What Does Cask Strength Whiskey Mean

So what is cask strength whiskey we hear you ask… well, you’ve come to the right place. Since 1780, we’ve been making Irish whiskey we’re proud of, so we’ve learned a thing or two about the process—from single malt to single barrel, how to get a higher proof and what difference sherry casks really make.  


Right here is where you’ll find all the information you need to understand cask strength whiskey like a pro—from what it is and what’s the difference to other whiskeys, alongside how to enjoy it and whether or not you should add water. Once you’ve gained all this new knowledge you can head over here to learn how to drink whiskey like a pro 

What is Cask Strength Whiskey?

Cask strength whiskey is significant in the whiskey world and amongst whiskey enthusiasts. Essentially, this type of whiskey isn’t diluted with water like other whiskeys, it goes straight from the barrel to the bottle, leading to a higher alcohol content and proof percentage. Considering water isn’t added, many who dabble in whiskey say that cask strength retains intensified flavours, so it’s a top choice for those looking for the full whiskey experience.

Cask Strength vs. Normal Whiskey – What’s The Difference?

The alcohol content and proof percentage is the biggest difference between, let’s just say, our Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength and our classic Jameson Irish Whiskey. Our Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength is at the 56.5% mark, while Jameson Irish Whiskey is 40%. The big question we always get at our Distillery Tour is “is cask strength whiskey better?”, and unfortunately for those who want a clear cut answer, our response is always the same… if you like it more, then it’s better. The best whiskeys are the ones you enjoy the most.  


When it comes to the production process of cask strength and normal whiskey, it’s quite similar, the Master Distiller and their team mature the whiskey until they deem it perfect, but with Cask Strength that will be as it is, and for normal whiskey that will mean until the right amount of water is added after maturation. It’s an intricate process, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

How to Enjoy Cask Strength Whiskey?

For many, cask strength whiskey is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, as this allows the full flavour palette to be appreciated and enjoyed, but due to the nature of cask strength whiskey having a higher alcohol content, some find that they prefer it in cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Whiskey Sour 


Just like any whiskey, cask strength whiskey is best enjoyed whatever way you like, but if you need inspiration you can always check out our guides for drinking whiskey neat versus on the rocks and how to drink whiskey like a pro, as these contain all our top tips on the matter. Lastly, the one thing we’d recommend to anyone sitting back and enjoying a glass of whiskey is the right glassware, and these Irish Whiskey glasses get top marks from us.  

Do You Add Water to Cask Strength Whiskey? 

We may have said it before, but we’ll say it again for the people in the back: adding water to whiskey is all about personal taste and preference. While many people agree that adding water to whiskey can open up the flavours and help get a better tasting experience, we always recommend leaving this choice up to your taste palate. Why not give a few options a go—neat, on the rocks, and with a drop of water and see how you prefer it. Read our article on why you should drink whiskey with water to get the lowdown on it.

What’s the Difference Between Barrel Proof and Cask Strength? 

Ah the age old question, what’s the difference between barrel proof and cask strength… well, there aren’t many differences. Both barrel proof and cask strength whiskey follow the same process of being bottled directly after maturation, but the slight difference is that ‘barrel proof’ specifically implies that the whiskey is bottled at the proof reached in the barrel it is aged in and ‘cask strength’ can mean that the alcohol content could be different.  

Why Drink Cask Strength Whiskey?

Now you know the difference between cask strength whiskey and normal whiskey, why should you drink cask strength? For those who really enjoy the intricacies and subtleties of different whiskey, we’d have to say that it’s a really enjoyable experience. From getting a chance to experience the full expression of the spirit, to enjoying the rich and robust flavour profiles, drinking cask strength whiskey gives you an insight into what’s actually going on inside the barrel, and a big plus is that you can dilute the whiskey with water to your own exact taste.  



Embark on a journey of cask strength whiskey with Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength .