what i've noticed is, whether it's 100 pipers or inver house or ballantines or JW red, they almost all seem to be listed at 86 proof, which is 43 percent ABV in today's parlance. yet most blends today are 40 percent ABV.
did the distillers and blenders at some point simply water down their product to get more for their money? or was it a regulatory thing? or am i crazy?
here are a couple of vintage ads, all of which show 86 proof (43% ABV) whiskies:
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