendations for other CS malts?
skrev i melding
I seem to have developed the same general preference.
I haven't seen it elsewhere, but Phil Cousins wrote the following in
"Anything with a strength of over about 47%
by volume won't have been chill filtered because at that strength even when
chilled the esters remain in solution and can't be filtered out. So
generally cask strength whisky isn't chill filtered."
If he's right, then this may have at least something to do with it?
I know that Laphroaig CS - one of my favourites - is explicitly
Anyway, comparing Laphroaig 10 yo CS with the 10 yo 40% abv, I find them so
qualitatively different - even when diluting the CS - that I am sure it
can't be the same whisky at different strength. They probably select casks
specially for the CS.
The Aberlour A'bunadh is a great dram. I haven't had very many Cask Strength
whiskys, but if you like A'bunadh, you may also enjoy the Glenfarclas 105.
And if you like the Laphroaig CS, you will probably appreciate the Lagavulin
Special Release 2002 CS. Personally I loved it, but it's quite pricy,
though. On the cheaper side is Caol Ila CS, also a good dram, but not quite
in the same league as the above mentioned. And how about Ardbeg Uigeadail, I
haven't tried it myself, but it's on my wish-list, I see it is generally
very highly regarded. My own next CS will be the Springbank 10 yo 100 proof,
which I'm looking forward to pick up in about a week from now.
I'm with you guys. The first CS whiskey I tried was Macallan a few years
back. I hardly enjoyed it to say the least. Since I've started drinking a
lot of Bourbon, which tends to have a higher proof, I can handle the CS
scotches a lot easier.
I have Laphroaig and A'bunadh and enjoy both immensely. Looking forward to
my next venture.
Cask strength is the way to go. I have a hard time getting enthusiastic
about anything diluted to 40 - 43%.
You can always add water if you want, but you can never take it out once
someone else has put it in.
I am always on the lookout for those rare cask strength bottlings where the
alcohol has evaporated naturally to well below 50%.
That takes the edge off the alcohol burn, without diluting the flavour
Cask strength come in all kinds of alcohol percentages.
standard filling strength is around 63% but some are put in the cask at the
natural strength from the spirit receiver which is normally around 70%. That
explains the gretaer than 60 cask strengtsh I think
Some casks loose a lot relatively fast. I know of an Ardnbeg 8-10y at around
48% (great whisky)
I have a Bruichladdich smws 15y at the same strength
some really old cask strength are at 40%
I agree on Al, that cask strength with a low alcohol percentage often are
some of the greatest whiskies for exactly the same reasons he mentions
If you have to add water to standard strength whiskies I think you should
for time being avoid any 60+ ones at least. Heck it took me years to cope
with those and I still have probems now and again
Coming off the stills, new spirit can be 70+ %, but is usually diluted to
63.5% for maturation. I have heard half a dozen plausible stories as to why
this number was chosen, but will let that pass here. 63.5% is pretty the
industry standard, except for a period in the late 70's - early 80's when
there as a significant shortage of casks. Some distillers made up for it was
by storing whisky at full strength. This explains why some 25-30 lear old
whiskies maintain an unusually high abv.
I have no problem with people watering their whisky. If I can get it cask
strength and others can water it down to their taste, that is a good
situation all around. But like I said, you can't take water out once it's
been put in.
I tried both my Laphroaig CS and Aberlour A'bunadh last night after I read
through these posts. The Aberlour has a very nice "red wine" nose to it and
the taste isn't bad as well, very smooth.
However, the Laphroaig is super pungent and I loved every sip. I will
always make sure I have a bottle of this around.
I tend to prefer one-off CS malts rather than regular distillery malts, just
one of my little peccadilloes. On the subject of water in CS malts, I
nearly always taste the malt as it comes, and enjoy the flavours, and then a
little Scottish spring water, and only Scottish spring water (The water I
use is Highland Spring which I believe is the same water as used in the
distillation of Tullibardine whisky). This gives, sometimes, a whole range
of flavours to savour. And each bottle tends to be at its best with a
differing amount of water.
I am enjoying currently a bottle of 23yo 61.3% bottle of Glenury Royal from
the rare Malt Selection. This was distilled in 1971 and bottled in 1994.