Is Cask Strength the Best Way To Buy Whiskey?

Is Cask Strength the Best Way To Buy Whiskey?

Is cask strength whiskey the best whiskey? Seems like a question most people you’d ask would answer “Yes!” to right away. There’s quite a bit to consider here, however. The vast majority of whiskey bottled by distillers is watered down to 40% abv/ 80 proof. Legally to be called whiskey, you have to be at least 80 proof. (There is an allowance of three tenths of a degree for loss of proof during bottling, but anything lower than that must be labeled “diluted whiskey”.) Whiskeys go into a cask/barrel at no more than 125 proof, so most cask strengths are going to be near that (60-65% alcohol) when bottled. Barrels, depending on where they are stored in a warehouse, may loose alcohol (or water) and volume to the angel’s share which alters their original barreling...

The Taft Decision

The Taft Decision

Did you know that President Taft is responsible for defining “what is whiskey?” E.H. Taylor with the help of John G. Carlisle, then the Secretary of the Treasury, enabled the passing of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 to help eliminate the widespread adulteration of whiskey. In 1906, during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. This caused arguments between the two big whiskey producing factions, however. Harvey Wiley, the chief of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Chemistry and a leader in passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act, believed that whiskey was a distilled spirit from grain that was aged in oak barrels with only pure water used to adjust the proof. The rectifiers, those whiskey producers...