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With releases from distilleries such as Arran, Lagavulin and Bowmore, Drinksupermarket.com have a wonderful selection of Cask Strength whiskies, available to buy online.
Cask Strength (or barrel proof as it is sometimes called) is a term used in the whisky trade to describe the level of alcohol by volume(ABV) strength that is used for a whisky during its storage in a cask maturation - typically in the range of 60-65% abv.
Most whiskies are diluted with spring water to soften it and reduce the strength, making it often more palatable and more cost effective. With an average ABV of 40%, which is often the statutory maximum for some countries, and minimum for others, this becomes the standard level for most whiskies.The degree of dilution is said to bring out different flavours of the whisky, which can affect the decisions of the producers regarding the concentration they select for the bottling of their various brands.
Cask strength whiskies are often sold as a premium product on today's market, as cask strength whisky is more expensive to produce and less palatable to casual consumers than diluted whisky. Such whiskies are usually older as well, as the whisky develops flavours coming from the long marriage of cask and liquor, to the extent that substantial ageing is demanded by the more sophisticated premium-market consumers.
Sometimes bottlers dilute even cask strength bottling, but to a lesser degree, such as to 60% abv. This avoids the need to reprint the labels – which, in some jurisdictions such as the EU, must state the exact alcohol level – due to different barrels containing whisky at different strengths.