Weighing in at a fierce 63%, allow us to introduce you to Upshot’s beastly big brother, the Upshot Cask Strength. The fourth instalment of our Upshot line, this cask strength is packed full of intense flavour, yet remains surprisingly easy to drink for its ABV. Despite being a majority corn spirit, this whiskey has proven to find appeal amongst even the most steadfast single malt drinkers. It redefines many preconceived notions of how a whiskey made predominantly of corn should taste, and is uncharacteristically smooth compared to many other cask strength spirits.
Making Upshot Cask Strength
No distillery would be complete without a cask strength spirit in their repertoire. Simply put, cask strength (also known as barrel proof or barrel strength), refers to the unaltered percentage/proof of the spirit as it’s drawn from the cask. Normally, when a whiskey is removed from the cask, it is watered down to a lower percentage before bottling. This is done to bring the spirit to the distiller’s desired taste and intensity. Typically, a whiskey starts at a cask strength ranging from 52-66% ABV, before being diluted to an average of 40-46% ABV.
Traditionally, a whiskey like Upshot would be the diluted version of a whiskey like Upshot Cask Strength, however, this is not the case in this instance. One downside to living in our warm Mediterranean climate is that our increase in temperature also results in a higher angels’ share (evaporation). To make matters worse, the higher the ABV, the greater share the angels take. Our boozy, bogan angels take a generous 12-15% of our cask strength.
To mitigate this loss, we actually place Upshot in the barrel at 43% – the same percentage it is bottled at, resulting in a loss of only 5%. Whilst this may sound minimal, it is significantly more than the average 1-2% lost in cooler climates like Scotland. By definition, this would make Upshot a cask strength spirit. However, no self-respecting whiskey distillery would advertise a 43% spirit as cask strength, so this led us to create a new whiskey, designed to be the cask strength expression of the Upshot. The ABV and length of aging are all that separate the Upshot Cask Strength from the regular Upshot. Whilst Upshot is bottled at 2 years, our cask strength spends an extra year in the barrel, reaching maturity at 3 years. To learn more about how these spirits are made, check out our article on Upshot here.
Drinking Upshot Cask Strength
For the uninitiated, the Upshot Cask Strength is intensely decadent from start to finish. If you’re familiar with Upshot, but have yet to try this, expect to experience everything you love about Upshot cranked up to 11. On the nose, vivid notes of toffee and vanilla combine to produce an aroma that will leave you salivating. As is to be expected with a cask strength spirit, the first sip is likely to burn a little as it goes down your throat, whilst also numbing your taste buds. Rest assured, this is perfectly normal, and sensation will return post-haste. Once your senses have acclimatised, you’ll notice a delightfully viscous, oily coating around the inside of your mouth. The front of the palate offers an intense burst of caramel and butterscotch that develops into a long, deep, vanilla finish. As you drink, a warmth washes over you in an awesome wave, providing a welcoming, toasty sensation that endures long after you’ve finished the glass. Whilst many spirits will feel like they’ve immediately evaporated as you drink, the cask strength lingers, providing a sustained experience, perfect for savouring.
The best way to drink whiskey is a contentious and heavily debated topic, varying significantly depending on who you ask. For many, it is sacrilegious to drink whiskey in any other way than neat. Others will insist that a whiskey can only be truly appreciated by adding a few drops of water, or serving on the rocks.
The best way to discover what is ideal for you is to experiment! This also has the added benefit of being a reasonable excuse to have a drink (although really, who needs the excuse?), because science. To start, pour your whiskey into a glass, and try it without any water or ice. From here, slowly add water, 1-2 drops at a time.
If you’re in the mood for a highball, Upshot Cask Strength will provide you with a full flavoured, boozy libation, that even the clumsiest mixologist can pull off.
The Upshot Cask Strength Highball
What You’ll Need:
- 30ml Upshot Cask Strength
- 20ml fresh lime juice
- Soda (we use CAPI)
- Lime wedge to garnish
- Highball glass (or any tall glass you have available)
- Bar spoon
Grab your highball glass and fill with ice. Using your jigger, measure and add the Upshot Cask Strength and lime juice. Top with soda and use your bar spoon to gently stir. Garnish with a wedge of lime (or your preferred garnish), and you’re ready to drink.
The Upshot Cask Strength is a beloved favourite of punters and judges alike, with a bevy of awards under its belt. It’s our most highly awarded whiskey so far, and a source of great pride for our humble distillery. Here are a few of our most prestigious accolades:
- Back-to-back Champion & Gold Whiskey medals at the 2020 & 2021 Perth Royal Distilled Spirits Awards
- An impressive 94.5 rating in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020
- Back-to-back Gold medals at the 2019 & 2020 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards
- Winner of the “Best Australian Corn” category at the UK World Whisky Awards
Where to Find
Upshot Cask Strength is available at a cellar door, and through our online store. Additionally, you can find it in select bottle shops in Western Australia, including Copper and Oak, DeVine Cellars, Mane liquor and Dan Murphy’s online store. Not at your local? Tell them to get in touch with us, and we’ll gladly send it their way.
Want to Learn More?
If you’d like to learn more, try Upshot Cask Strength, or restock, why not visit us at our cellar door? Our friendly staff love to talk about whiskey, and can take you through a guided tasting, or whip up a delicious cocktail. Additionally, we run distillery tours 7 days a week. Our master class runs every Saturday & Sunday at 1pm, and the cocktail master class runs every Saturday night at 5pm.