The Difference Between Cask Strength Whisky and Bottling Strength Whisky

let’s begin

Have you ever picked up a cask strength whisky and thought, what does that even mean?

Well you’re definitely not the only one. I’m sure a lot of you have long wondered at what exactly “cask strength whisky” means. But fear not, for Great Drams is here to clear all your cask strength whisky woes!

What is Cask Strength?

Cask strength whisky is exactly what it says on the tin. It is Whisky that has been taken straight from the cask and put into the bottle, with no water added.

This means it has a higher alcohol level than bottling strength and will typically be around 55-75%, whereas bottling strength is more likely to be 40-55%.

What is Bottling Strength?

To clear things up even further, let’s just define bottling strength as well.

This is when Whisky is taken from the cask and diluted with water. The quality of the water will play a big part in the finished product of course. This is why so many distilleries, especially Scotch distilleries, will put an emphasis on where their water is sourced.

The Nitty Gritty

Cask strength doesn’t just indicate a higher level of alcohol, it is also more likely to be found on premium bottles in the higher price range.

This is because it is costlier to produce. Bottling straight from the cask means less Whisky can be made.

However, despite the price range, buying cask strength allows you to explore more of the flavours within a dram.

Either through tasting it neat or by adding a drop or two of your own water, you can unlock a few more tasting notes from cask strength Whisky.

So what’s the catch?

Well the only downside to a malt that is cask strength, except for the price tag, is that the alcohol can sometimes be quite overpowering.

To avoid this, it is best to mix cask strength drams with a little water, especially if you’re new to the tasting game. This in itself should unlock more flavours.

On the other hand, it definitely gives you an excuse to get out and buy some cask strength whisky to start experimenting with!

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat!

Tags: Bottling StrengthCask StrengthdramsWhisky
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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