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Proofing Whiskey 101

Last month’s Whiskey Club was undoubtedly the highlight of my month. As always, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was full of life. But the star of the show was the exceptional whiskey. We were encouraged to broaden our horizons and try whiskeys from different locales, including Japan, Ireland, Scotland and America.

The evening's highlight was sampling six distinct whiskeys: Masahiro Malt Whiskey, Tenjaku Pure Malt Whiskey, Fercullen Falls Small Batch Irish Whiskey, Tomatin 12yr Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey, and Woodford Reserve Malt Whiskey. The six whiskeys from different regions with different flavor profiles were equally delicious and I was impressed.

After learning from our discussion that bourbon manufacturers aim to preserve their grain recipe's flavors, I decided to do a bit of research. I was surprised to learn that alcohol proof–a unit of measurement used to determine the amount of alcohol in alcoholic beverages–is an essential component of a whiskey's flavor profile.

Proofing whiskey is the act of diluting a batch of distilled whiskey with water to achieve a specific alcohol by volume (ABV). In the United States, alcohol proof is defined as being double the amount of alcohol by volume. For example, if a bottle of whiskey is 80 proof, 40% of the liquid is alcohol. The higher the alcohol proof, the stronger the drink.

It's commonly believed that high alcohol levels equate to an overpowering taste and aroma. However, when it comes to whiskey, high alcohol levels do not always lead to these results. In fact, higher alcohol content can enhance the drink's flavor profile, this creates spirits labeled as, "cask strength," "barrel proof" or "full proof," containing less water and retaining a more authentic whiskey flavor that can be lost at lower alcohol levels.

Despite their high proof, elite cask-strength whiskeys are meant to be savored since they can still deliver delicate flavors. By trying a whiskey with minimal added water, one can experience the spirit in its purest form, straight from the cask.

The next Whiskey Club is April 17th! Tickets are selling fast so get yours today!

On April 14th, Dive Bar is throwing a patio launch party featuring three local bands to get you moving. Jim Quisenberry will be joining us for happy hour from 5-7PM. Emma and Bella of The Burney Sisters will perform a one-hour set from 8-9PM, followed by Meredith Shaw to close out the night. As always, there is no cover fee at the Dive Bar. Don't miss out on the fun!

Until next time - cheers!

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