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Whisky and Water


Henry dV
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Well Ladies and Gentlemen, what do you prefer in yours ??

Peaty, western isle malts I like 60/40 whisky to water.

Highland/lowland malts I like cold water or water and a cube.

Blends 50/50 with water unless it`s cold then neat as hell.

Just wondering what floats your boat.

"It's true I crept the boards in my youth, but I never had it in my blood, and that's what so essential isn't it? The theatrical zeal in the veins. Alas, I have little more than vintage wine and memories." - Montague Withnail.

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Mostly Islay or thereabouts, sipping about 80:20, unless it's a cool, patio pre-dinner 60:40.

Cask strength indoors usually about 60:40.

Always well-cold water.

Blends? Toddies and cocktails. We can't get Black Bottle over here.

Slainte!

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Most whisky I take neat.

I will occasionally dilute cask-strength with spring water, usually only about 80:20. I actually find that three drops of water (seriously, no more) opens the nose of Laphroaig CS without diluting, and makes it more approachable. It's good with more water, but not as good.

Some notable exceptions: I enjoy many of the better blends with water or club soda at about 60:40 or 50:50, especially JW Black (Green is neat only) and Famous Grouse 12. I like Aberlour A'bunadh and Macallan Cask strength at about 70:30. I find that the sherry finish in both of these is overwhelming (and the whisky a little hot, but not unpleasantly so) at cask strength.

I really like Cask Strength bottlings, as they allow me to choose my proof within a wide range.

Tim

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I've got to go with Jackal on this...

Neat.

If it's too rough, then a couple of drops of water. No more.

If I can't drink it that way, then it ain't worth drinkin'.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Typically I drink my whiskey neat, but if it's a new one for me then I will have one glass with a little well-water (probably not more than a teaspoon for two fingers' worth of spirits) to see how it opens up for experimentation's sake.

So far I haven't run into any that I prefer with water save for Woodford Reserve bourbon, it just burns a bit much for me neat, but becomes quite tasty with a small icecube to chill and dilute a bit.

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If you are tasting whisky, the best way is at around 30% abv.

If you are drinking whisky, drink it however the flip you like it.

I drink cask strength neat or with a touch of water (3 to 4 drops), but I have even drank 136 proof Highland Park neat.

I drink anything less than full cask strength neat.

I sometimes drink cheap single malt on the rocks if I am grilling and smoking stogies on the porch (it's hot in the South).

Drink how you like it, but if you are spending the money on single malt, you might as well drink it properly IMO.

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I agree drink it how you like it, though I did think it odd when a customer ordered a shot of The Glenrothes 1979 Single Cask on the rocks. As in, lots of ice. But hey he was the one paying $125 so I poured it right up the way he wanted it.

As for me, the rare occasions I drink malts, usually neat or with maybe one ice cube at most.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neat.

It can be fun to add a drop or two and note how the flavour profile changes, but generally I prefer it without.

My favourites are the Islays, and we recently discovered the single-cask heaven that is SMWS; we might never buy a commercial bottling again.

The tragic thing about SMWS membership is knowing that you'll never taste this bottle again, but at the same time it's exciting to wonder about the next one :)

There Will Be Bloody Marys
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  • 3 years later...

The addition of a little water is known as 'The Stag's Breath' in Scotland & some other parts of the UK. The idea is that it releases the flavor & the aroma and lessens the heat. Personally speaking my tipple is The Macallan (21 or 25) with an itsy bitsy drop or two (15 to 20% max) of cooled spring water, just below room temperature (not refrigerator cold). Ice in my book is a no-no with quality malts as inevitably you have to wait for the full release of flavors and possibly scorching the whiskey with ice.

I'm pretty sure that the way you drink your whisky is personal, so please continue to drink it your own way, however it may well be worth trying some of the above recommended methods. ;)

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The addition of a little water is known as 'The Stag's Breath' in Scotland & some other parts of the UK. The idea is that it releases the flavor & the aroma and lessens the heat. Personally speaking my tipple is The Macallan (21 or 25) with an itsy bitsy drop or two (15 to 20% max) of cooled spring water, just below room temperature (not refrigerator cold). Ice in my book is a no-no with quality malts as inevitably you have to wait for the full release of flavors and possibly scorching the whiskey with ice.

