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8 Cask Strength Whiskies to Keep You Warm This Winter

8 Cask Strength Whiskies to Keep You Warm This Winter

Call it cask strength, barrel proof or overproof, there’s always a case to be made for a good, high proof whiskey. It gives you the opportunity to taste the spirit as if it had just come out of the barrel, because it pretty much did. Whether you’re curling up in front of a roaring fire with a good book in one hand and a glass of the good stuff in the other, or mixing up potent drinks for friends, these are the 8 best cask strength whiskies to keep you warm this winter.

1792 Full Proof

Despite the fact that it’s 125 proof, which makes it higher than some of the other cask strength or barrel proof whiskey on this list, 1792 Full Proof (aka 1792 Ridgemont Reserve until recently) isn’t technically cask strength because it’s watered down a little to hit that number. We’d argue semantics with you because the proof is adjusted so it can be bottled at the 125 barrel entry proof, but the important thing is that it shares many characteristics with the other cask/barrel strength whiskies you love. It’s strong, deep, heavy and distinct. It packs a punch in both the flavor and heat departments.  It’s delicious neat, up or on the rocks. Most importantly, 1792 Full Proof is the boozy base that will separate an average old-fashioned from something truly remarkable. $45

Spade & Bushel 10 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Irish Whiskey

As the feverish rise of Irish whiskey shows no signs of slowing, it should come as no surprise that there are a few options in the barrel/cask strength department. We like Slade & Bushel 10 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Irish Whiskey (57.5%) because it takes all the traditional Irish whiskey characteristics we love and kicks them up a notch. With spices and baked goods throughout the aroma, flavor and finish departments, this is a cask strength Irish whiskey that pairs perfectly with a cigar. $48

Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof

The iconic George T. Stagg–gem of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection that’s damn near impossible to find and prohibitively expensive on the secondary market unless you swim in gold doubloons–has a baby brother in Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof that more than lives up to the name on the bottle. Clocking in with a reported proof between 128 and 134 depending on bottling, this is a whiskey that packs a punch in the heat department much like its more mature brother. But even with the aggressive bite, the full body and long, heavy finish make it a great winter whiskey–especially in a cocktail. $60

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon

Whether it’s the shitty dive down the street, the latest “it” spot, or your average chain sports bar, it’s a safe bet you can walk in and get a drink with Maker’s Mark. The familiar favorite you’ve come to know and love is also available in a 108 to 114 proof cask strength version that amps up Maker’s signature flavors without compromising the balance you expect. Short of drinking Maker’s Mark directly from the barrel, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon is the closest you’re going to get to that experience. $63

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength

There’s a reason Four Roses has won almost every award out there and is a beloved stalwart amongst connoisseurs everywhere–it’s delicious bourbon that never disappoints. While we love every release from the distillery, Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength is one of our all-time favorite bottles and a member of our Whiskey Bucket List. This award-winning, limited bottling varies from year to year in terms of age and taste, but it consistently delivers with a full-bodied, complex and surprisingly smooth finish. If you find any expressions on the market, buy them. You’ll thank us later. $85

Clyde May’s Cask Strength 8 Year Old Alabama Style Whiskey

Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey, aka Conecuh Ridge Whiskey, aka moonshine, was produced illegally in Alabama during the mid to late 20th century. Since then, the brand has been legalized, it’s been designated the official State Spirit of Alabama by legislative resolution and after the necessary people went to jail. It’s essentially outlaw whiskey that’s been aged for 8 years in charred oak casks with dried apples (Clyde May himself called it Alabama style) before being bottled at 117 proof. If the bartender at your fancy ass cocktail joint hasn’t introduced you to this delightful nectar yet, it’s time to find some place else to drink. $87

Aberlour A’bunadh Single Malt Cask Strength Scotch Whisky

Regardless of how you choose to spell whiskey, or where you’re getting your recommendations, Aberlour A’bunadh Highland Single Malt Cask Strength Scotch Whisky is a bottle that belongs in your collection because it’s as nuanced as its name is long. Meaning ‘the original’ in Gaelic, A’bunadh is an homage to Aberlour’s founder, James Fleming, that’s specially crafted without modern processes before being finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks to create a decadent dram that’s filled with notes of exotic spices, fruits and oak. $99

Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Rye

The real difference between bourbon and rye is the fact that the mash bill, by law, has to contain at least 51% rye. But ask your one friend that swears by rye over every other whiskey when it comes to sipping or cocktails what the difference is, and you’ll get a laundry list of important distinctions like spiciness, fruitiness and body. If you don’t share that viewpoint, the 108 to 110.8 proof Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye with it’s notes of vanilla, caramel and spice–along with its big, toasty and fruity profile–will make you change the way you think about think about good whiskey.