Whisky is usually diluted with water before it’s bottled, following distillation and maturation in casks. Cask strength, scandalously, hits the bottle straight from the casks.
Cask strength Whisky is also non-chill filtered, a process which usually removes chemical compounds following maturation. That's why cask strength Whisky can go a bit cloudy, which is perfectly natural, and why some people love it – it’s not missing anything.
Cask strength means high alcohol
Barrel strength and overproof are two more expressions of the strength of the liquid. Historically, alcohol was ‘proofed’ by mixing it with gunpowder. If the alcohol content was over 50%, the gunpowder would ignite and seamen would happily accept their overproofed Rum. ABV is usually half the overproof figure, thus 100 proof is 50% ABV.
There's more Whisky in the bottle
Why drink Cask Strength Whisky?
Cask marries malt, and this stuff is your front row ticket to their honeymoon.
Cask strength Whisky also gives the drinker an opportunity to play the blender. Do with the untouched dram what you will. Some people choose to add their preferred level of water, whilst others take it straight to their tongue.
Many people argue that adding water is futile and fails to enhance the palate, whilst other tasters maintain a drop of water can release the Whisky’s expressions and give it an even more distinctive nose. At the end of the day, it’s a case of personal preference and the most common use of water is to make a strong spirit more drinkable. However, a good compromise is to drop one small ice cube.
Cask strength Whisky brands
However, Redbreast 12 is a rare Irish cask strength Whiskey, and you can also get cask strength Gin, Rum, Cognac and Bourbon.
Did you have a chance to taste a Whisky bottled straight from the barrel?
What's your verdict?