I'm pretty sure that the way you drink your whisky is personal, so please continue to drink it your own way, however it may well be worth trying some of the above recommended methods. ;)

Scorching the whiskey? Could you explain this bit of esoterica please.

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Here is where I am curious. I have been led to believe for quite a while that a few drops of water will "unlock" a whisky, as if there were something happening on the chemical level that made aromas more apparent. Of course, diluting a high ABV spirit is going to lessen the numbing effect of the alcohol, allowing you to perceive more flavor, but what happens when you add "just a few drops"?

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I go to Scotch Malt Whisky Society tastings where we sample cask strength, unfiltered, brews of around 55% alcohol or above.

The water we use is spring water at room temperature, which is the same as the whisky temperature. So temperature changes are not involved.

We try the whisky without water first. Then we may add a miniscule amount, which always results in a cloudiness forming in the glass.

Some whiskies benefit from the addition of water, some don't: but in both cases it changes the taste of the whisky.

If you want to read some musings on the chemical underpinnings of this process, check out this post on the Khymos.org blog.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I like Coke in mine. There has been enough eG discussion about 'perfected', consistent quality mass-market products, and Coke is one of the totems. I'd have posted more quickly, but it took till tonight to confirm the ratio well enough to write it down: I've been pouring it at about 2:1 Coke:whisky.

If you're a regular eG whisky follower, you'll be bored of my recommendations of Teacher's (smooth) and The Famous Grouse (more characterful, Scotland's biggest-selling whisky domestically, and by cheerful happenstance for me, the local whisky where I come from).

I also said in another thread that of the Malt Whisky Society's bottlings at a recent formal-wear do, I liked Glen Scotia, Craigellachie and Caol Isla in my Coke over ice, in that order, splitting it about 3:1 or 4:1.

My notes don't show details of the specific bottlings, but with branding and the way the market is, I suspect whiskies under the same labels will give the better part of the same result. I'd have more detail in memory, but when we got to the nijikai (after-party) in a Roppongi bar it was me that was dealing with the exploding ex-82nd-airborne security-guard - me with a broken hand that precluded the quick solution - so most of the things I have written down afterwards are the names of police officers and witnesses and the like.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Three parts soda, one part scotch, plenty of ice.

If Blether is allowed to drink his with Coke I can do whatever I please. colbert.gif

Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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post-mix

Heh. Thanks for the lesson. You know, I'm surprised at how painstaking folk can be over their whisky and yet specify water as 'water'.

It's a cross-over thought with the 'free samples' topic, but just this week I was in Tokyu Hands the very day after the teevee announced that Tokyo tap water wasn't recommended for drinking. Their was a rep on the floor trying to sell (office-style) water cooler/dispensers and offering free samples. I tried some and it was so utterly devoid of taste I didn't like it. "It's really gentle, isn't it ?" she says. Me: "Yes..."

Whenever I'm back in the "old country" (two different clicks there, just for fun) one of the things I relish is the delicious tap water piped from the local rural reservoir. (There was something of a hubristic micro-parochial uproar when we heard the supply was being switched to the next reservoir over, and that replacement source was the Glen Turret dam. Go figure).

Tokyo tap water, by comparison ? Yuch. How did it take the newscasters so long to figure it out ?! And Tokyo's is better than East London's in the 80's - that stuff came out of the tap full of fibrous white grimsbies that looked like nothing more than the remnants of blitzed toilet paper.

I only accept the real thing :cool:

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I go to Scotch Malt Whisky Society tastings where we sample cask strength, unfiltered, brews of around 55% alcohol or above.

The water we use is spring water at room temperature, which is the same as the whisky temperature. So temperature changes are not involved.

We try the whisky without water first. Then we may add a miniscule amount, which always results in a cloudiness forming in the glass.

Some whiskies benefit from the addition of water, some don't: but in both cases it changes the taste of the whisky.

If you want to read some musings on the chemical underpinnings of this process, check out this post on the Khymos.org blog.

So as hubby and my dad were enjoying their preprandial Laphroig tonight (to which they always add a splash of water) I was telling them about invisible clouding and micelles. Apparently their interest in why their scotch tastes better with a splash of water doesn't interest them at a chemical level!

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