Rather than referring to any process the whisky has gone through, cask strength refers to what has not been done. Most whiskies are brought down to a standard percentage of alcohol by volume, or proof, by adding water to the spirit before bottling so that each batch is consistent. However, a cask strength whisky is bottled at the strength at which it’s drawn from the cask – nothing is added, and nothing is taken away.
These whiskies pack a palatable punch. When the clear spirit first goes into the cask, it’s quite singular in flavour – loaded with The Glenlivet’s unique distillery character. Over time, the whisky develops a symbiotic relationship with the oak cask – the liquid seeps into the wood grain as the flavours held in the oak are diffused into the spirit. It’s here that the intense, robust flavours – the hallmarks of a cask strength whisky – are created.
The best way to enjoy a higher-proof whisky is with water. It’s how our distillers drink it, and you should never be afraid to dilute your whisky to suit your personal tastes. Add room-temperature water or an ice cube, whichever you prefer – just be careful not to over-dilute. Add the water little by little, tasting the whisky after each addition. You’ll notice subtle changes to the taste as different tones and flavours are released, bringing out the complexities in the spirit.
The Glenlivet Nàdurra range is the perfect place to start your cask strength whisky explorations. Nàdurra means “natural” in Gaelic, and the range is all about an unadulterated whisky experience. All you need is some ice and water, and your journey can begin.